Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We were looking through Elaine's book of farm animals, and I was quizzing her on their sounds. "What's a cow say?" "What's a chicken say?" (She'll answer that one now.) "What's a sheep say?" But she stopped answering me, and, after a moment, started reciting a new word.

I don't think she knows quite what to do with it -- other than practice it --, but she figured out what the most important word in what I was saying was... It connects the animals to their sounds: "say."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Jack-O-Lanterns are all carved now. We carved the first batch too early, and they slowly melted into orange puddles. The second set now graces our doorstep with eerie leers. I got to carve two of them, but then Daniel added a long, curly mustache to his after I was done with it. You have to like a holiday ritual that involves transforming fruit to art, via knives and fire.

Yesterday was Elaine's first real trip to the zoo. She's been three times before, but she didn't really notice the animals. And she wasn't walking yet, so she couldn't run around and enjoy it. Yesterday, however, she was so excited to see the animals, it made her dance. She liked the farm section best. She was convinced that the goats and pig were very strange dogs and woofed at them. She bocked at the chickens, and she's never done that before. And, as soon as she saw the ponies, she shrieked in delight and started nodding her head furiously. It was as if she was trying to say, "yes, those, I want those." I guess she wants a pony.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Elaine and I had a great conversation about one of the paintings on our wall this evening. I noticed she was entranced by it, so I said, "That's a cat, what does it say?" She mewed. "But, it has wings," I said, "like a bird." She flapped her hands.

I hope she starts adding some more words to her lexicon soon. As great as conversations like that are, they do start to feel a little... limited. I think it could be fascinating to see where she takes a conversation like that once she has a few more concepts available to her.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When Elaine sees a bird or a picture of a bird, she holds up her hands and flaps them in a "fly away" gesture I taught her. It's one of the "animal noises" she does for her animal flashcards: she'll "oof" for the dog, "mew" for the cat, "moo" for the cow, "aaa" for the sheep, and "fly away" for the birds.

Well, today, Daniel was wearing his Trogdor the Burninator shirt, and Elaine noticed the picture of Trogdor. She decided right off that Trogdor, a "wing-a-ling dragon," was obviously a bird. She told us so with her excited "fly away" hand-flapping.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I am strong and powerful! I edited my five pages for the day. Wash, rinse, repeat and... well... I'd have a pretty soggy manuscript.
If I can edit thirty pages a week, I can still finish the current draft of Otters In Space by the end of November. Unfortunately, I'm finding that watching Elaine actually interferes with editing more than writing original material. Under normal circumstances, I can edit, with only limited breaks, for as long as it takes to finish a story. Whereas, the actual writing is much harder and only happens in erratic bursts when my creative energies are charged.

While watching Elaine, however, I only have time for erratic bursts. So, while I've met my four-stories-per-year quota with less trouble than usual, I'm having serious trouble finding enough time to sit down, reacquaint myself with where I'm at in Otters In Space, and then tackle the complicated task of fixing whatever problems I find without creating inconsistencies.

I don't have to worry about inconsistencies if I'm just writing 1000 words of a stand-alone story.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our house got attacked by a rampaging herd of furniture last night!

Fortunately, by this morning, the herd had moved on, and only two, straggling members were left: a hutched desk and bowfront chest. As these poor items of furniture-iness were milling around at a complete loss for how to find their herd, we decided to take pity on them and adopt them as our own. So far, the bowfront chest seems to be fitting in very well with its new brethren, and the hutched desk -- showing a flare for leadership -- has taken over as patriarch of our small, indoor herd of furniture.

Hopefully, they'll adapt well and won't miss ranging free in the out-of-doors too greatly.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Elaine has now been to funerals for two of her great-grandparents. She met each of them, my Grandpa Wes and Daniel's Nana, once. I never met any of my great-grandparents. I wonder if it will make them more real to her -- having a picture of her with each of them, and hearing stories of what taking her to their funerals was like. How she stacked rocks on a bench outside... It may.

I've had very little time to work on my writing lately. That should, hopefully, change soon. I'm still planning to finish editing "Otters In Space" by the end of November. Ideally, before Orycon. A goal that's starting to look daunting. But... doable...