Monday, August 31, 2009

Moving On

Finished revising and editing "Closing Time" for L&L Dreamspell last night and resubmitted it. Now there is nothing to do but wait and hope the changes meet with their approval.

Now I have to figure out what to do with "The Tragedy,'Man.'" since it has been rejected. The first thing, of course, is to go over it with a fine tooth comb and improve it any way I can. After that, I can shelve it for while or immediately start looking for another market to offer it. Either is a viable option, and each has their advantages.

The main thing is to get started on a new story. At this point I have little more than glimmers for ideas. The two main ones involve paddlewheelers. One idea is to follow the last hours of a doomed sidewheeler as it fights it way through Galveston Bay in the Great Storm of 1900. The other is two boys in 1875 stumble across a beached paddlewheeler after the storm that wiped out Indianola. I'm thinking about throwing a Sea Hag into one of them. Neither is much more than images and a few snatches of dialogue at this point. I've shelved many an idea more developed than these. I'm just showing where I'm at at the moment.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Nature of the Business

I just had one story rejected, and one sent back for revision and editing. That's the way it goes in this business. Sometimes a story simply doesn't meet what the publisher needs in a particular anthology. And I suspected this story might be a bit of a stretch.

Besides, you aren't really a writer until you've gotten a rejection letter or two.

First I'll get to work editing and revising the story sent back for that, and get it back to that publisher as quickly as possible. Then I'll look over the other and decide what direction to go with it. Then there is also the matter of another short story I'm holding on to until the right anthology opens up. I need to decide when and where to submit it.

Then I need to figure out a plot for a new story.

Busy, busy, busy!

The Problem with Six Year Olds . . .

. . . is that they are now inventive and motivated enough to try out the things they see on cartoons for themselves. Alas, mine has been watching Wile E Coyote and the Roadrunner. Oh well, if this kid survives to reach seven, he will provide me with lots of great material.

Oh Noes!

I'm between stories again!

And as we all know, that means I soon start tearing my hair out and start thinking I'm a washed up, talentless hack. I guess it's just that until I have a good idea for a story, I don't know that I will ever have another good idea again. So I kind of like the feeling of working on a story, because it means I've still got one good idea left in me. Yeah, it's a bit of a vicious cycle.

It will probably be a good thing when I try and tackle novels again next year, since I will have that "one good idea" last me for quite a while. I actually spent a good deal of last night laying in bed and thinking about "Argiope." I've been letting that one stew on the back burner until I have a better idea where it's going.

Ah well, the weekend is upon me and I suppose it wouldn't hurt me to just relax the little gray cells for a day or two.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Letting Go

There comes a time that you have to admit to yourself that you have tinkered, overhauled, edited, and revised a story for long enough. I just sometimes have trouble reaching that time. After learning early on the crucial importance of editing and revision, I now have a hard time pushing away from the computer monitor and declaring, "Done!"

Even after having three different proofreaders go over the thing, I still catch myself hunting that last punctuation mistake, trying to improve that last awkward sentence, or trying to tweak the flow that little bit more. As another writer informed me, there's no crime in striving for perfection. . . as long as you don't let it paralyze you in to never letting the story go.

It's just that reputation is important. I want a publisher who has previously done business with me to react with relief and anticipation upon seeing my name on a submission, because they know in advance they aren't getting a poorly written story they have to slog through in their slushpile. It matters. Even if the story doesn't get accepted, it matters.

But now the time has come to let go. And it ain't easy. Because I just know that there is that glaring error in there, that somehow got past all of us, just waiting to make me look amateurish and unprofessional. (Is that redundant?) Ah well, I've got to move on. It's time, and I still have four more stories to write this year.


The deed is done. The story "The Tragedy, 'Man.'" has been sent off to Pill Hill Press for consideration in their Four Horsemen anthology. I refuse to look at the manuscript again, for fear of seeing that I misspelled my name or committed some other horrifically obvious mistake. It's too late now.

Frito Pie Day.

I was blissfully sleeping in, enjoying restful dreams, when the six year old woke me up and informed me that it was the perfect time to go enjoy frito pies with him. Since Karla was home to watch Rowan, I really didn't have an excuse not to. Besides, I sort of liked the idea.

So, I spent the late part of the morning in Old Town Spring, eating a frito pie and listening to Sheridan extol the virtues of his first cherry slushie. He still intends to be an astronaut, but is quite proud of his mother the animal doctor, and his father the writer. After the brief conversation about careers, we moved on to the subject of "things smaller than bugs". I have been informed that this list includes germs, venus flytraps, and black holes. I'm not sure how that works, but he seems pretty positive. I suppose I'm gonna have to explain the contradiction of a venus flytrap being smaller than it's prey. But at least he's right about germs . . . and who knows about black holes?

Oh well, today I intend to do the last bit of editing on my story today and get it off to Pill Hill Press tonight. I need to get a check in the mail so I can buy a bunch of authors copies from them too.

Ah well, things to do . . . things to do.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hemingway Didn't Have To Put Up With This.

I'm trying to do the final edit and revision for "The Tragedy, 'Man.'"

Unfortunately, I have my four year old sitting on the computer to my right, playing Feeding Frenzy, and singing at the top of her lungs. Even worse, the six year old is setting up traps throughout the living room to "catch bad guys". He's doing a running commentary the whole time.

Somehow I think the bad guys have little to fear . . . but I have a sneaking feeling that at least one of those little surprises has my name on it, sooner or later. Having that knowledge lurking at the back of my brain also tends to make my work that much more difficult.


Foraging for Supplies

I took an excursion through the perilous wilds of Houston traffic to hunt for supplies at Office Depot. After braving fierce Houstonian drivers and suffering through the purgatory of overlong traffic lights, I achieved my destination and the hunt was on.

Aisle by aisle, I methodically scouted the store until my quarry was identified and located. About midway through the thicket of towering shelves, I spotted it. . . the bundle of clear fronted, three pronged, report covers. With steely resolve, I moved in. Making a direct approach, I bagged my prize without further hesitation.


I also spotted a future trophy I wish to add to my collection. The elusive tall file cabinet. I stalked my new prey for a closer look. Coming up on it's flank, I surprised it and managed to get a full look upon it's price tag before my six year old porter raised a fuss and I had to move on. Alas, I may have to hunt in cheaper jungles for this creature, for it is pricey indeed. I suppose I shall beat the brush of the internet and see what turns up there.

As a bonus, I managed to pick off a pack of printer paper on the way out of the area.

All in all, I would call it a successful hunt.


Apparently my father was doing some big game hunting of his own and managed to bag the elusive 4 drawer file cabinet at a small preserve for the mere pittance of seven dollars.

Nice shot, Dad.

Writer's Night Out

Cherri Galbiati finally got free from her novel writing for a little while, and we got to go out and fortify our creativity at Denny's for the first time in a month. I got to read some of her latest work, and she gave a final critique to "The Tragedy, 'Man.'". All in all, it was a very productive night, and it was good to see her out and about again.

Now I just need to address the points that Cherri brought up in the story, and it will be ready to ship off. I can probably do that and still make my goal of submitting it to Pill Hill Press by Friday. Then it's all a matter of coming up with a ninth short story for the year.

I've pretty much given up on writing one for The Final Twist. The idea I had simply wasn't gelling into a story that was worth writing or reading. I guess I'll let them know I'm not going to submit one this year, and hope for better luck next year.

I also need to shake this airheadedness I've been suffering from lately. It's killing my ability to focus. It's hurting both my creativity and my ability to sit down and get work done. Ugh. Maybe it's something in the air. If this doesn't stop soon I'm going to go on a strict low carb diet of only home cooked foods, just to see if that's the cause. Whatever it is, it's annoying.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ten Hours Later

Well, just managed to log ten solid hours of sleep. Hopefully that will mean I will be more productive today, and I won't be dragging along all bleary eyed and drooping. I sure didn't want to wake up, though. I think I may have been so sleep deprived that I needed a solid twelve or fourteen hours to make up for it. I didn't wake up once last night, like I usually do, but found myself being woke up by Karla after what only felt like a short time asleep.

Ugh. I think I was meant to hibernate. And now with August coming to an end, I must be feeling the urge to find a den and snore the winter away. That works for me. I could just find some snacks and pull them into my den after me . . . and then it's "hasta la vista" till April! Oh, and I'll need a TV for football games.


Still just tired and bleary eyed. What the heck is going on? I actually thought about going back to bed after getting Rowan on the bus, but didn't want to risk sleeping through her getting home. Sheridan has a cold, maybe I'm coming down with something. My sinuses are clear though, so maybe not.

I'll try to get some editing done today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Afternoon Update

Well, I have the two copies for the Cats in a Dreamspell contract signed and mailed out. Now it's just a matter of waiting until they can sign them and mail one back to me. I need to get a real filing cabinet, one that all the drawers can be locked on, to keep my writing stuff in.

Also got Rowan off to her therapist. She did pretty good, and I made sure she didn't fall asleep in the car on the way there so she wouldn't wake up in a grouchy mood.

On the other hand, I'm about on my last legs. My sleeping schedule got all messed up, and I'm fighting to stay awake. All I've got to do is last until Karla gets home and then it's off to bed for me. I'll be sure and take some melatonin or something to try and help me sleep through the night and get my schedule straightened out. I hate being up all day, but being so hazy and tired that I'm useless. I need to get to editing that story so I can get it off to Pill Hill Press.

Then I need to work on one for LL Dreamspell. It's time to put the thinking cap on and come up with something for their revenge anthology.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Getting Started


Rowan started school yesterday, and the bus found us on the very first day. Therefore I anticipate no troubles tomorrow. After finishing this post, I need to run to Walmart and get some ground turkey to make sausage with so she will have some breakfast to take with her tomorrow.

I've also got both critiques back from the people who agreed to do them, Steph and Charlie, so now I can get on with the editing. Thanks guys! With luck, I will have it in shape and ready to submit by Friday.

Also, I just got my contract forms from LL Dreamspell for their Cat anthology lately. I need to fill those out tonight and get them back into the mail.

Things are humming along and I better get some shades for that bright future approaching.

Laundry Day

Today, much laundry was done. The main person to thank for that was Karla's mom, Lu. She led the way while we sorted laundry baskets full of clothes that had been waiting for . . . well, we'll just say they were waiting for a long time. Other baskets of laundry were washed, and much got accomplished.

I didn't do any writing today, but I have come to realize that just isn't an option when you have company. I'll start back on tomorrow night or Tuesday, I guess. Maybe being in a house devoid of full baskets of laundry will be inspiring. We shall see.

Of course, it may have just gotten even harder for me to get to my computer now. Sheridan and Rowan got some games for her birthday, and a couple of them required an internet connection. Therefore they were installed on my machine. Earlier today I had Rowan on one machine and Sheridan on the other. Sigh. I'm holding off getting a laptop until Windows 7 comes out. It shouldn't be too long now.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Speaking of Big Moments

Sheridan has hit that once in a lifetime "gap tooth" stage where both front baby teeth have fallen out.

This is a big moment for him, and heralds a whole new stage in life.

Just ask him.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And A Good Time Was Had By All

Rowans party certainly seemed to be a success. The only "party pooper" turned out to be me. I failed to get to get much sleep the night before, and then had to get up at six in the morning to start the brisket. But at least the brisket turned out okay, which is always a plus.

The kids had a grand time, playing computer games or chasing each other around and shrieking. The addition of Charlie and her kids made for a festive atmosphere, and ensured everybody had somebody to play with.

It was also good to see Courtney back among us, especially for my own selfish reasons since I had an art project for her. Her project is a bookcover idea for an as yet unwritten book. I'm hoping that having the book cover will inspire me to get back onto that book and finish it. I have a strong start on it, but I'm still working on alternate ways it can go and still remain true to it's premise. I'm not going to worry too much about that until after Christmas though, since I'm still working on my goal of twelve publishable short stories this year.

Rowan and Sheridan got new beds, and they are currently sleeping in them. Rowan had to be sent back to bed a few times, I think just because she was still excited over the birthday and the newness of the bed. They are out like lights now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rowan!

Happy Birthday, Rowan!

She joined us four years ago today. And while she has been a challenge from time to time, she has also been a delight.

Monday she starts preschool, so she is going to be doubly happy. She always looked forward to that school bus. No separation anxiety for that girl. I will have Sheridan home for a week while Rowan is at school, and then his school starts the week after.

Life is rip roaring along at full speed, and it's amazing how fast they have grown.

Family in Town

Karla's mom, Lu, is visiting today. So I'm pretty busy in non writing activities.

After sleeping in, I cooked chicken for the kids. Now I'm just hanging around the computer while simultaneously being social.

I might do some editing tonight.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Deep Thought of the Day

Do writers suffer postpartum depression after giving birth to a story?

Biding Time

Well, with my manuscripts dropped off to Charlie and Stephie (who is subbing for Cheri) that gives me a couple of days to step away from the story and focus elsewhere.

In this case that means getting the house ready for Rowan's 4th birthday party this weekend. That will give me plenty to do, and should clear my head so I can consider other stories. Sometimes once I finished a first draft, the story remains in my head for a while, making it difficult to revise effectively and also to come up with something new. I'm not sure how to describe it better, other than to say that my head is still IN the story, and once done with the first draft I need to get it out.

Oh well, I need to get the six year old off to school. Update later.

Update #1

Charlie must have stayed up last night working on it. She stopped by today and dropped off the manuscript and we talked about it. She had some good suggestions, and also pointed out what my "word" for this story was. Every story, it seems I get hung up on some word and use it repetitively. And I'm totally blind to it. Even rereading the story for myself afterwords, I can't seem to see it. It turns out that this time the word "anyways" got a little overused, and used poorly. Thanks Charlie.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The final line to the first draft of "The Tragedy, 'Man.'" has been penned . . . or I suppose I should say typed, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.


Update: Dropped the first printed out copy off with Charlie. She and Cherri are my primary editors and sources for critiques, but Cherri is currently occupied with trying to finish her novel.

Nearing the End

I'm zeroing in on the closing paragraphs to the story. It now has the title "The Tragedy, 'Man.'" I'm actually having a little difficulty closing this story as it is being written to conform to a particular theme. I know what I want to do with it, I just have to find the right words. I'm also only 300 words away from my 5000 word cap, but that's okay. I'm nearly done, and I can always trim a little here or there in the editing process. It needs tightening up anyways.

I hope to finish today, or at worst tomorrow, and then I can devote next week to the editing process.

My book on steamboats that traded on the Brazos river has come in, and I'm enjoying learning about that. It's odd how most people who live along the Brazos think of paddlewheelers as things that appeared on the Mississipi, and not realize how they used to be features along their own river.

I also need to decide what my next story will be. The deadline for The Final Twist anthology approaches. I have a story in mind for that, but I'll admit I'm not terribly enthused about it. I would like to come up with a better idea. Ah well, I'll just have to see what I can do.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Change of Direction

One of the interesting things about being in the middle of the process of writing a story is that sometimes things change. You have a general idea of your story, you are working away at it, you reach a certain point, and then suddenly you have a completely new idea come up as to where to take it. Usually the second idea is better than the first.

Sometimes it can be really frustrating because to follow that second direction may mean undoing a lot that you have already written. That's where the writer almost always ends up doing this mental cost-benefit analysis as to whether or not the second idea is so clearly superior to the first that it's worth going back and undoing what has already been done. Sometimes it isn't.

In this case, the second idea stands head and shoulders above the original, and fortunately it won't require the removal of much that has already been done. The only worry is whether or not I will be able to keep the 5000 word cap. I think I can, and it's definately worth the effort to try. It will add more dialogue to the story. Actually, it will practically use dialogue to carry the story. I think it will work though. And if I do exceed the word cap, I can always hold on to the story to market it elsewhere.

The firs thing is to just write the story, see what I've got, and go from there.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Working on Scene Three

I'm working my way through scene three now. Naturally, I have the six year old chattering in my ear while watching Peter Pan on the computer beside me.

The third scene is primarily dialogue between Will and Rowley. The idea here is to show as much as I can through these two's conversation without coming right out and saying certain things. Also, hopefully to lay a few clues that can be recognized if the reader looks back at the end of the story. And of course, mainly to lay the foundation for the next "chapter" after that. I would like to work in a little foreshadowing as well.

Thats an awful lot for one scene that is intended to come across as ordinary as possible. We'll see if I can pull it off.


Finished scene three. I'm pretty content with it. It just needs a little tweaking here and there. On the other hand I am now at 2,835 words. I have to cap this story at 5000 words, so I need to be careful. Of course, part of the revision process is chopping out fluff, but it's always good to keep your word cap in mind while writing your first draft.

Scene Two Complete

Okay, got the second "chapter", if short stories can be said to have chapters, done. The dream sequence that sets the stage for later events. I made one change from my intended plan as I wrote it, choosing to delay revealing the entire nature of the central figure of the dream sequence till later.

I think it will add punch to a later scene I have planned. That scene had needed something in the way I had it originally planned. Now it will serve the dual purpose of enhancing the sense of pursuit, while at the same time bringing the nature of the pursuer into sharper focus. I'm visualizing this story in "scenes", not as in a movie but more like a Twilight Zone episode.

The dream scene itself still needs work, as it doesn't have the "feel" I was shooting for yet. But that is now an issue that can be addressed in the revision process. For now, I need to keep writing and make more progress with the story. I would like to finish the first draft in the upcoming week, although I don't know how likely that is.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Scene one, Finished.

I finally finished scene one in the short story I previewed earlier. It came to almost 1,200 words, much of it dialogue. That's a good thing in this case, as the dialogue comes across as action and helps the story move along. It also allows me have the characters define themselves as opposed to me just telling the reader about them.

Now I have to write a short dream sequence, and then on with the rest of the story. I still have to plan out how I'm going to write much of this story due to the scene changes interspersed with a couple more dream sequences. I've never been one for putting dreams into a story before, so this is where I'm going to have to substitute care and planning for experience. In this case, I'm simply using the dreams as a vehicle to move the story along, so they shouldn't detract from the story the way I find that many dream sequences do.

I need to get this story wrapped up so I can move on and get to work on some others. I don't want to rush it, as a matter of fact I refuse to rush it, but I would like to get it done. There is much more to do.


Scene two is underway, but is running into stiff interference from a six year old who is playing on the computer beside me and offering a running commentary of everything he is doing. All efforts to teach him to play his games without the chatter have been futile. Argh!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Alas, pestilence is upon us.

The three year old has become a matter creating soupy poop machine . . . either that, or she's trying to become rocket powered. Regardless, all plans for the day have been cancelled due to prodigious diaper changing.

I will critique a manuscript I had offered to me lately, and then I'll try to get a little written myself. I slept in today so I'm starting out behind. I woke up feeling a tad queasy myself, so I'm not going to do anything too adventuresome. Not to mention, I practically killed myself while trying to climb over the child gate without my braces on earlier. So, wounded and queasy, I will keep my efforts to a minimum.

Soon school will start and there will be no more sleeping in. But the trade off being I can actually get three hours to myself every morning makes it all worth it. Perhaps I can catch up on my writing. Ah well, it won't be long now.

Not Much New

Didn't write much today, as I had kids and other matters to attend to. I might get a little done tomorrow afternoon or evening.

I'm still trying to figure out how to wrap up the graveyard scene and move the story along. I've got a couple of ideas, but I have to choose carefully.

Dallas didn't look very good in their first preseason game, although their first team did alright. I didn't get to watch it, but was forced to follow play by play results on Bleh!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Feeding the Muse

I woke up at 2:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. Coming out to the living room, I found Karla in a similar predicament. Since she had already claimed dibs on the computer, I chose to go out to Denny's and grab a bite.

Something about being at Denny's in the wee hours of the morning causes diets to seem unbearably tedious and counterproductive. In the face of such difficulty, I felt that abject surrender and a plate of cheese fries were the only reasonable solution. The chocolate sundae afterwards might have been a bit much, but by that time things had gathered a momentum of their own. I content myself with the idea that I will come up with some suitable penance later. Besides, carbs make the brain function better . . . or so it is convenient for me to believe at the moment.

I'm now at a thousand words into the recently previewed story. They're still sitting in the graveyard talking, so I'm going to have to wrap that scene up pretty quick. The conversation is important though, as it frames the issues of the story and also the charactors. I'm not too happy with the way the setting doesn't come through though. I'll have to work on that later. I trimmed one of the characters (Russell) out as superfluous. Other than that, progress is coming slowly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More About Those Previous 500 Words

The funny thing about the story that I previewed the other day, is that it's being written with a specific anthology in mind. Pill Hill is accepting submissions for it's Four Horsemen anthology. I had a rather dark idea for a story based on the concept of "conquest", and so that is what is being written.

Basically it's Nietzsche vs Poe.

I'll leave it to the reader to figure out how the theme of conquest is addressed, at least up until the last couple of lines of the story. Then I'll probably go ahead and quote the prevailing author to make it clearer. Of course, I'm writing this at two in the morning . . . and the prose that I'm currently thinking is so well thought out and deep may look like puerile gibberish in the light of day. Ah well, I still like the concepts. I think it'll work.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Surveying Options

Sometimes you write what you've got, and sometimes you try to shoot for a particular type of story. And sometimes you end up with something that wasn't what you intended to end up with.

Anyways . . . I'm currently looking at several anthologies to write for. LL Dreamspell has a "revenge" anthology open that I will be keeping in mind. Pill Hill Press has a Four Horsemen anthology and a horror story at sea anthology open that I'm looking at also. Another publisher is accepting stories with a "zombies in space" theme. . . and the wild part is that I actually have a story idea about that too. Of course, I have learned the hard way that an idea doesn't always turn into a story. Sometimes they seem like they would, until you actually start writing them and then discover the shortcomings of the idea itself. That's okay though, because sometimes when you shelve an idea you come up with a complementing idea later that you can combine with the original to actually come up with a story. I have lots of fragments written, which pretty much amount to ideas that simply couldn't carry a story on their own yet.

All of which has nothing whatsoever to do with the damaged pier that I have pictured above, accept it is sort of something being used for a purpose that it was never originally intended for. At least by the birds.

Monday, August 10, 2009

About the First 500 words

What you see below is the typical first raw draft. Sentences have no flow, pacing is bad, there is no "cadence", and it just comes off as awkward and "over wordy". Often times my first drafts also have problems with passive voice, repeating words, misspellings, and omitted words. Which is why I am a big believer in the editing process and the "joy of revision".

After finishing the first draft of a story, it can be a while before I have a work in what I deem submittable shape. For instance, I finished the first draft of "Rite of Passage" at the beginning of May. I have just finally, on it's latest revision, gotten it to a level I feel semi-comfortable submitting to a publisher. I will probably give it one more good going over anyways.

The irony is that when I first started writing I thought of revision as a form of purgatory to be avoided at all costs. Now I'm an ardent disciple of it. I think having a writer for a friend, and a publisher who took the time to show me how I could do better, is what made a believer out of me. That and seeing for myself how something raw can be polished into being something so much better.

Ah well, back to work. First you have to finish a story before the polishing can begin.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Digesting Input

Well, I think the time in the Galveston museums were well spent, I just have to wait and see if I can turn what I've learned into a story or two. There was a lot to take in, I think the most interesting being the film on the Great Flood of 1900. The stories from that event are so fantastic and horrific, it's hard to come up with something fictional that stands up to the truth, or would do that setting justice.

I've been doing a lot of research lately, mainly regarding the history of the mid and lower Brazos river and trying to find out about steam travel. The trip to Galveston helped round out some of the stuff I have learned, and I have a book coming in from the Texas A&M Press about steamboats that operated on the Brazos river itself during their heyday. It's all very interesting. I just don't know if I'm going to be able to turn all this research into a story or not. So far, the couple of ideas that have been spawned, have had to be discarded due to severe historical inaccuracies. For instance, I had an idea regarding an old steamboat smuggling goods into Texas on the night of the Great Flood, but there really wasn't anything contraband in 1900 so I can't figure out what they would be smuggling. Ah well, that's life.

Anyways, Now that I'm back I'll need to help Karla finish with the house so I can go back to writing on Monday . . .or maybe Sunday night. I'm actually kind of dry in the story department at the moment, but we'll see what comes out.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

All Good Things . . .

. . . must reach their end, and our family vacation to Galveston is now one for the history books. The kids had a great time, and the parents survived the adventure in reasonably good shape. Thanks go out to Randy and Steph for helping us keep up with the kids on the Strand.

My hopes of visiting museums was realized with limited success. I got to go to the maritime museum, and also see the tall ship Elissa. Sadly, the train museum was still closed due to damage from Hurricane Ike so I'll have to hope they have that one open again next year. Sheridan was pretty disappointed over that too.

There was still surprising amounts of damage from Hurricane Ike, even a year later. For instance, the tropical rainforest pyramid in Moody Garden no longer has birds and all their big fish that were in the central pool have been shipped elsewhere. On the way in to town we passed what looked like a junkyard full of wrecked boats. The train museum is closed. Several stores along the Strand were either closed or under repair. And then there are the missing or damaged piers. Galveston still has a ways to go before they have put Ike behind them.

But it's good to be back. . . even if it is too a messy house that I will spend most of tomorrow trying to straighten up.