Just got back from a short vacation. I got to see my niece and nephew, 2 and 6 respectively. I gotta say there is nothing better to cheer a person up, and to get rid of writers apathy than watching and playing with two well behaved children who are just having fun. Got to my brothers house about 15 minutes before they had to go to bed. So gave my nephew a huge bear hug, and then my niece walked out of the bathroom after having a bath wrapped up in a towel. She looked at my parents half remembering them, but not too sure who they were. Then she saw me, and her eyes lit right up. I'd lived with them last summer while working with my brother, so I was one of the first people, besides her parents that she remembered. So, without thinking I got down to give her a hug, thinking she'd keep the towel on. She didn't. She squealed in delight, tossed her arms out wide, the towel went flying, and she waited for her hug. I know she's only two, but I'm not exactly comfortable about being flashed by my niece. So I awkwardly put the towel back around her, and gave a big hug. My nephew likes playing Go Fish on the computer, so I had bought a pack of cards to play it with him. The second day there we were playing before supper, and his sister wanted in. So I gave her a joker to play with and she was quite happy wandering around with it. But then we were about to have supper and I put the cards away while arguing (playfully) with my nephew. My niece was sitting at her little table, wanted me to put her card away as well. But I couldn't really understand her, and was busy with my nephew. So there she was shouting "Uncie Dan", louder and louder, getting very upset with me. My Mom finally told me what was going on. The moment I walked over she quieted down, and politely handed me the card, and looked very pleased when I thanked her for it. And just to let you know, my nephew beat the pants off of me at Go Fish. Oh yes, speaking of games, if anyone ever buys the board game Mousetrap, read the instructions before setting it up. It has more rules then Monopoly. Also don't set up the trap before the game starts. We spent as much time getting the trap set up as we did playing it. And only after we were done did we discover we were suppose to set it all up as the game was in progress. But my nephew liked it. And my niece wanted to help, so she sat on my lap, and passed the dice for me. I also discovered I'm a bad influence on children. I want to play with them all the time, and tell them silly jokes and answers (all clean) when they should be serious. Like when my nephew was asked what he would like on his salad, telling him to say "blueberries", and playing peek a boo at supper. Apparently I'm supposed to be a grown up around them. But as their only uncle, and not being able to see them often (it will be at least a year before I see them again, probably longer) I feel its my responsibility to be as goofy and fun loving as possible. More importantly I don't have to deal with the consequences. Now for the best part of the trip. My parents and I had my nephew for most of the second day. As we were doing the 25 minute drive into town, I had my nephew to entertain in the back seat of a large van. So I told him a story about riding a giant bubble, made out of chewing gum to Paris. He loved the story, and my Dad was listening as he drove. Now my Dad is willing to give out compliments when he sees something that impresses him, but when it comes to my writing he's as critical as any editor. But after hearing the story, he said I should try to publish it. More surprisingly, he was telling various other family members we met that day, that I was becoming quite the storyteller. (This has never happened before) I also impressed my nephew, by telling him to give me a word, and I'd come up with a story (usually a decent one) based around it within 2 minutes. So anyways, sometime within the next month, I'm going to be sending out a manuscript to a children's publishing company. And on the way home, (a long 8 hour drive) I was coming up with all kinds of kids stories, and even a novel for young adults. So I love kids. They're great for everything.