Maybe a blog post will help me collect my thoughts. They’re a bit scattered at the moment. They come under three main headings:


I don’t usually think much about physics, though I am grateful to it for providing my family’s income, but today there’s a big announcement from an NSF-funded collaboration called LIGO telling everyone that gravitational waves have been detected for the first time. I know a tiny bit about this because this is exactly my husband’s field, though he (sadly) didn’t work on this stuff himself. But we know lots of people who did, and it’s fun watching them have their long-awaited moment just now.


At the start of 2015 I said that taking the kids skiing was something on my wishlist for the year, along with fixing our shower and going to New York. Well, miracles do happen and we fixed our shower up beautifully last August, and we went to NYC twice, and now, finally, we are about to go skiing. A few weeks ago I got all proactive and booked two nights at Liberty Mountain in Pennsylvania, about two hours’ drive from here, as well as a private ski lesson for the kids with us in attendance, so we can start them off right. (B and I have both skied a little, though not for years.) I was delighted with myself for using a Friday off school to get the nights I wanted, and crossed my fingers that the weather would cooperate.

Well, there’s no snowstorm forecast for this weekend, so in that sense I suppose the weather didn’t entirely shaft us. But in other ways my timing was serendipitously awful. Both school districts (now that we’re in two) decided to have school this Friday after all, to start making up for the week that was missed due to snow, so now I have to take the kids out of school for it. (We won’t be the only ones absent, I’m sure.) Valentine’s parties that were meant to happen today will happen tomorrow instead, and they’ll miss them. Dash will miss his vision therapy session today, because we weren’t doing VT when I booked this. And Mabel was very annoyed about missing her ceramics class on Saturday morning, because she loves ceramics and she is suspicious of skiing, which she’s never tried.

Finally, the weather forecast is not for snow but for extremely cold temperatures on Saturday. I decided nobody would want to slide down a mountain on two planks in a possible high of about 14F (before windchill) – that’s minus 10 C at the warmest – so I cancelled the second night at the hotel and the second day of skiing. It will be cold tomorrow too, but hopefully not so cold that we don’t get in some more time on the slopes after the one-hour lesson is over.

And of course, B has to rush away from work early, today of all days, when they’re all congratulating themselves on what great sciencers they are and having cake and partying it up in their novelty physics ties and their socks and sandals.*

Silver lining: Mabel gets to go to ceramics after all. Here’s hoping it makes up for the dental appointment we have scheduled for Monday, when she gets yet another crown. Worst teeth ever.


The final thing that’s got me not settling down to anything today is that I heard back from the agent I’d sent the new-and-improved version of my book to back in October. It had taken so long that I knew nothing wonderful was going to happen, so I wasn’t surprised when she said no, but it was a very nice no. Basically she said she likes it a lot but she can’t take it on right now because she’s too busy, and she gave me some suggestions of people I should send it to. She said nice things like “charming” and “delightful” and “I hope to see it in print some day soon.”

So do I, y’know.

So now I have to gird my loins and write a better 500-word synopsis and send it out again into the world, and a colder and less cosily familiar world at that. The realm of Irish publishing is very small – and it’s a very Irish book, so I think it has to start there – which means there aren’t that many options for places it can go, and I’ve exhausted all the personal contacts I have. I’m trying some UK agents too, but without luck so far.

So that’s where I am. Photos of smiling children on skis to come, I hope. Or news that we broke our legs.


* They don’t really wear socks with sandals. Hardly any of them do. I just like to tease him about it.

4 thoughts on “Collectable

  1. Fionnuala

    Yay for physicists. Fingers crossed the kids will love skiing and come home with no injuries. Continued good luck on the book front. Well done on getting as far as you have C!

  2. Office Mum

    That sounds like a really positive message from the agent – everyone tells me they only take the time to say something constructive if they like what they’re seeing. If you need any more Beta readers, I’d love to have my 8.5 year old read it (she’s currently reading Jacqueline Wilson books for teens, at least until I catch her each time and rein her back in…)
    Hope the skiing is going fantastically, and my only two questions are – is there an easy explainer for the science-y thing (I tried and failed to read about it last night) and what are Valentine’s parties?!

    1. Maud

      I decided that the actual target readers are easy to please: it’s the agents and publishers I need to impress. So there’s not much point getting beta-readers, though thanks for the offer and I may come back to you (her) in the future. It sounds like she’s a great reader.
      A friend explained the physics thing very well in a blog post here, I think:
      or in comic strip form:
      I blogged about V-day here: but I didn’t really mention the parties. Once they’ve made their little cards or whatever for each classmate (nobody may be left out), they bring them all in and there’s often a party at school after/when they give them out. Just another opportunity to stuff the kids full of sugar. It’s also known as Pink Halloween for this reason.


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