Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Making Lists -- Checking Them Twice


The 9-1-1- operator asked if the intruders were still in the house.
She asked if anyone was injured.
She asked what was stolen.
She said they would send someone as soon as possible.

I sat down in the living room to wait and called Big Guy at work. He said he’d come home immediately. While I waited, I grabbed paper and pen to write down:

What was missing:
Big Guy’s State Quarter Collection - worth $56.25
Costume jewelry – 1 necklace, 1 pr earrings, 1 bracelet - worth about $20.00
Some change from a dish on the kitchen counter – probably $5.00 worth

What wasn’t missing:
All TVs/VCRs
Both computers & printers
Checks & checkbook
Prescription medication
Computer games, DVDs, videos, etc.

Back door smashed in
Stuff scattered around rooms (but not much was broken)
Cracked mug

I knew we might find something else missing in the future when we went to look for it, but for now that was all I could account for. They might have taken personal information to use for identity theft, but I didn’t know what. All in all it wasn’t much like the crimes I’d seen on TV. I don’t know which was more depressing – that we had been robbed or that we didn’t have anything worth stealing!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Short Intermission


I spent the weekend at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Western Washington Chapter Spring Conference in Bellevue, Washington. Although I had a wonderful time and met some terrific people, I am exhausted. Therefore, I'm a little behind on my blogging. Freckles spent the weekend being spoiled by Nice Guy, so she's been too busy to think about blogging. We'll be back with our story in a day or two.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Mystery Solved!

The High-Voiced One moved quickly to a portal on the other side of the Slippery Ground Land. When it opened the portal and peered at the new land beyond, it let out a strange noise -- not quite a scream and not a sound I'd ever heard it make before. I peeked into the new land and saw a huge portal lying across the entrance. The horizontal portal was about a bazillion feet long and blocked any entry to the land (unless you wanted to climb over the top of it, which is what the invaders must have done.) This explained that huge bang I'd heard when I was hiding in the Other World during the invaders' escape. The invaders must have blown up this portal. How rude!
Suddenly, everything that had happened this day became overwhelming to me. I just couldn't look at the senseless destruction any longer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Remains of the Door


I almost dropped the Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean Ice Cream when I saw the dreadful damage before me in the utility room. Suddenly I knew how the burglars had gotten into the house. The remains of our back door, including the door frame, stretched across the utility room, splintered wood poking out in all directions. Obviously, the invaders had smashed in the back door. It now blocked my way to the freezer. There was no way I could hold up the heavy door and frame while opening the freezer door. I backed up and tossed the ice cream into the kitchen sink.

I'd put it off long enough -- it was time to call the police.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Following Behind


The High-Voiced One seemed to suddenly think of something important. It stiffened and then charged through the Slippery Ground Land to the Other World. Much to my chagrin, it dropped me to the floor and grabbed the containers it had set in the bush when it arrived.

My ride through the land was over. Without even a glance at me, it turned and walked back the way it had come. Well, it wasn’t going to get rid of me so easily. I followed along behind to see what it was up to.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Melting Ice Cream and Surprise


As Freckles and I headed back into the kitchen, I suddenly remembered my groceries! I’d left them on the chair by the front door. My ice cream was probably melting all over the living room! I didn’t need a sticky, oozing ice cream mess on top of everything else, so I rushed to the living room and gently placed Freckles on the floor. Scooping up the grocery sacks, I headed back to the kitchen.

I soon discovered my ice cream only slightly soft. If I got it into the freezer now, it might still be okay. I opened the utility room door where our upright freezer is housed. The sight before me froze me in place.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Ball is Safe!


We searched the Slippery Ground Land. It was hard to tell from my vantage point in the High-Voiced One’s paw whether anything was different. I had only seen this area from the ground. At this higher viewpoint, everything looked different. I suddenly realized that I enjoyed seeing things from this height. I felt fairly certain that the High-Voiced One had a good grip on me and wouldn’t drop me.

The next stop on our expedition was the Sky Place. The High-Voiced One looked confused rather than sad as we wandered around the room. I noticed my twine ball lying on the ground under the tree. Thank goodness the Invaders did not take my ball! I rememberd back to the time Nice Guy brought me the ball. Ahhhhh, memories!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Strange Burglars


Freckles and I reached the family room after a quick glance at the kitchen. I hadn't seen much out of place in the kitchen. Maybe the burglars hadn’t had time to go through that room or had been scared away by something. Once in the family room, I again observed assorted items lying on the floor. This room wasn’t as big a mess, because none of the furniture here had drawers that could be dumped onto the floor. The computer sat untouched as did our new television that we had purchased two months before. How strange, I thought. Why wouldn’t they take a brand-new television?

I checked the patio door, but it was locked up tight. How did they get into the house? The front door had been closed and locked when I arrived. The patio door was secure. I hadn’t seen any open or broken windows. The back door – that must be it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tag, We’re It

We'll get back to our story tomorrow. We have important business to take care of today!

We were tagged by Lola for a book meme.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to Lola once you have posted it.

The book Deb's been reading is called Rules by Cynthia Lord. It’s a wonderful children’s Newbery Honor Book about a young girl dealing with life and with her younger brother who is autistic. She meets another young man Jason, who is confined to a wheel chair and who talks by pointing to words in his communication book. Here are the 6th, 7th, & 8th sentences from page 123:

When I straighten up, I see not only is everyone in the waiting room standing at the clinic windows watching us, but a family on the sidewalk is staring, shopping bags in hand. And in several of the restaurant windows surrounding the parking lot, people have stopped eating to watch. Most of them have their mouths dropped open.”

You'll have to read the book to find out what everyone is staring at with such amazement!

Now, I have to find 5 buddies to tag who haven’t already been hit! I tag the following people:

Rachel @ Rachel Writes for Kids

Fluffy @ Bunny Bliss

Bunny, Winnie, Belle, & Pearl @ NC Bunny

Fez @ Some Bunny

Ryan (Illustrator Extraordinaire!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reasons Why


The High-Voiced One held me with one paw as it searched the unexplored world. Now, normally, I don’t like to be restrained in such an undignified way, especially by the High-Voiced One. However, there were three reasons why I didn’t try to wiggle free:

  1. I had already seen one new world from a great vantage point, and thought I might have the opportunity to see more.

  2. The Invaders might not have really left our land. They might be hiding, and the High-Voiced One could help me fight them off.

  3. The High-Voiced One seemed to need a friend, and I didn’t have the heart to leave it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What's Missing???


I searched the room for anything else that might be out of place (hard to tell since the contents of the room were spread around the floor.) I realized that it's difficult to recall what you had when it might be missing!

I picked Freckles up and carried her through the house to see what other items might be missing. Some of my costume jewelry was gone from my office. Aha! The burglars weren’t very good judges of quality. The older computer that I use for a lot of my writing was still there. (I write on a computer not hooked up to the Internet, so I’m not tempted to check e-mail or Websites or other blogs!) Again, the television and VCR/DVD recorder were both sitting on their stand undisturbed.

When we reached the living room, I was about to put Freckles on the ground when I suddenly remembered our newer computer and the new television. I stood, clutching her firmly, and rushed to the family room.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Investigation


The High-Voiced One appeared puzzled by the empty drinking container it had picked up from the ground. It stared at the inside of the container for a long time with a sad look on its face. I began to feel sad, too, and I wondered what could have possibly been inside it that would cause such a reaction.

Eventually, the High-Voiced One set the container down and searched the room again. It must not have found what it was looking for, because it picked me up and left the room abruptly.

We searched my Home Place and the Home Place next to mine which I have not yet explored. I was fascinated by the visit to that world, but could still see the sadness on the High-voiced One’s face. Oh, fie on those Invaders! Why did they have to force their way into our lives and make my friend sad?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

State Quarters


A few years back the United States began changing how its currency looked. One of the big changes was with our quarters (worth 25 cents). The government decided there would be fifty different quarters. Each of the backs would carry symbols of each of the fifty states. It was determined that the coins would be issued in the order the states entered the Union. Every year they add a couple of new state quarters to our money circulation.

I give you this history lesson because Big Guy found the idea of collecting these coins fascinating. Each night he would check his pockets to see what new quarters he could put into his collection, which he kept in a mug on the dresser. He decided he would collect three coins of each state. In the future, when his collections were complete, he would present one collection to each of our three sons.

Eventually, the coins became too numerous to fit in the mug, and he had added a zippered plastic bag beside it to collect extra coins. The coins weren’t valuable in terms of money. They weren’t worth any more than the original 25 cents each. However, the coins represented a large amount of time, effort, and love that Big Guy had spent pouring over change and checking his list to see if he had enough of a particular state.

I had just found the cracked mug lying empty on the floor where the burglars had carelessly tossed it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Search Continues


After looking around for a bit, the High-Voiced One set me down on the large hedge and patted my nose. It reached into one of the bushes and grabbed a small container with papers inside. It set the container down after examining its contents.

I watched it glance around the room and suddenly stop. It made a sound as it leaned over to pick something up from the ground. I strained forward to see what the object was. It appeared to be one of those containers that the High-Voiced One and Big Guy drink from. Now, why would it care about that? The drinking container was obviously empty.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Checking for Loss


I headed for the bedroom with Freckles resting tightly in my arms. The drawers of the dresser, chest of drawers, and night stands all stood wide open. The contents of one of the drawers had been dumped on the floor. It was going to be difficult to recall what might have been taken. I guessed that they were probably looking for money and drugs. We had neither in our house. What might they have taken instead? I glanced quickly around. The television was sitting on top of the chest and the digital camera was resting on top of the dresser, untouched. Hmmm.

I remembered the extra checks we kept in the drawer. I set Freckles on the bed with a rub to her nose and I searched for them. I found the box; it looked undisturbed. I remembered hearing that you should check all of the numbers to see if one of the later checks had been ripped out. You wouldn’t realize that one was missing until months later. Flipping through the checks, however, revealed that all of them were there.

Suddenly, I spied something on the floor that made me stop in my tracks. “Oh, oh, Freckles,” I said. “I know something that the robbers took."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Searching the Home World


The High-Voiced One and I headed down the tunnel. I was pretty sure that the Invaders had left, but the One seemed to want to seek them out – perhaps for revenge. When we entered its Home World I saw the same mess on the floor that was in the Other World. The Invaders had shaken the bushes and dumped assorted objects all over the ground.

From my perch in its arms, I watched the High-Voiced One peer inside the bushes. It seemed to be searching for something.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Expert Advice -- Get Out of the House!


As Freckles clutched me, I wandered through the house looking over the damage.

Now, let me add here that I have read the magazine articles and seen the daytime talk shows on safety where they warn you about just such moments. If you walk into your home and suspect that someone might have broken in, the first thing you should do is GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! After all, the burglars might still be around. They could be hiding in a closet, ready to jump out and grab you. Or they might not have heard you enter and might hurt you when you surprise them.

Yes, all the safety experts say to get out, run to a neighbor's house, and call the police.

However, when my moment arrived, is this what I did? No, it is not. I don't think my mind fully comprehended what had happened and was searching for some other explanation.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Surveying the Destruction


When I took my daring leap over the rubble, I landed at the High-Voiced One’s feet. It stared down at me, eyes wide open in surprise. It dropped the objects in its arms onto the big bush and reached down to me. I allowed it to pick me up and I held it tightly, trying to calm it down. I knew it would be a great shock to discover such disarray in its home. I had been here during the whole ordeal, and I still couldn’t quite believe that the Invaders had been so bold as to attack our homeland.

The High-Voiced One held me for quite awhile as it wandered through the lands, surveying the damage. From my higher viewpoint in its arms, the destruction looked much worse than I had expected. Items were strewn all over the ground. I wondered what the Invaders had been looking for and what they might have taken.

Saturday, April 5, 2008



Suddenly, through the debris of my living room, hopped a small white and black figure. She bravely skirted the objects that littered the floor and came straight for me, landing at my feet with a long jump. She looked up at me with her huge pleading eyes. I dropped my grocery sacks on the chair beside me and reached down. I lifted Freckles, holding her tightly to my chest. Her little heart beat rapidly as she clutched my blouse.

Friday, April 4, 2008



I jumped to my feet and hopped as fast as I could through the rubble littering the ground. I had to dodge a few magazines and hop really high over a lamp, but I managed to leap and land directly in front of the High-Voiced One. I rose up and stared directly into its eyes. It probably shocked me as much as it shocked the High-Voiced One, but I was actually happy to see it!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What about Freckles?


The room was a wreck! At first by brain didn’t register exactly what had happened. I saw magazines, and pictures, and plants strewn across the floor. My first thought was how in the world did Freckles make such a mess? It didn’t take me long to realize that she couldn’t have made this mess, Someone had been in my house! Someone had been going through my stuff.

Then, I panicked -- what about Freckles? Where was she? Was she all right?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Freckles Reveals Herself


I stayed under the bush where I'd taken refuge as long as I could. Suddenly, I heard the High-Voiced One call out as it always did when it returned home through that portal. Was it a trick? Could the Invaders imitate the High-Voiced One? Were they trying to lure me out from my hiding place? I didn’t care anymore. Something inside forced me to jump to my feet.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Freckles, I'm Home


Balancing my grocery sacks on my hip, I unlocked the door and entered the living room. “Freckles,” I called, “I’m home.”

For some reason I always expected Freckles to come running to the door to greet me. Our dogs had always done that, and I missed that expression of love (and hunger) that had always filled my heart with warmth. Freckles had never once run to greet me when I came home in the evening, so I certainly didn’t expect her to now.

The vision that greeted me upon walking into the room was a huge surprise.