Monday, December 27, 2010

Apple's iPod Touch Turning Sour

Here I thought I was getting a sweet, crunchy red delicious apple. My ipod touch is pretty. It's sleek. It gets me online. Has neat features and gadgets. Oh yeah, sweet.

Unfortunately, that sweet taste has turned bitter. Like someone replaced my original apple with a mushy, sour, wormy, barely-good-for-baking apple. I'm ticked off and frustrated. I'm close to tears. It's even causing tension between my husband and I. I'm now asking myself if it's even worth it. Is having all these neat little tricks at my finger tips worth the contention? I know I didn't have this problem with my cute little Sansa. Their interface is nice. It's easy. It takes almost no time to figure out. I never spent DAYS at the computer trying to get the thing to work.

If I was Apple, and wanted to pull customers away from the competitor, I would make it as easy as possible for them to switch. This experience has left me with the feeling that Apple is arrogant. As if they're saying the days of frustration are worth it because they're so much better. "Of course you'll jump through hoops to use our software," says the little invisible devil- horned-make believe apple on my shoulder, as it laughs.


Some of my frustrations:


So far, I can receive email, but I can't send it. So, if you don't hear back from me for awhile, I've probably read your email, but I'm just not near my computer to reply.

It took me HOURS to figure out how to transfer ebooks, and not all of them have transferred because they're not in the right format. And the ones that did transfer, didn't all transfer correctly. Author names have disappeared, or been replaced with names I've never heard of. Way to go, that'll make it easier for me organize them. I'm so happy I jumped through those hoops and snapped at my children over Christmas now.

Did you know, you can borrow audio books from some libraries? Yep. You can and I do. Unfortunately, these go into my ipod under music, not audio books, even though there's a lovely little shelf for them. But they're in there, right? What's the big deal, you ask? The big deal is that you don't get the benefits of an audio book - like the handy little automatic bookmarks - if it's viewed as a music file. This means, if you leave the book/music to look at something else, you're on your own if you want to pick up where you left off.

Music has transferred - but I have no idea if it all did. I don't even know how to check. However, I know that my playlists haven't. I've spent all day trying to figure out how to get them to transfer, and it still hasn't worked. It boggles my mind that Apple would think that I'd never used other music software, never made playlists, or that I'd never want to listen to those playlists again just because I got an ipod. Yes. I'm so overwhelmed by its greatness that I've forgotten every other music experience I've ever had. Not. There was a reason I made those playlists, and I don't relish the thought of re-doing all of them, and you know what? I shouldn't have to. If you want my business, you should make it easy for me to switch.

I understand trying to retain my patronage once you've sunk your sticky claws into me, but at least romance me a little before you ... Well, that's a thought best left unwritten, but you get the idea.

So, Apple. Thank you for helping my husband excite me this year, then utterly frustrating me. I really appreciate it, because the holidays weren't stressful enough by themselves. You've helped make this one memorable. Now, I just need to decide how much more of my Christmas break I want to invest in getting this gadget to work as well as my $30 Sansa did, or if I can live with the disappointment of its under performance and limitations. At this point, I can't see myself switching to a mac book anytime in the future - not unless someone repeatedly clubs me over the head, erasing my memory of this experience.

**If anyone has solutions to any of these problems, feel free to share. However, the solution of taking it back, has already crossed my mind, so that one isn't necessary.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's My Birthday, You Should...

totally vote for me today :) Still need votes for I VAMPIRE KISSED A GIRL AND I LIKED IT. Here's the link to the story, the voting polls- but you have to scroll down to see those. http://forum.devinwrites.com/post?id=4772819
Story also nominated for favorite title, so I need votes for both categories :)
Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's the Winners' Round Babee!

Yep, it's that time!
If you remember, during the summer, I entered a flash fiction piece titled I VAMPIRE KISSED A GIRL AND I LIKED IT that won with the most votes in round one. Which automatically entered it in the winners' round this month.

The same story was also nominated for best title - yay!

So, what does this mean? It means I need your votes! This contest is based soley on how many people vote for each story. The one with the most votes at the end, wins. Simple...except, I don't know as many people as one of the other authors, I know, because I came in a close second with another story in round three.

I need your help. Not only do I need your votes - for story and title, I need everyone to spread the word, and encourage other people to vote for me too. It's simple and easy. Voting takes less time than it did for you to read this blog.
Here's the link: http://forum.devinwrites.com/post?id=4772819
this takes you to the page with my story. Scroll down and you'll find the two voting polls. Just click on my title, and you're done!
Easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy.

Alright guys, let's get to work - Thanks!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Taking a second to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
Hope it's a safe and joyous one!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Dreamweavers: Something Just Doesn't Feel Right

The Dreamweavers: Something Just Doesn't Feel Right: "Have you ever felt that way? I have, and it's not in the 'holy cow, something catastrophic is coming' way, at least not today. Last week, I..."

Another New Follower!

Hi! *still waving* mjaware!
Thanks for following, I returned the favor :)
Hope you and everyone else has a fantastic day!
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Follower

Hi Amie *alta waves* Welcome aboard!
Thanks for stopping by :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

To Avoid Confusion...

I was invited a few weeks back to blog with one of my critique groups, so many of my writing posts are on the Dreamweavers site, but I'm linking them to this blog as well.

So, don't get confused. I'm not blogging the lazy way, but just linking other peoples' posts here, if you see a Dreamweavers post, it's still mine :)

Have a fantastic day, and thanks for stopping by!

The Dreamweavers: Why Romance?

The Dreamweavers: Why Romance?: "Last night, my husband and I watched a movie. It felt kind of like a romance - the main characters met under dubious circumstances, fell in ..."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Dreamweavers: Music and Writing

The Dreamweavers: Music and Writing: "I love music, it inspires me. I especially love stumbling upon a song that touches me, resonating deep inside. A song that stays with me, an..."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Twist on an Old Favorite

This year, I've twisted Paul's arm and gotten him to dress up as the big bad wolf. I'll be Red :D
But there's no skirt for this girl, no sir. I'm wearing pants, and boots. This Red is a little tougher, but still...she gets caught by her wolf.

I think...yes. I think the big bad wolf will catch me, and I'll become his. I want to find rope to tie around my waist, so he can hold the other end, so he doesn't have to run after me again :)

So that's us this year.

Kids? Oh, yes. I have some, and they're dressing up too. They amaze me and crack me up. Here's the run down.

Christopher: Vampire....with sparkles. Hmm...wonder who he's trying to win brownie points from?

Emma: Katniss from Hunger Games. Looking for brown wig. Do you know they don't have any at WalMart?

Alta - Seizure Girl - it's a superhero we made up when she was diagnosed with epilepsy in May. Now she has a costume, and I must say...it's pretty stinkin' cute. I had to sew...only poke myself with a pin once. I'm pretty stoked. Zeus is part of her costume - lucky dog!

Carter: he was just happy (by happy, I mean thrilled) to be Bumble Bee from Transformers. Nice and easy - no sewing involved.

Sirius still has a cape from last year, but I wonder what else he could be, to compliment Paul and I...hmmm...I'll have to give it some thought.

Anyway, that's how we're rockin' Halloween this year!
How about you?

Halloween Time!

It's one of my favorite times of the year. You can dress up however you want, and no one cares! "It must be their costume," they say. Or, "It's a little early, but still, it is October." Of course there's always one or two people you run across that have no idea what the big deal about Halloween is, and they look at you funny.
We just ignore them. Maybe they grew up too fast and forgot how to be a kid, so we keep moving on.

One of my favorite costumes and Halloween memories would be my vampire pixie costume :)
My first attempt at writing a novel brings a fae woman and a vampire together. If they had a daughter, she might have looked like I did then. I drove to the haunted house my brother-in-law put together to help. On the way there, I stopped for a red light (you're supposed to, you know) and two little girls in the car next to me looked over. Their eyes lit up and they waved.

I waved back, and smiled. They were momentarily shocked at the fangs, but then broke into laughter. Their dad didn't get it.

Speaking of fangs...I had a dentist appt in October. Wore the fangs. One of the ladies there helped me put them on before the doc came back. He was a little surprised to say the least. Now they're curious every Halloween, what I'll show up in next.

This year, you'll have to wait and see, but not too long. It's in the next post.
Happy haunting everyone!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I love my kids

I may have warped them long term, but they sure are fun.
As you know, I've been writing. I play with vampires and shifters, fey and Otherworld. We have fun.
Today, Alta saw my desktop wall paper - wolves. Here's our conversation:

Her: Mom, who took those pictures?
Me: I did (she knows I didn't)
Her: While you were out vampire hunting?
Me:....yep.

Aren't my kids great?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Dreamweavers: Staying Positive

The Dreamweavers: Staying Positive: "I know that this road I'm on, as a new writer, will have many twists and turns. Guaranteed downs, but hopefully, at some miraculous turning ..."

The Dreamweavers: Shakira ft. Freshlyground - Waka Waka (This Time f...

The Dreamweavers: Shakira ft. Freshlyground - Waka Waka (This Time f...

Guess Where I'm Posting From?

The car! Using my hotspot and my mini, I'm typing away and sending this morning! And yeah, it's early. There's a reason for that, I assure you!
Hope you all have a wonderful day!
Happy Monday!

Alta

Thursday, September 30, 2010

LAST DAY TO VOTE!

Round three is quickly coming to an end. It's finished. Done. Over. Tonight at midnight.
I'm barely in the lead and the other author wants first as much as I do. I'm trying to gather all the votes I possibly can today, all day.

If you haven't voted yet, here's the info:
http://www.vampirekissed.com/voteforstories.html this will take you directly to the voting page. My entry is Vampire Kissed Dream. Select my entry, click on vote. All finished!
If you'd like to read the story it's in the forum section under round three.

Thank you to everyone who helped thus far, this is one contest I definitely couldn't win without you!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm so excited!

Not for me, but for my best friend!
She pitched the book series she's been working on this morning, to an editor at Kensington.
She just heard back - request for FULL MANUSCRIPT!
She's been working so hard, I'm so proud of her!
WTG K!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Dreamweavers: This Writing Stuff is Hard

The Dreamweavers: This Writing Stuff is Hard: "As a new writer, I've got lots to learn. Like today. I'm entering edits for chapter 16 in my first novel. Something feels off, but I don't h..."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wild Ride at the Vampire Kissed Flash Fiction Contest!

Another author and I keep flipping back and forth between first and second. I'm currently in second. Down by two points.

Anyone out there, who reads my blog, but hasn't voted, or encouraged their friends and family to vote - I could really use your help.

You can find my flash fiction piece, Vampire Kissed Dream at http://www.vampirekissed.com/.
You can vote on the main page. The story is in the forum, just look for round three stories, and my title.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eek! Need Your Votes

I hit first yesterday in the http://www.vampirekissed.com/ contest with my flash fiction: Vampire Kissed Dream. Over night, I dropped to second. I kind of liked sitting up there in first. So, I need to get out and get more votes. I know how quickly things can change!
So, if you've already voted for me - thank you!
Questions to ask youself: did you vote with every device available to you?
                                       do you have friends that would vote?
If you haven't voted, I assume you have your reasons, but I still like you.
Have a good one guys! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Entered Round Three of Vampire Kissed Contest


Here's my submission for round three. If you like it, please vote for me! Voting is on the main page, stories are in the forum. You DO NOT have to register to vote. http://www.vampirekissed.com/ is where you go to vote!
Enjoy!


Vampire Kissed Dream


Shira drove the back roads, windows down, air-conditioning on low pushing the remaining hot air from the vents of her pick-up truck. Old trucks took so long to cool down. Warm air pulsed through the windows, teasing loose tresses of hair across her neck. The combination of warmth, dancing hair, and slightest chill of cool air on her arms made her shiver. Goose bumps skated across her arms, she'd never felt like this before. Needy. Lonely.

Driving was an old human habit, but it calmed her.

Maybe it was the music, the sultry, scintillating sound that wrapped her in rhythm and haunting tones. The heavy beat mimicked a pounding heart. Blood. Life.

She could imagine a lover's breath as he lowered his head to whisper in her ear.

Shira's hair flitted across her neck again. She imagined a lover's fingers, his light caresses reminding her she was his, of promises and pleasures to come. She fought the urge to close her eyes, tip her head back in invitation. In submission. She couldn't stifle the purr of contentment that rumbled from her throat.

If only.

Vampires only responded to their mates this way. 200 years was a long time to live without touch. Without love. Was it so bad to imagine it?

Maybe she'd take the long way home tonight and play the song again…and again.

***

Something was wrong. Darius was invisible, unsubstantial, and against his will, drawn to the woman driving the pick-up truck he suddenly found himself in. He saw through himself, and still, his main focus was the woman. A small voice in the back of his mind balked. A bigger voice told it to shut up. He needed to concentrate on…her.

Darius reached down to undo his seatbelt and realized the futility of his actions. Panic should set in, cussing ensue, but the woman enthralled him. Drove out every need, every emotion, except desire – for her. Only her.

He slid across the seat, easy to do in…what was his current form? Spirit? Mist? Did it matter when she was so far away?

No.

Could he touch her? Would her skin be as soft as it looked? Would she taste like her scent? Like vanilla and fresh green apples? A bead of sweat trickled down her neck. He followed it with his finger.
He jerked his hand back. He felt her. Warm, soft, and…perfect.

"Who are you, honey? I feel like I should know you." In his heart, he recognized her, she was…his. What was going on?

He remembered his bed in the research facility in Antarctica. A warm bed, all things considered. The generator…The generator. There must be a carbon monoxide leak. His mind was living out one final fantasy before he died.

Scared, Darius looked around for a light, a tunnel. Nothing. He breathed easy again…breathing was good…right? He didn't take any more time to think about it. If he was dying, he'd enjoy this time left with the dream his mind had conjured all on its own.

Darius slid behind her. He placed his hands on her shoulders and lowered his head. "Do I know you?" He obviously didn't, he would remember if he'd ever met her.

Energy flowed between them, he felt the compassion well up from her soul, the honesty and integrity in the way she lived. He wrapped his arms around her waist. Darius felt the strangling hold of need, to be loved, cherished, protected, and the opposing need to build a wall around herself, to keep her heart safe. "Such sadness."

He stroked her arms in a gesture of comfort – she jumped! A small, inconsequential, unconscious reaction to his touch. Goose bumps rippled across her arms.

Darius moved his lips to her neck. Gently, tentatively, he kissed her. She shivered, then purred in contentment. He stared in amazement. Wow.

If only.

"If only you weren't a figment of my oxygen deprived mind. If only you were real." Darius enjoyed being close, holding her, sheltering her, protecting her.

A wrenching pain shot through his body. Panic engulfed him. Tugging. An unseen force pulled him. Fading. He was fading, running out of time.

"You're precious, wonderful, beautiful. My last regret is that you're not real." He ran his hand down her neck. Gasped on the wrenching pain. "If things were different I'd move heaven and Earth to find you." He rubbed her hair between his fingers. "I'll never forget you, as long as my spirit can remember. I could love you forever." Another hard jerk to his ethereal form. He caught his breath. "I will love you forever," he said, in grunted, stilted words.

Darius needed to leave something for her, something he treasured, even if she never knew. He removed the simple braided gold chain from his neck and placed it around hers. The chain had belonged to his grandmother, a gift her husband had given her when he left for war. He never came back. Tonight, Darius passed it on.

He tried to stay, clawed at the truck but disappeared just as easily and quickly as he'd appeared. No light, no tunnel. He felt cheated.

Light. Voices. A heavenly choir to welcome him? Friends and Family?

Yelling. Shaking. The sounds sliced through the haze in his mind. Not singing, if it was, he hadn't landed in heaven.

"Dude, Darius, wake up man, day light's burning. Come on, you're sleeping like a dead man...you okay?"
Darius blinked, trying to focus. Winston, his roommate, stared down at him, concern wrinkling his forehead. "Rise and shine, sleeping beauty."

Not dead. Cold, hungry, in need of a shower. Arms noticeably empty. Pulse racing, heart clamoring… for her. Intense desire.

But not dead.

He was awake. No carbon monoxide poisoning, just a very real, very strange dream sandblasted into the recesses of his mind. Out of habit, he reached for his gold chain.

It was gone.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Writing News

Met with agent Deidre Knight, of the Knight agency this weekend. Pitched my book Claimed to her. She requested the first three chapters and a synopsis...eek! I'll be doubly busy this week. Wow. This is more than I ever thought I'd be doing. Thanks to family and friends who have supported me. I hope I can do well and make you proud.

Deidre Knight and I

did the fan girl thing and got a picture with Deidre Knight last night. She's so much fun!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Working On New Flash Fiction

Working on another piece for the Vampire Kissed flash fiction contest. It's not ready yet, but it's getting close - maybe Monday or Tuesday it will be ready. I'll post it here as well as in the contest forum. Keep your eyes open for it, it's called Vampire Kissed Dreams. I'll need your votes again!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vampire Kissed Flash Fiction Contest - It's Official!

I won! I'm listed on the main page as first round winner, so it's official :) Just a quick shout out to say thank you to everyone who voted for me. Everyone who encouraged me and cheered me on. I couldn't have done it without all of you! To celebrate, I'll be at Perkins in Liberty, Aug 10th at 7pm if you want to join me! You're paying for your own food though ;) Thanks again guys!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Metallica - Nothing Else Matters [Original Video]

This is one of Taffy and Rafe's songs - thanks Kimmy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vampire Kissed Contest - Last Days to Vote

One last push. You can vote today and tomorrow (7/31). Then, hopefully, you won't hear about voting for me until December. Right now I'm at 30% of the votes, which is first place. Considering it only took me two days to pull into the lead, I know it can be done, so I'm not celebrating yet. If you've thought about voting for me, but haven't gotten around to it yet, please consider doing so today :) If you've already voted for me, can you please help me get the word out? Maybe your friends could vote as well. If I win this round, then my story goes into the winners' round in December, so we'll get to do this all over again :) Here's the info: Voting site: www.vampirekissed.com Scroll down until you see the voting box. My entry is entitled - I Vampire Kissed a Girl, and I Liked It To read the story, click on the forum link. You do NOT have to register to read the stories. Rules: It's simple. 1,000 words or less Story must be about vampires Must use the words vampire kissed in the title I think that's it. If I win this round, we'll be celebrating at Perkins, probably the 10th of August -you have to buy your own food ;)

Three Days Grace - Pain

This is my playlist so far for Claimed. It will probably grow, but for now, this will do. Now, I just need to download some of the songs I don't have :)

This song is for my antagonists.

Enjoy!

Get Out Alive-Three Days Grace

For my main bad guy, when he makes a play for Taffy. Taffy's bad dreams.

Next Contestant - Nickleback

Because my kids aren't allowed to listen to this song, I'm not posting the video :) It's the chorus I think of when writing the scene that goes with this one though :) For the Homecoming dance.

Carrie Underwood - Before He Cheats

Trice, Beatrice - Taffy's friend - gets angry

Adam Lambert - Whataya Want From Me

Taffy's confused

Shinedown - Devour (Official Music Video)

Taffy's claiming. Rafe's a vampire. I thought the title was fitting.

Big & Rich - Save A Horse [Ride A Cowboy] (Video)

The end, for a fun scene I have in my head.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some Updates

I have to say, I'm really looking forward to this month. It's July, the 7th month, an odd number. Why is that important? Because something hugely stressful (in a bad way) has hit me in every even month this year. It's time for a break :D So. Got my hair cut. Donated 10 inches to locks of love. Lost a lot more than that! But it was change, and on my terms. Change has rarely entered my life with my blessing this year. Instead, it's snuck up to my front door, then gone all "shock and awe" on it. Stuff we didn't even see coming. Not all change is bad, and I have to remind myself of that sometimes. Last check, my flash fiction entry, I Vampire Kissed a Girl, and I Liked It, is at the top with 30% of the votes. I was so happy to crack that 30% mark. There's still 16 days for more entries to pop up and change the numbers. Still 16 days for the rest of the authors to get their friends and family to the site to vote. I'm not taking anything for granted. If you've voted, thank you. If not, would you consider it? You can vote at www.vampirekissed.com. You get one vote per device. If you voted in the very beginning, there's a chance you may be able to vote again. They updated the voting/polls. Kept the percentages, not the details of who voted. Hitting the road this month. Get to see family and new places. Should be fun. So glad it's not an even month, we'd really be tempting fate! Today, I received one of the highest compliments I could have as a beginning writer. I now have a fan page. I didn't beg or bribe for it. I didn't make it. I met a great group of girls in the row behind me at the midnight showing of Eclipse. They've been a lot of fun, and very supportive. I think the fan page is Alta Durrant Fans!! on Facebook. Stop on by and see us, we'd love to say hi. So, that's my July, and it's only the 8th. Hope you all have had a great July so far too!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Contest News - Go Ahead, Vote Again!

So, great news :) www.vampirekissed.com changed the poll they were using for a more user friendly version. What does this mean? If you've already voted, you can vote again! So, wanna do some double dippin'? If you're reading this and thinking, contest? what? Well I got brave, entered a flash fiction contest. My entry is called I Vampire Kissed a Girl, and I Liked It. It's only 1000 words. You vote on the home page, the stories are in the forum. You don't have to register unless you want to leave a comment in the forum. And, you can only vote once time per computer. So, don't forget your phones, and other gadgets that can get online. Each of those can be used once. The Rules: No more than 1000 words Must be about vampires Must have the words vampire kissed in the title. There you have it folks, thanks for voting and for stopping by!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Contest Entry Update

First off, thank you to everyone who's voted for me! You all are amazing! Secondly, I'm currently in FIRST! (thank you again) at 26% It's not a very big lead, and there's still a whole month before this round of the contest closes, so we need to keep the momentum going. If you've already voted for me, and your computer won't let you do so again, they have a one vote per computer rule, you can still help by passing the information on to your friends and family, and encouraging them to pass it on. So, yeah, this is exciting, and it's got me re-energized to get back to work on book one, which can be a daunting, overwhelming task sometimes. Even if I don't end up winning in the end, this has been a great experience, and helpful for me as a writer. So, no regrets. Alright, time to get back to Claimed, book one in my first series. Oh, if missed it, yesterday I posted my flash fiction entry, I Vampire Kissed a Girl, and I Liked It, at www.vampirekissed.com. You don't have to register to vote, only to leave a comment. If you like it and haven't voted yet, I'd love to have your vote. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Vampire Kissed a Girl, and I Liked It – Contest Entry

I got brave today. I entered a writing contest.

It's a flash fiction contest, the stories must be under 1000 words, have a vampire theme, and the words Vampire Kissed in the title. Here's my entry. If you like it, please go here and vote for me. There's a voting poll on the main contest page. My piece is in the forum, as are others. To read theirs, or leave comments (I would prefer you leave comments about the piece on the forum instead of the blog, but both work too) you need to register, but it's quick and painless, they're just trying to keep spammers away.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

I Vampire Kissed a Girl, and I Liked It

 

 

"Anna, Jack, I need to see you after class." Mr. Johns, our math teacher said. Although I'm good with numbers, I found it hard to keep up with him sometimes. Maybe I'd fallen behind. Lately, all I could think about was Anna, and that intoxicating blend of cinnamon and coconut that trailed after her. It called to me, filled me. That's how I knew she was my mate.

Vampires only have one mate, ever, and she's mine. Being around her was torture.

Being away was worse.

Anna didn't go for guys like me. Every time I saw her with one of those brain- dead football players I wanted to kill the guy. I felt strong, felt big and powerful, but in reality? I looked like a chess club geek.

My mother thinks it protected everyone around me until I had better impulse control. She was probably right.

I'm a born vampire, not a made one. As far as we know, I'm the only one. This was new territory, however now we knew I had a mate. Everyone wondered if I would. Now I just have to convince her.

The bell rang.

"Jack, Anna, don't forget, I need to see you." Time to get this over with.

Mr. Johns straightened the papers on his desk and waited for the last student to leave. "Anna, you're failing my class."

Anna looked down at her feet. It was game day, and all the cheerleaders dressed in their uniforms - tight sweaters, short skirts, ankle socks and white shoes. They all matched, but Anna still stood out.

"Extracurriculars are out if you can't bring up your grade," he continued.

"But it's –"

Mr. Johns cut her off. "I'm sorry. Those are the rules."

What would he hold over my head? I had no extracurriculars. "Jack, I wondered if you'd help Anna. You're the best student I have." Huh, not failing? That's good. A chance to share the same space with Anna? Even better.

We met three times a week. By the second week we joked like friends. The third week her wall had been knocked down, as if by a wrecking ball. The pieces were dust, impossible to put back together.

I did the unthinkable. I asked her out.

She looked away as she whispered words that staked me through the heart. "I don't know if that's a good idea, Jack."

Guess I was wrong about the wall. "But I thought -"

"I do." She reached out quickly and touched my arm. "I really do. It's just you're…"

"Not a jock?" I finished for her.

"Yeah." She sighed and pulled her hand away, leaving a cold emptiness behind.

A smile touched her glossy lips, and not for the first time, I wondered what the gloss would taste like. It smelled like strawberries.

"I have an idea." She chewed her lip in a nervous gesture, then lifted her eyes to mine.

"You know the cheer squad has kissing booths in the town carnival tomorrow, right?"

Not really something I wanted to think about. Other guys with their lips on hers, tasting her strawberry lip gloss. She was mine. I swallowed my pride, and the ultimatums that begged for freedom.

"Yeah, I heard something about that."

"Well, there's a few booths, and the occupants are kept secret until after the tickets are bought… I'm in booth three."

"What?" I'm normally more articulate, I promise.

"I haven't told anyone else. I want you to be first in line." Her eyes sparkled with hope.

I couldn't sleep that night. I fantasized about our first kiss. My first kiss. An epiphany blasted through me while sleep taunted me.

I knew what to do.

   

"Time to open the booths, guys! Let the kissing commence!" The mayor pulled the string that opened all the booths. Lines formed for all but booth three. The only one standing there? Yours truly.

Anna looked around, confused. I held up a huge handful of tickets. Her smile was worth every penny.

"You bought them all?" Her eyes glistened with tears.

I nodded.

"I've never felt so special before. Thank you, Jack."

"You gonna stand there talking all night, or collect your kisses, boy?" The mayor stood off to the side with a wide grin and eyes lit with laughter.

I walked closer, then changed my mind.

I went around back instead, and let myself in. I used my vampire skills and mentally closed the curtains. For good measure, I jammed the door shut too.

"Jack?"

Close to the edge of control, I stalked closer to Anna, backing her against the wall and took my kiss. The gloss tasted as good as it smelled, so did Anna. I yanked the reins tighter around my control. My fangs pushed at my gums. I'd always felt pressure before, a dull ache, but never this throbbing need. I had to claim Anna.

"Do you trust me?" Please say yes.

"Yes."

For the first time ever, my fangs punched through my gums, fully descended. My fingers transformed into claws and dug into the wood beside Anna. I leaned close and inhaled her scent once more. It would never be the same. Soon it would carry the subtle scent of her mate. Of me.

I dragged my tongue across her neck like a cat licking cream. She tasted better than I ever dreamed. I bit down. My mouth filled with her blood and I drank.

She gasped.

I moaned.

Necessary change, good change, swept over me, but I didn't care. I had Anna.

I pulled away and licked my mark, then leaned my head against the booth's wall, content. Anna would always be mine, always bear my mark.

"Jack? You look like the men women drool over on paranormal romance covers. What happened to you?"

"You. You happened."

She kissed me again, just as eagerly as the first time. I liked it.

We still had a whole night's worth of tickets to use.

 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sirius is Sick Again

I was up with him all night. From 9:30 -3 am he threw up 10 times. Usually two or more each time he felt sick. From 3am -5 he rested much better, but still had to go out side to potty. Liquid where there should be solid, not nice. Still dealing wit the potty issues this morning, but he hasn't thrown up since 3 am, we're closing in on 12 hours. he's had a cup or so of kibble and water since about 9am, and kept it down, But he can go 3-4 hours before puking it back up, so I'm not ready to party quite yet. Right now he's rough housing with Zeus. Earlier he launched himself off the deck to chase the birds from our yard - he's not acting sick. But he might not be as peppy as usual - although he was up all night throwing up. I wouldn't be ready to wrestle either. I switched him back to tap water yesterday. Even though tap water shouldn't cause this, it's looking more and more like the culprit. When he got sick two weeks ago, I started using filtered water. My plan was to take away anything that could cause an upset, add gentler alternatives. He had tap water Sunday, and threw up - both times he drank it. Added tap water back in yesterday, and he had more than he did Sunday. Was sick all night. Filtered water today, so far so good. Makes me afraid to use it. Could it be my pipes? Could it be all the rain we've had recently? I have no idea, and Dr. Rambo has no answers for me - he says it's weird, but it is my dog we're talking about. So, the next step, the one I fretted over two weeks ago, doc wants x-rays. He's looking for anything that doesn't belong, and checking for mega esophagus. This is what there's no money for. Finding answers. This is what I cried over two weeks ago. This is what I'm praying over now.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kids and Dogs

My life is full of them. Strange noise over the baby monitor - I think possible seizure Emma: Zeus puked on Carter's blanket Carter whines: Not again! They know the baby monitor is on, so they holler out what's going on so we know. It was a good test. They did well. Sunday morning, Sirius urped a little water and food onto Carter's blanket, so he was very dismayed that it happened again, only with a different dog. Zeus is odd. At first, I thought he brought up a hair ball. Nope. It was the material from one of their toys, he'd swallowed it to keep it away from big dog, apparently. I also found an inch long (at least) section of his leather leash. He's like a bull shark - eats everything. I just thought he chewed through the leash yesterday, not swallowed part of it. Silly dog. All these discoveries because of an odd noise on the baby monitor this morning.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mermaids - Dream and Imagine

Wow! It let me load two images! This one is called Passion (obvious, right?)
The second is two images: Queen Poseidon and King Neptune - both from Coronado Island
Prisma color pencils and Stickles.

Mermaid - Believe (2)

The mermaids are named after the zodiac signs, and this would be Pices.
Same MO as before. Prisma color pencils and stickles.

Mermaid - Believe

Blogger's only letting me load these one at a time, but that's better than not at all!
Isn't she beautiful?
Again, prisma color pencils and stickles, the stamp from Coronado Island design and stamps.

Holy Cow! Another Mermaid Got Through!

That's right, blogger wasn't on its toes right this minute, and I was able to post another mermaid card! Again, the image is from Coronado Island designs and stamps.
I colored her with prisma color pencils and garnished her with stickles.
I love the black and red together, I was really pleased with how this turned out.
I'm going to try my luck with a few more.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Well, Darn.

I must have caught blogger at a weak moment, it actually let me post a picture, but only one. So, anyway, I have 10-12 cards total. You get to see one. Thanks for stopping by!

Mermaid - Dream

I love how this one turned out. This mermaid's got a little tiger shark in her background. The stamp is from Coronado Island Designs and Stamps.
I used my prisma color pencils, and stickles.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recent Artwork

I wanted to post some, but I can't get it to work. Wonder what's up? Heading to FB to post them.

Felt Like a Change

Sometimes life seems so out of control, you're just running and barely keeping up. That's been my year. But sometimes, you can give life a big ol' raspberry and take control of something - even little things. I did that this morning. If you've visited my blog before, you know it didn't look like this yesterday. I took control, took a chance, and made some changes. Now, I'll go hide under my bed. Being wild like this could really have some serious ramifications. I just thumbed my nose at the bad luck fairy. Have no idea how she'll retaliate ;) Actually, I'll be fine. I'm sure. Really. Fine. I'll just sit on the bed, so I can dive under if necessary. There, are you happy now? Thank you to all my friends who've helped us out this year. Your encouragement and prayers have been jewels in the mud pit of my life. Many jewels have been found, which I guess makes the mud pit worth being thrown into. Thanks guys!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday's Sirius Update

Sunday was better than Saturday. Saturday he brought something up twice. Sunday, just once in the morning. That might have been user error though. Maybe a clump of peanut butter in the back of the throat gets gagged back up. Could be normal. Here's what I think happened, but I have no training. I just know my dog. I could be wrong. I think something made him sick. He definitely didn't feel well. Last year, when he was so sick, we think the closure at the bottom of his esophagus was damaged. It wasn't keeping stuff in. We got a miracle that weekend when it started working again. I wonder, if this year, when he was sick, it irritated that closure. Once we were able to get him to stop throwing up, it gave that closure time to right itself. He's still bringing stuff back up a little bit, but it's gotten better as the vomiting stopped. His esophagus is bell shaped at the bottom instead of straight. I don't think it's ever fully closed. If he eats and drinks too fast and then runs to play, he "urps". A little bit of water and/or food comes back up, but he keeps going on his way - it doesn't bother him. It's just how he's always been. The three times that's happened Sat/Sun, that's been his reaction. In the days before, that was not the case. Anyway, doc wants to be kept updated. I've got anti-vomit meds for tonight and tomorrow, and we'll see how he does after that. He's got antibiotics for the next week, and an almost two week supply of zantac - in case it's heartburn related. Anyway, as things are looking up for him, I'm looking around the house for things to sell so I can pay off his vet bill. It's not ginormous, but everything's big when extra barely exists. They're being really great with me though. I really appreciate their help.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Update on Sirius

He made it through the night (at one point, I was worried he wouldn't). He ate at 8:20, and it's now 2 hours later. He's kept it down. He even chose his crunchy food. Fed him again at 10 am. We're doing frequent small meals, trying not to stress out his belly. Vet called me at 9:45 to see how things were going. He doesn't normally call patients to see if their dog has stopped puking, but because it's Sirius, he called. He fought really hard 14 months ago to keep him around, Doc wants to keep it that way. Last night, I wondered if he'd make it through the night because he had no energy. He went from playful to lethargic. I worried he wasn't getting enough food to fuel his body. I even told him good bye last night. Sat there and stroked his head and whispered to him. I let him know I loved him, and that he'd been an awesome dog. That if he had to go, I didn't like it, but I understood. Then I went to bed and prayed some more. I need this to work. I'm cautiously optimistic this morning - we still have the whole day ahead of us, and things can change. But hopefully this anti-vomit medication is working. I know he's alot more interested in eating, maybe because his tummy doesn't hurt? If he keeps it down, then energy, strength, and personality can all come back, he'll have the fuel for it. One of the other reasons for this medication: if it doesn't work, we know he's doing more of a regurgitation instead of a vomit thing. That then points us in the direction of mega-esophagus vs a bug. My gut tells me it's not regurgitation. He's uncomfortable before it happens, like you feel before you toss your cookies. We also wonder if there's some acid reflux going on. Maybe that burp just brings up a little more than he bargained for. We'll be starting him on zantac today, just to see. He was playing with Zeus this morning, that was good. But he's had ups and downs in a day previously, so again, I'm cautiously optimistic. Need to see more consistency, more of the good things, less of the bad things. Come on Sirius, you can do this. Thanks for all the words of encouragement ladies. I really need and appreciate them. Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Doc told me this morning that the anti-vomit meds can make him sleepy in the beginning. I feel so much better about how he did last night. That helped too. Think he felt bad for forgetting to tell me.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Breaking Point

I think I might be there. I'm not sure how much a person is supposed to handle before cracking. Recap: February - Emma rushed to Childrens' Mercy Hospital (CMH) in an ambulance with bad concussion. She doesn't remember the ride, the CT scan, or a large part of her overnight stay. Scared the heebee jeebees out of me. I remember standing in the neighbor's yard, waiting for the ambulance to show up and begging God not to take my girl. I had no idea how bad the damage was, I just knew it was bad. It was, but not as bad as it could have been - there was no bleeding, and for that, I was thankful. She dealt with severe headaches for a few months, but now seems to be doing much better. April - I couldn't sleep, so when Emma kept telling Alta to be quiet at 5 am, I went to see what was up. I couldn't wake up my beautiful 8.5 year old daughter. My heart ripped out of my chest, then splattered on the floor right before panic set in. Again, begging with the Lord not to rip something precious from me. Again, He was merciful. She got her own dark of night ride to CMH, a CT scan, and lots of lab work. She has epilepsy, but she's doing well. She'll have to deal with this, and make concessions for in her life for some time, but we're all good. June - My dog, Sirius, is sick. He was sick (almost like this) a little over a year ago and almost died. He's been sick since Wednesday night, he was doing well yesterday, but threw up again today. He's not doing so well at keeping things down. He's on anti-vomit medication now, and antibiotics. If there's not improvement tomorrow, we have to move onto x-rays. The vet did lab work to check his kidney levels, and got an injection of the anti-vomit meds. Not much useful came from the tests. He's home taking it easy right now, but this needs to work. I already spent money that's not there. I don't have it for x-rays. Not after the year we've had. I'm scared I'm going to loose my dog because we can't even find out what's wrong with him. AND THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT. It's possible we can find something we can take care of, but I can't even get that far. I'm already crying that I may have to put my 1.5 year old dog to sleep. You can't argue with zero. I can't argue with my husband, he can't say yes - it's impossible for him to do so. I can't do anything, and that's what's most upsetting. If this were a person there would be options. I have no options and that's dismal. I'm so close to my breaking point. I know it won't take much more to go over. The only silver lining - at least it's not a kid again, but it's a close second.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We Deal With Stress Differently

I realized that yesterday. My husband and I are dealing with the news of the epilepsy diagnosis differently. I'm conscious of how I'm dealing with it. I'm trying to hit it head on. Anticipating various scenarios and putting plans of action into place to deal with them. Sometimes, I feel like the warrior mom, standing with sword drawn, and shield in place to protect my girl from this disorder I can't see, but I know is there. Acceptance wasn't an issue, I accepted, then went into fight mode. My plan is to do everything I can to keep her safe, then let go and leave it up to God to step in where I can't, and my energy has been focused there, that's how I'm dealing with the stress and the news. It's not a perfect solution, however. Lack of sleep and added stress is not good for the memory, I totally flaked on a child's parent teacher conference yesterday, and feel horrible about it. I've left a message, profusely appologizing for my lightmindedness. It took a while for me to realize though, that my husband isn't going to deal with things the same way. It seems to me, that to him, it's not big deal, and at first that irritated me. But as I've watched him, as I've looked back on this past week, I can see that my dear husband has been more stressed than usual. He's dealing with it, it's just being channeled differently. I realized last night, that I need to cut him some slack, we're different people, and we'll deal with things differently. Just because it's different, doesn't mean it's not right. It works for him, even if it annoys me sometimes. I'm sure my way annoys him at times too. I think dealing with stress can be hard for a couple, and if we're not careful, if we're not understanding and forgiving, then we make it that much harder on ourselves. We have enough stress right now, why add to it?

I Think I Understand

It's amazing the difference time, perspective, and knowledge make. When Alta had her first seizure, I was up hours before, wondering the house, checking the doors and windows. There was a general unease, and I knew something was off, something was going to happen, I just had no idea what. When the drama started with Alta three hours later, I knew that's why I'd been up. To refresh your memory, or if you're just jumping into my blog, I heard Emma yell at Alta to be quiet, they share a bunk bed, with Em on top. Because I was already up, I went to check on them, that's when I found Alta unconscious in her bed. That was one of the scariest things that's ever happened to me. You always assume you'll call your child's name, touch their arm, something, while they're sleeping, and there will be a response. Your heart doesn't just drop when you don't get that response, it flies from your chest, breaking bone, and ripping flesh on its way out. I admit it. I panicked when I couldn't wake her up, and for weeks after, I beat myself up about it. I looked back, and criticized my reaction. I screamed for my husband, who came running. Later I over heard him telling someone: my wife doesn't panic quickly, but there was something in her voice that morning. I knew it was bad. When he got there, I was pulling her out of bed, still trying to get her to wake up. I handed her off to him, yelled for him to get her downstairs, where paramedics could get to her easier, and ran for the phone. Paul tells me I had the 911 dispatcher on the phone in 30 seconds from when I found her. But still, I beat myself up. I kept telling myself I should have had her laid out on the floor ready for CPR, should have checked her pulse and her breathing. I didn't...even now, it still upsets me that I didn't think to do that. But what has time, perspective, and knowledge changed? Last week we got Alta's epilepsy diagnosis. I realized that I needed to be awake that morning, NOT to test my rusty CPR skills, but to get the ball rolling. We would have completely missed the other two seizures if I hadn't been awake enough to check on the girls that morning. We NEEDED to know about the seizures so we could get help for her, so we didn't unwittingly send her into dangerous situations. The trust my husband and God put in me to take care of these little ones is not misplaced. In the early weeks I felt it was, that i underperformed. But, through His sweet mercies, I realized that's not true, and it took time. It took perspective. It took knowledge.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We Can't Make it Go Away, So We'll Make it Fun

That's the outlook today on Alta's diagnosis. I am not physically capable of taking this affliction away from my daughter. If I could, I would. I also know that if God wanted her healed, He would. Our prayers would have been answered that way. I don't blame Him for this at all. It's something that will teach us, something that will help us grow, maybe bring us closer together, increase our patience and understanding of those around us. There are numerous GOOD things that can come from this. It's not a death sentence, merely an inconvenience. For that, I am grateful. That doesn't mean there won't be some suckiness that comes along though. So, we're going to do our best to balance the two. First, for safety, a medical ID bracelet. For those times we're not around. But cute, not sterile, severe looking. Something that's fun to wear, but useful at the same time. I'm working with a friend on it. For peace of mind: looking into little dogs, whose sole purpose is to attach itself to my girl, and bark its head off if she has a seizure. He will be her assistance dog, and will hopefully help the rest of us sleep better. I don't expect he'll bark if she's just turning over, but if she does something weird or alarming, then maybe he'll bark. Although the baby monitor is helpful, the times it wakes me up unnecessarily are too ginormous to count. I really would like to feel comfortable sleeping again. Heck, so would Emma. For Fun: Emma has decided to retire Concussion Girl, but Alta has chosen to keep Seizure Girl going strong. That' what she wants to be for Halloween :) So, I've got to come up with a costume design or something for her. We're also thinking about making a comic book for her this summer. She can come up with Seizure Girl adventures and we'll write them out, add some illustrations, that sort of thing. We've talked about giving a quick presentation to her new class in the fall, of what epilepsy is and isn't, and what they can expect, and what they can do. I don't want her whole class wigged out if she does have a seizure. I'm selfish, I want the teacher's attention focused on my girl. The better prepared her class mates are as far as what to expect, the better. We may use the comic we make over the summer for this. So, that's the game plan so far. I can't make it go away, but I can make it fun may be my motto for a while.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Results, We Have Them

From the MRI: everything looks good. Nothing they could see that would cause the seizures. EEG: They did see something: generalized seizure patterns My little girl is epileptic. I don't know how to feel about this. I was prepared for the rolandic seizure diagnosis, but this is more. Instead of being limited to sleeping moments, the seizures can happen anytime, anywhere. The fact that we've only noticed ones during sleep is just a fluke. In my last post, I commented on how odd the tech's comment was when I asked if Alta'd had a seizure during the test. She said: "I didn't see anything you described to me." So I wondered what she did see. Now I know. Toward the end of the test her eyes fluttered, and that fluttering matched up with the seizure patterns on the EEG. We need to watch her for the small seizures, like fluttering eyes and staring into space, as well as the big ones. I feel like crying over it, but I'm not sure why exactly. I was prepared for the other one, maybe I would have cried a little over that one too, I don't know. But this is more than I expected. On the other hand, I'm very grateful. I have an answer, and that's what I wanted, right? I also know that it could be worse, and it's not. The other reason to be grateful, it's not a brain tumor causing this. That would definitely be worse. I guess it's a mixed bag of emotions. Gratitude that things aren't worse, worried about my baby girl's future, and how epilepsy will affect her. On the fun side: Alta wants to be Seizure Girl for Halloween, and we're planning a comic book about her character in the summer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alta's EEG

She had it done yesterday (5/10/10), and things went well. We were all exhausted though! Which was the point for her, but the rest of us - not so much. Poor baby had to stay up until midnight Sunday, and get up at 4am Monday. I think we all slept very well last night - I know I did :) They hooked her up to a bunch of wires, all over her head. I have pictures, on my phone, so who knows when anyone will see them, then I had to leave. They brought her back about an hour later. They were really nice, she got a cute bear for being so good, too. She held onto it for the rest of the night. During the test they let them sleep for a bit, then do some flashy light things, then work on deep breathing exercises. I know some things, like the flashy lights and the sleep deprivation, can be triggers for seizures. I asked the tech if they were trying to induce a seizure, or if they were just trying to get the brainwaves to start changing. She said they're not going for a seizure, but some time's it happens. When she came back out I asked the tech how it went, if she was okay on the table. Basically, did she have a seizure. It's kind of a yes or no question, don't you think? But the answer was kind of...off. "I didn't see any of the things you described." So, that begs the question: what did she see? It was just odd phrasing, but it makes me wonder if she did see something. Are there other seizure signals/signs I should look for? Anyway, she said to call the doc for results in 3 biz. days. I'm still waiting for a call about Thursday's MRI Anyway, on a good, not confusing note, we've hit the two week mark for seizure-free nights. Yay! Again, if you've been praying for us, thank you so much!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good News

I just got a call from Children's Mercy Hospital, and they can fit Alta in for her EEGon Monday! We went from July 2nd, to May 26, to May 10. I haven't heard anything about yesterday's MRI, but her doc wouldn't get it until today, so I figured it would be Monday before we heard anything on that front. Again, thank you for all the prayers for the many things our family's needed this year!

Christopher’s Good News

Back near the beginning of the school year, I blogged about Christopher being invited to take the ACT, which he did in December. A few months later we got the results: main score 19. In the breakdown, he scored well enough in two different sections to meet the benchmark that said he was ready for college level courses in those areas.

 

The district just released the following information. I highlighted my boy's name J

Look at all the kids from his school!

 

Four 7th graders scored to "win" on a national level, he wasn't one of them, but three of the four are in his class. I find that amazing. I don't think he knows how lucky he is to have the teacher he does!

 

Anyway, here's the media release, it's a copy and paste, so it doesn't look as fancy as the original pdf doc, but you can find the original at NKC School's blog on blogger.

 

 

Media Release:

May 5, 2010 CONTACT:

Darlene Minx

Office of Communications

(816) 413-5048

7

th

Graders Score State & National Recognition

for Duke Talent Search

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kansas City, North Twenty-seven 7th graders in North Kansas City Schools

have been named state winners in the Duke University talent search known as the Duke

Talent Identification Program (TIP). The program identifies 7th graders who perform

at the college level in the SAT or ACT.

Duke Talent Search state winners include the following:

ANTIOCH MIDDLE SCHOOL

Casey Allen

Jackson Barnes

David Becker

Charles Clapham

ChristopherChg Durrant

Dustin Gier

Elizabeth Little

Kayla Mansil

William Niederberger

Kevin O'Brien

Jose Somoza

Calvin Young

EASTGATE MIDDLE SCHOOL

Samantha Brown

Cordell Collins

Justin Duong

Jennifer Elpert

Alec Short

Sierra Smith

Leland Williams

MAPLE PARK MIDDLE SCHOOL

Jessica Mills Nam Vu

NEW MARK MIDDLE SCHOOL

Danielle Bates

Ryan Ganaban

Alexander Nissley

John Pittala

Joseph Watts

T h e N o r t h l a n d S c h o o l D i s t r i c t f o r I n n o v a t i o n & E x c e l l e n c e

2000 NE 46t h St. Kansas City, MO 64116 816.413.5000 fax 816.413.5005

www.nkcsd.k12.mo.us

MEDIA RELEASE

Page 2 of 4

NORTHGATE MIDDLE SCHOOL

Austin Edmisten

The Missouri recognition ceremony for state winners is set for Friday, May 21,

11 a.m., at Drury University in Springfield.

Four of the 27 state winners also have earned national recognition as Grand

winners. The four include David Becker, Dustin Gier and William Niederberger of

Antioch Middle School; and Ryan Ganaban of New Mark Middle School.

They are invited to attend the national recognition ceremony to be held at Duke

University in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday, May 24.

For 30 years, Duke TIP has identified academically talented students in a 16-state

region who have scored in the 95

th

percentile or higher on an approved state criterionreferenced

test or on an acceptable sub-test of a grade-level achievement test. That region

includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky,

Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,

Tennessee and Texas.

Once students have qualified, they are encouraged to then take either the ACT

Assessment Test or SAT Reasoning Test to earn academic recognition at the state or national

level.

T h e N o r t h l a n d S c h o o l D i s t r i c t f o r I n n o v a t i o n & E x c e l l e n c e

2000 NE 46t h St. Kansas City, MO 64116 816.413.5000 fax 816.413.5005

www.nkcsd.k12.mo.us

MEDIA RELEASE

Page 3 of 4

To be named a state winner in the Duke TIP, 7th graders must meet at least one

of several criteria determined for ACT and the SAT testing.

For ACT, a student must meet at least one of the following — a score greater than

or equal to a 20 on English or Math, or a score greater than or equal to 21 in Reading or

Science. Students may also qualify by earning three of the four following scores: a score

of 19 in English or Math, and a score of 20 in Reading or Science.

To earn state recognition using the SAT, 7th graders must earn at least one of the

following criteria ― a Math score greater than or equal to 520, a Critical Reading score

greater than or equal to 510, or a Writing score greater than or equal to 500. They can

also earn state recognition with two of the three following scores: a 510 in Math, a 500 in

Reading and a 490 in Writing.

Seventh graders with the highest scores on the SAT or ACT are honored at the

national Grand Recognition Ceremony. To qualify for Grand, students must meet at

least one of the following criteria.

For ACT, students must receive at last one score that is greater than or equal to 28

in English or Math, a score greater than or equal to 30 in Reading, a score greater than or

equal to 26 in Science, or a composite score greater than or equal to 26.

To earn Grand status using SAT scores, students must earn at least one score that

is greater than or equal to 670 in Math, a 650 in Critical Reading, a 650 in Writing, or a

T h e N o r t h l a n d S c h o o l D i s t r i c t f o r I n n o v a t i o n & E x c e l l e n c e

2000 NE 46t h St. Kansas City, MO 64116 816.413.5000 fax 816.413.5005

www.nkcsd.k12.mo.us

MEDIA RELEASE

Page 4 of 4

combination score in Math, Critical Reading and Writing of 1850.

By qualifying for Duke TIP recognition, participating students become part of the

Duke Talent Search family through their sophomore year and are offered academic support,

which includes access to academic resources, opportunities to participate in summer

programs, newsletters, college guides and more.

For more information about the Duke Talent Identification Program, contact Sherry

Samples, North Kansas City Schools coordinator for advanced educational programs, at

(816) 413-5052.

###

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wellness Updates

Emma (concussion from February) is doing well. She got to ride her bike yesterday. The medication she's on has dramatically decreased her headaches, but they're still there, just tolerable. We'll give it plenty of time to kick in before we try something else. Carter: ear infection gone, along with his medicine :) Alta: passed the one week mark of seizure free, we're going on 9 days. This is good. The longest we've gone since this started 3 1/2 weeks ago is 2 1/2 weeks, so we still have some days a head of us to break that record, but we're trying! MRI - today. The results will be in doc's office tomorrow. We should here tomorrow or Monday. Most likely, it will come back clean. EEG - May 26th Christopher: he's fine, and depressed about it. He really wants an excuse to miss school. He's been told that if he gets sick, we'll assume it's on purpose. Then he'll be grounded. ;)

Prayers

If you've been praying for our family, thank you. I thought I'd share one way those prayers have been answered. Alta's EEG was scheduled for July 2 - that's quite a ways out there. My understanding, is this is the best test we have for confirming type of seizure, although it may still come back with nothing. Last week, after Alta had two more seizures, two mornings in a row, her neurologist told me they'd try to move her up the list. I heard from radiology yesterday, and they had a cancellation and I was on the list of people to call. She now has an EEG scheduled for May 26. You're prayers made this possible, so thank you. Will the date change the diagnosis? Will it change anything in her treatment? No. But it may give us answers, which gives us a place to start. And for whatever reason, answers are comforting. Sometimes, but not all the time, it's easier to face the known, than the unknown. I can prepare to fight the enemy I know, but that element of surprise from the one you don't, well, sometimes that's what decides the battle. We may know in a couple of weeks, instead of a couple months. That's definitely an answer to prayer. The Lord knows how much I can take. He's taking care of us all.

Rascal Flatts - Unstoppable - Loved this message. Needed it today.

Updates

Lots of running today! I got Christopher to school, but while I was doing that, I multi-tasked. I was on the phone with the kids' pediatrician. Emma was in tears, sobbing that her neck hurt. She rarely cries because of pain, so I knew she really hurt. They could fit her in at 9am. Kids can't be dropped off at elementary school before 9am. Made another call, and my friend Michelle, who lives around the corner, said she could take them to school so I could take Emma to the doctor. Doc looked over Em and decided the muscle was tense, maybe from not using it. She rode her bike the other day and moved her head a lot more. I dropped her off at school and picked up Alta for her MRI. We actually made it on time. I consider that a small miracle, especially after the morning I had. Didn't get breakfast, so snacked on some chocolate I snagged from the counter on the way out. Alta did great with her MRI. It's amazing what they have to make the kids more comfortable. While she was in the MRI tunnel, she had special goggles on, head phones, and a microphone. She watched a movie through the goggles! The sound helped cover up the machine sounds, and they could communicate using the headphones and microphone. She had a stuffed animal with her, and they let her bring it it. After I dropped her off, I came home, ate something and ended up falling asleep on the couch until I had to start my afternoon pick-ups. Today was one of those days though. The stress, frustration, worry, sleepless nights kind of caught up to me, and I wasn't in the best of spirits. On the way home, the Lord answered a prayer I didn't know I prayed. I heard a song on the radio by Rascal Flats called unstoppable. The words that blazed brightly in my mind, the ones that spoke to me were these; "Get on your knees and dig down deep. You can do what you think is impossible." Good words to remember in the coming months, I'm sure. The video for that song is in the next post.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alta M. Updates

Looks like things are still going well. I slept harder last night than I have in a week. I'm worried I missed something...probably not, though. Emma would have said something. So, anyway, hope to pass the one week mark tomorrow of seizure free-ness :)

Writing Updates

I'm still baffled and befuddled with chapter four. I think the original chapter 7 is now the new four. I think part of my problem though, is not having a better understanding of my characters, so today, I'm getting to know them better. Understanding where my vampire came from and what was going on in the world at the time. I know the back stories on my vampires from book two, but not from book one, so he's getting one. I've got timelines and maps printed off, ideas swirling, and hopefully, but the end of the day, I'll know when, how, and who turned him. I'll have a better understanding of his life, and what drives him.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Way of Dealing with Stress

The girls and I have decided they need super hero names. Emma is (drum roll, please) Concussion Girl, which leaves Alta only one possibility; Seizure Girl. I've talked to them, and they're in complete agreement. So far, we've got a couple super hero powers for each girl. Concussion Girl can confuse her enemies, make them forget where they are and what they're doing, or even knock them out with one thought. On a good day, she can make them forget who they are, thus stopping bad behavior. Seizure Girl can make the ground under the enemy quake. She silences her enemies by immobilizing their tongues. It's a great interrogation technique. She can ask questions, and they can nod yes or no. She also has the ability to bring unconsciousness on with a thought. Help us out, what other super-hero powers can we give these two?

Because I need to Laugh. On The Rocks - Bad Romance - 4/23/10

Seizure Update

Alta had a great morning. I think we were all excited about it. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and was in and out of sleep. Every sound I heard I opened my eyes, looked at the clock, and waited. Would there be more? Which child was moving around? Would she have a seizure without making sounds? How would we know? Instead of giving into the questions and fear, I stayed in bed. Just because I couldn't sleep didn't mean I should wake her up. When those moments of fear or frustration creep up, and tears threaten to spill. When I want to run to God crying and asking why, I remind myself that it's not really that bad. Yes, it looks like she has a seizure disorder, but it could be worse, there are many, much more severe seizure disorders that what she may have. I'll be thankful for whatever good I can get. I remind myself, that when I feel like crying, that's the perfect time for praying, it's much more useful for my family. I also remind myself that when things get tough, we just need to get tougher. No one accomplished anything by giving up. We have this country I love because ordinary people got tougher when life got tough. I look at my ancestors and all the adversity they went through. I have a wonderful legacy to draw strength from because when life got tough, these people got tougher. I have a very firm belief that God won't give me things I can't handle without him. I may flounder a bit, and success might not be pretty, but we will get there, and we'll be all the better for it. Maybe this is the legacy our family passes on, and lesson for my children. As for the immediate future, she has an MRI appointment scheduled for next week, still waiting to hear about the EEG. Began researching the two medications the doc mentioned yesterday. Thanks for stopping by, and for all the prayers. Our family really appreciates it.

Writing Updates

I'm starting with this today, because it's quick and easy. I have no updates, other than my cursor is working correctly again. Yay! I found out yesterday that all the work I did on Monday is gone, I've been told by other writers, that it's only words. They can be re-written, so that's what I plan to do today. Couldn't do it without a working cursor though :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writing Update

So, things aren't working so well for me this week. My cursor's jumping all over the place, making it difficult to write (a restart did not fix this problem..grr-that's supposed to fix everything). But, more upsetting than that, all the work I did yesterday has disappeared. I know I hit that stupid save button, I have no idea what happened to it, but it's gone. I made changes in a critiqued document that was sent to me. I have the original critiqued doc, but not the one with all the changes I made. So, joy of joys, I get to start all over. It better be better than it was, but we'll never find out if my stinkin' curson doesn't stop jumping around and screwing me up. I'm a little stressed-can you tell? It might just be a reading day, but then I'm two days behind tomorrow instead of one.

Seizure Updatee

I heard from the neurologist herself. I thought the nurse would call, but the doc did instead. She's leaning toward Rolandic seizures. Rolandic is the area of the brain that controls the facial area, mouth, tongue, etc. It looks like it's starting there and working its way out to something bigger, like a grand-mal. They're going to move her up on the list for the EEG, as well as schedule her for an MRI, just to double check head ct she got during the ER visit. If it happens again, before the tests, we call and let them know. Dr. Hashmati may put her on medication at that point, because of the frequency. So, seizure update, there you have it. My writing rant is coming up next.

Seizures

There was definitely another one this morning. Our friend, Ashley, let us borrow her baby monitor and we were able to hear Alta's sounds, Paul raced in there (he's closer to the door) and found her still seizing. This is important because it's the first time we've had a visual confirmation, which docs like to have. So, there was one a little over two weeks ago, possibly one yesterday, and most definitely one today. Called Neurology this morning, trying to be first on their list of call backs. I'm concerned that it's two days in a row. Unfortunately, we still don't know if it's both sides of the body or not, she was cocooned in her comforter and already on her side, but we know that her right side was affected, Paul said her whole torso was shaking. Our seizure expectation window so far is from 5am and 7:30 am. They say kids can grow out of these, hope it's soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Writing Updates

I've gone through chapters 4-6 and realized they no longer belong. Chapter four is completely gone, there might be a paragraph from chapter 5 that shows up somewhere else, and maybe a couple paragraphs from chapter 6. Chapter 7 I need. Over the weekend, I also joined a critique group. This is a really big step for me, because I still have thin skin, and at first act defensively and get discouraged. It takes a few days for me to process it and come up with productive questions and different ways to do things to satsify myself and my crit parter. Now, I'll have even more. And I think the rule is to be brutally honest, it's better to have your crit group point something out than an editor or agent. Not only can receiving brutal honesty be an issue for me, but so can giving it. I'm always worried about how other people feel. Guess I'll learn to get over it, or I'd better just toss in the towel now, which is not what I want. Adaptation to brutal honesty it is. Todays writing goals: 1. Create a chapter four that bridges chapter 3 and 7. 2. Gather good, productive questions to ask about the critique I got back last week and move forward. Non-writing goal: leave the yummy peanut butter cookies in the kitchen alone. One for breakfast is enough. Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!

Maybe? Possibly? Another One?

I dropped the kids off at school this morning, and my oldest daughter tells me, as they're getting ready to get out of the car, "I think Alta had another one." I'm confused: Another cookie? Another bowl of cereal? Another what? She tells me, "Another seizure, this morning." Em says she heard the strange hiccuping/drinking water noise this morning. She looked at the clock and it was 5:38. It lasted under a minute, she guessed around 10 seconds. Why didn't she come to get us? She wasn't sure, and she didn't want to scare her sister if she was wrong. So, maybe she had another one, maybe she didn't. We probably would have been able to tell if we'd known to check on her, Emma knows know to get us, either way. I'm happy she's in there to give us a heads up though. I tried using our old baby monitor, so I could hear, but it doesn't work. Looks like I'll be borrowing one from a friend. I'm replaying last night's events in my head looking for signs or indicators that something was off. The neurologist said that with one of the seizure possibilities, the kids feel kind of off, and may even come and complain they're not feeling well. There's the possibility of twitching in the face, or odd mouth movements. I need to know how far in advance those signals can show up. Around 9pm last night she came down complaining that she didn't feel well, that she had a headache. I gave her some Tylenol and sent her back up to bed. Because I'm paranoid, I took her temperature, it was fine. I know sometimes high fevers can trigger a seizure, so I checked. It wasn't an issue. Where does that leave us? The school nurse is trying to find out from Emma if she heard any movement - I didn't have a chance to ask her before she was out of the car and in the building. Once I know that, I need to call the neurologist back and report the possibility. I don't think that will change anything at this point though. She still scheduled for an EEG in July, and if it's the type of seizure the neurologist is leaning toward, they don't really treat it because it happens during sleep and the kids usually grow out of it. We'll have to wait and see. Isn't parenthood fun? Definitely not boring!