Random Bits

No energy – sick with a cold. So let’s do a Friday Five.

  1. Z’s Great Grey Owl costume turned out really well! Husband did the feathers for the mask, I did hours of sewing for the cape o’ feathers, and she absolutely loved it. I absolutely loved sneaking chocolate from her Halloween bag. Will post a how-to-make-an-owl-costume some other time.
  2. I’ve got a Fabulous Support Network re-reading le manuscript, but already I’ve found Flaws In The Middle. I really shouldn’t read books on craft when I’m trying to finish a project. One of the chapters in Donald Maass’s The Fire in Fiction covers what he calls the “saggy middle.” No, he better not be talking about my tummy. The problem with middle scenes is that the main character tends to go through the story, and these middle scenes, especially, without a clear goal or inner or outer turning points. Now angry at the world and frantically revising.
  3. I need a really good book to read. Fiction, nonfiction, YA, adult – doesn’t matter. But I need something to suck me in, and fiction usually does the job better than non, for me. Preferably something short. Recommendations?
  4. Have I mentioned I’m sick? Murphy’s Law must govern preschool schedules, because the week I get sick is the week Z has two days off of school. So now I’ve got to keep her busy all day long. We’ve been doing special art projects. We made a paper chain for Thanksgiving, and I got her a bunch of fall-themed foam stickers so she’s making more Thanksgiving decorations. Also, at her school they give them those perler beads that the child puts on a plastic peg board, and then the theory is that the adult will unearth her iron and iron the plastic beads so they stick together to make a fun, bright shape for everyone to enjoy.
  5. Finally, on the subject of school. Z really wants to go for the full day. She’s been going for half-days, so we promised to talk to her teacher about it at the parent-teacher conference, which was today. Her teacher recommended starting on Monday! As in, three days from now. I’d thought there would be hemming and hawing, and we’d start her full-time maybe in January, giving us all a lot of time to get used to the idea. But Z wants to go now, and her teacher sees no reason not to. Plus in the coming weeks there will be lots of breaks for the holidays, and supposedly this will make the transition easier. Part of me is overjoyed at the prospect of so much time to myself before the baby comes, and a part of me is weeping, “She’s growing up so fast!” But that second part is mostly quiet, especially when I have a headache and a cold and all I want to do is take a nap that lasts until March.

That’s all! Happy Friday!


  1. readingisdelicious · November 4, 2011

    I really enjoyed the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who Played with Fire, but there are some disturbing scenes (with Dragon Tattoo especially), so I’m not sure how you’ll like it. If it helps, my mom and uncle also enjoyed the books (my mom is the one who gave me my copy). I’m somewhat weirded out that mom gave me this book after reading some of the scenes. Although what happens next after one of the disturbing scenes is IMMENSELY satisfying.

    Everything else I read is manga, so that’s not helpful to you at all, lol.

    Oh, there’s that Soulless book I mentioned on Twitter that’s supposed to be quite good, too, but I can’t personally recommend it as I haven’t read it yet. But I’m going to! It looks like silly light fun.

    • readingisdelicious · November 4, 2011

      Argh, I forgot to say, GET WELL SOON, m’dear.

      • Beth Hull · November 4, 2011

        Isn’t The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a MASSIVE tome? Maybe I’m thinking about something different. Besides, I’m not going to turn up my nose at a book recommendation from you!

        Yeah, also interested in the Soulless one, but want you or Shazzer to vet it, first.

  2. Neda · November 4, 2011

    You are such a good a mom – homemade Halloween costumes, that is insane!!

    A was Z’s age when he went to preschool full time, and I was pregnant, and he got mad when I picked him up early. It was PERFECT!! 🙂

    • Beth Hull · November 4, 2011

      Well, “good mom” might be stretching it, Neda. What if I had to lock her in the basement in order to get the time to sew said costume? 🙂 Nah, I do it (make the costumes, not lock her in the basement) because it’s fun & challenging.

      Yes, I do hope the full-time preschool will work out for everyone!

  3. thegracefuldoe · November 4, 2011

    That owl costume is awesome! I wish I was a mummy who could sew and make awesome costumes. For my son’s dress up day at kinder I used a black marker on a white t-shirt so he could go as Ben10, that was the extent of my creativity.

    I can’t remember if you’ve read the Sookie Stackhouse series or not, but they really sucked me in and they’re a fairly quick read. The first book is Dead Until Dark. You’ll have to overlook the bad writing (it gets better as the series goes along), but the characters and story are so compelling you get sucked in despite the writing faux pas (which are probably only so obvious because I’m a writer and it’s stuff I avoid like the plague when I’m writing). Another book I only just read recently, though it’s been out for years, is The Princess Diaries. I got so sucked in reading it and because it’s more MG it’s a short, quick read. Just the other day I got book 2 and it sucked me in just as much as the first (I’m now on the lookout for book 3).

    We did those beads all the time when I worked at after school care. The worst part is picking up all the beads that go all over the floor.

    Hope you feel better soon. It sucks being sick when pregnant, because you’re already tired.

    • Beth Hull · November 4, 2011

      Haha, I’ve read (and own) all the Sookie Stackhouse books. I think she was up to book 4 when I entered my vampire/werewolf craze. I’ve read The Princess Diaries, too, but that was a long time ago, and would be worth another go. Thanks, Jo!

  4. PB Rippey · November 4, 2011

    Love your posts, Beth–so chock-full of life.
    1. FANTASTIC owl!
    2. I’m confident your middle(s) are burgeoning and far from saggy.
    3. You’ve probably already read “Miss Peregrine’s School…”, but if not, what fun it is. Lately I’ve been revisiting everything Zilpha Keatley Snyder and Joan Aiken. And Angela Carter’s “Nights At The Circus” I turn to when sick, as I turn to Frodo and crew when ironing (DVD’s, of course, not novels).
    4. Pregnant Mamas shouldn’t be allowed to get sick. Evolution needs to catch up on that one and stick in the no-sick-when-pregnant gene. Or–er–magic trick?
    5. How lovely you have a school that your daughter is so comfortable and happy in. Doesn’t sound like you can go wrong there–although I totally understand guilt feelings.
    Happy weekend!

    • Beth Hull · November 4, 2011

      Thanks, PB! I have not read the “Miss Peregrine’s School…” book. Requesting it from the library right now, along with Nights at the Circus. Thanks again!

  5. Pat · November 4, 2011

    Randolph, Bubba and Sticks have given the Great Grey Owl costume a talons up. Quite wonderful. Sticks was especially pleased. She makes a lovely owl and her mom makes a terrific costume. Love the feathered mask, too.

    I have another Flavia de Luce coming but don’t know when it will arrive. How about another Terry Pratchett? We can all use a Pratchett fix now and again.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    • Beth Hull · November 4, 2011

      Yes, Pat, maybe another Tiffany Aching will be just the ticket. Especially easy because I think Husband has them all, and he can recommend which one to read next. Thank you for that, and the costume flattery! Tell Randolph, Bubba, and Sticks that they are very kind for approving Z’s feathers.

      • Beth Hull · November 4, 2011

        Oh, forgot to say, I think the new Flavia’s due out in December? Nope, just checked on Amazon. Released on Tuesday. You’ll be getting it any day now.

  6. inkscapesme · November 4, 2011

    Oh wow! That costume is amazing! How long did that take? So artsy, you are!

    I don’t think I should recommend anything because we’ve got completely opposite tastes in books!

    And OHEMGEE, how I loved those plastic-beads-on-a-peg-board-that-mom-had-to-iron! I let loose a little squeal (in public), when I saw the picture. I made them with the kids I worked with several years ago when I when I was working at an elementary school. I think I enjoyed making them more than the kids did!

    Feel better soon!

    • Beth Hull · November 4, 2011

      Mel, I don’t know how long it took. The planning/sewing was the longest. Actually, threading the freaking bobbin on my sewing machine took the longest (I need the User’s Manual every single time).

      Yeah, the perler bead design on the right is mine. It was fun! I look forward to making many more. Stocking stuffers! Fair warning to all of you.

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