Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Birthday to K

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Today is my oldest friend's birthday. Not oldest as in age, oldest as in most experienced. We met on a frigid Saturday morning, the very first ever Orlando Scottish Highland Games. She was dancing, my mom had conned me into running scores from the judges to the scorers. Our moms hooked up. I got hooked on dancing. I met Kathryn, and the rest is history.

In the (good Lord, has it been that long?) THIRTY YEARS since I've known her, we have gone through a hell of a lot. Scottish dancing--that's enough in itself, given that it involves kilts, costumes, special shoes, shin splints, and bagpipe music. Trauma. Broken bones. Scoliosis. Hawaii. Moves. Career changes. Husbands (plural). Children (also plural). Dogs. Kittens (Kathryn's the only woman alive who could convince me to take home A cat, let alone two--which she did). Home sales. Home building (she's the crazy one, I'll have you know). Turning forty.

She never lets me forget I'm older--twenty-four whole days. She does fun things like plant a flock of pink plastic flamingos all over my suburban lawn to celebrate a milestone birthday. I do fun things back, like leave a totem on her front door, topped with yellow yarn hair, to remind her that she's the primary victim of The Blonde Witch Project. Then we go and get spooky and have baby boys within sixteen days of each other. We always did want our kids to grow up together.

Today's her birthday. Twenty-nine. Again. (Kathryn does anniversaries, not birthdays). Know what my present is? Her.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Full House!

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Wish I were talking about poker, but I'm not. I have six kids running amok (is there any other way to run, when you're talking about kids?) through my house. Four girls, two boys. Believe it or not, it's the girls performing the shock and awe acts of destruction. The boys are playing video games and building stuff with K'Nex. I'll have millions of tiny pieces all over creation, but at least the millions of pieces are all from the same kind of thing.

The girls, however, have embarked on a full wardrobe consultation, both for themselves and for Barbie and all of her evil little friends. It's a clothing explosion back there. I'm afraid to mine for what's underneath. I suspect petrifying snacks, or something equally icky.

Curtains today for the living room, plus resetting of tchotchkes and books, and my living room is finished. Ta da! On to more floors. Two rooms to go, and we can stop construction. For now. Is home improvement ever complete?

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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A couple of off-the-beaten-path choices for you women with brains:

BED LIST: HUGH LAURIE



I'm so predictable. Coming in second to Southern gentlemen for overall deliciousness are gentlemen from the British Isles. Find me a Brit (Scot, Irishman, Welshman) with a brain and a killer sense of humor, and you'll usually find me willing to hop into bed. Case in point, Hugh Laurie, or as most Americans are finally discovering him, "Dr. House." This character is mostly despicable, with a horrible attitude and even worse bedside manner, and yet most women I know (including the Dr.'s lost love, played by the luminous Sela Ward) want to jump him. Or reform him. Or try to do both. Hell, anyone who can pull off both Sense and Sensibility (as the wonderfully droll Mr. Palmer) and Blackadder is worth a spin--he'll probably make you laugh, and even if you don't, you'll be swooning over that accent anyway.

DINNER LIST: VING RHAMES



Ving Rhames is the master at implausible one-liners that make me howl. Some examples: "George Bush." (Striptease) "The stupidhead." (Lilo and Stitch) "I'm gonna miss being disreputable." (Mission: Impossible) "Sweaters make my neck look too thick." (Dave) He has an incredible range--everything from Disney to Pulp Fiction--and a great laugh. Yep, I'd have dinner with him. Hell, I'd cook for him. Anything he wants.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Brain Dead

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I think I've just about decided I hate accountants.

Not accountants, actually. I know some accountants who are lovely people. I think what I hate, though, is the box-checking mentality that accountants have. You know, the one that's much more interested in checking off the boxes (and creating new boxes to check) than in anything else.

Case in point--I get taken to task by a couple of guys at church who can't open my files. I'm saving files in two formats on my Mac and forwarding the ones they need to them. I made a mistake and sent the wrong file format of one last night after 11 pm (this is after a day of looking after half the kids in the neighborhood, mind you). So does my box-checker friend email to ask for the correct format? Nope. He waits until the meeting tonight and ambushes me about it. I'm ready to throw something.

Of course, that's coming after the fact that I've managed to leave an envelope of material somewhere in the church and saved last month's minutes on top of this month's. I'd quit, but I don't think I can do that right now. I just know I'm sick and tired of being box-checked to death.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

HGTV and Me

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I love HGTV, I really do, but I realized something tonight while watching Design Remix. Nearly every show they do features modern design, unless you're talking This Old House. Now I love the clean, modern look as much as the next person (basically because it represents everything that isn't in my own house), but what I want to know is where are all the cool shows telling you how to decorate your traditional interior without spending huge dollars?

Here's what I mean. I inherited some very nice furniture from both sets of grandparents (may they rest in peace). Very nice traditional furniture. As in mahogany dining room, carved Victorian walnut writing desk traditional furniture. These pieces do not blend well with Marimekko color schemes and Michael Graves teakettles. They want Williamsburg brass chandeliers and Karastan rugs. I managed the chandelier thanks to my eagle-eyed mom in an antiques warehouse, but let's face it--on two teacher salaries, I'll have to hit the lottery or inherit something to nab a Karastan. Two Karastans, actually, since both my living and dining rooms will need one once we finish installing the parquet.

Parquet floors--that's another thing that doesn't fly well in laminate-obsessed HGTV-land, but they're perfect for my camelback sofa and wing chairs. See what I mean? Where's the Design Remix for my house?

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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Work is progressing sloooowly on the new book, but these two guys might provide some inspiration:

BED LIST: LUKE WILSON



I'm solidly in the tall, dark, and handsome camp. If they're tall, dark, handsome, and have great smiles and brains, I'm a goner. Luke Wilson hits the mark on all counts. Athletic? Check (track and football). Tall? Check. Dark and handsome? See above. Quirky smile, interesting taste (what other actor do you know, besides brother Owen, the "Butterscotch Stallion," who can go from The Royal Tenenbaums to Old School and be believable in both?). As a bonus, he's a Southern boy--Texas born and bred. Yep, I'm a goner.

DINNER LIST: SPARKY ANDERSON



Forgive the ancient photo, but this is how I picture Sparky Anderson: in a Reds uniform. The skipper who guided my beloved Reds to back-to-back series wins is one of the best in baseball ever. My latest book has a baseball theme, so remembering the Reds' glory days (the Series in '90 was sweet--er--a sweep) is easy to do. If I got lucky enough to choose a Hall of Famer as a dinner guest, I'd have to go with Sparky. Wonder if it's just coincidence that I use that nickname for DH?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Out the Door--Soonish

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Dream Agent's off to the Florida Writers Conference in Tampa this weekend. We Sunshine State denizens are topping off gas tanks, shopping for non-perishable food, and logging onto NOAA four times a day to check the progress of Hurricane Wilma. She shouldn't get this far north, but we're going to be wet for the next several days.

In the meantime, DA has been waiting for a couple of submissions to clear selected editors' desks, then Crash Test is hitting the courier. I think as long as we were waiting in the pipeline, I was fine. Now that I know it's actually going out, I'm getting nervous. Kind of like waiting for the phone to ring a couple of weeks before prom. Will it ring? Will the right voice be on the other end? And what the hell am I going to wear?

I don't wait well. Guess it's back to working on the website.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Authorial Envy

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Today my RWA chapter, Central Florida Romance Writers, held a big booksigning. Very cool stuff--authors I know and love--but I'm still on the wrong side of the table. I'm on the signee side, not the signer side. Don't get me wrong; I love my author friends, and I'm always happy when one of them does something cool, like sign a great contract, get fabulous sales numbers, or lands a terrific agent or editor, but I want cool stuff for me, too.

I am aware that I sound whiny. I am whiny. I'm whiny and petulant and have a lower lip stuck out so far I could surf to the Outer Banks on it. Thankfully, these whiny moments don't last too long. I hope.

Okay, pity party over. Back to the salt mines. I have a website to design and a book to write, not necessarily in that order. My good friend Nancy says I need to enter the Golden Heart again. Hmm. Not sure about that one, but...

Must call Dream Agent and see how things are going on the submission front.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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I am so lame. I have finally dragged my happy butt to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Loved it, of course. Loved these two, too:

BED LIST: JOHNNY DEPP



They should just hand this man Oscars and get it over with. He's amazing. Love the riff on Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean. Love the oddballs he plays--Edward, with his scissor hands; Willy Wonka, with all his twisted-candy brillance; Benny, who imitates Buster Keaton's dinner-roll dance and makes a disabled girl fall in love. Love most the soulful wanderer falling for Juliette Binoche and her Chocolat, the playwright finding magic in Neverland. Clap if you believe in fairies!

DINNER LIST: TIM BURTON



Genius comes in all styles, and when you look at Tim Burton, you know that's the truth. Who else can combine whimsy and the downright bizarre and somehow deliver the poignant ending the way Tim Burton can? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends with a dusting of confectioner's sugar snow the same way Edward Scissorhands ends with a dusting of cut paper snow, both courtesy of Johnny Depp. Big Fish had me bawling and believing in magic. He's an odd one, that Tim Burton, but any man who makes magic gets a Golden Ticket to dinner.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Download Queen

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I am having so much fun with my new iPod. When DH got one for his birthday, I thought, "That's cute. I don't think I need one of those."

Oh, so wrong. Once I realized that he would stock his iPod with all that weird atonal music he loves, like the Lounge Lizards, Nick Cave, and Bruce Cockburn, I also realized that I'd have to get my own. Now I have become the Queen of Downloads.

Oh, the joy to have a playlist full of nothing but Jimmy Buffett. Or stuff to play in the car that's loud. Foo Fighters loud. U2 loud. Lenny Kravitz and Garbage and Liz Phair loud. And india.arie when I'm in one of those "I'm every woman" moods, and Jamie Cullum and Michael Bublé for jazz from cute young guys. I'm going to run out of room if I'm not careful...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

My Phair Lady

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DH kept the big birthday surprise a secret. Last night, the kids spent the night at Gran's, and we headed down to the House of Blues to see Liz Phair in concert.



Liz rocks! My birthday copies of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street and Liz's answer, Exile in Guyville, were two of the first downloaded into my new iPod. Off to play with my new toys!

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: TYSON BECKFORD



Sometimes, words just aren't adequate.

DINNER LIST: CARL HIAASEN



Any author who'll take on tourists (Tourist Season), developers (Hoot, for younger readers), sugar growers (Strip Tease), pro bass fishermen (Double Whammy), weathercasters (Stormy Weather), Mickey Mouse (Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World), and the Florida Lottery (Lucky You) is aces in my book. When the author does it with the same humor and complete lack of respect for the "establishment" that Carol Hiaasen does, well, that's someone I'd be more than happy to blow cash on for dinner.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

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Today will be a very good day. I woke to about seven birthday messages from dear friends on email (some serious cards, some snarky comments, pretty much par for my group) and a DVD copy of Raising Arizona from DH. This man totally understands me.

I find, from IMDb, that I share a birthday with Elisabeth Shue, Jeremy Sisto, and that yummy Welshman I've already drooled over, Ioan Gruffud. Other October 6 babies are George Westinghouse (yeah, that Westinghouse), le Corbusier the architect (kinda cool, since I once thought I wanted to be an architect), Thor Heyerdahl (Mr. Kon Tiki himself), and the incomparable Carole Lombard.

Should be a good day--let's hope my new iPod arrives!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Worn Out

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I'm whipped.

Part of it has to do with school--I feel like a hamster on a wheel lately, working and working and working and not seeming to get much of anywhere. My writing life is resting quietly by the wall, slowly being overtaken by mental kudzu. There's a novel in there, but if I don't get out the machete soon, it'll get eaten alive. On top of that, crazy people are calling my house late at night (long story involving someone I love dearly and someone she divorced, who's nuts and a drunk), so no sleep for me. No good sleep, anyway.

Two killer headaches in a row, last night and this morning, and a stack of crap to grade I don't feel like looking at, and a living room that's still full of useless toys from my son's room and no molding, and I'm done. Toast. Over. Ready for a vacation. Or a massage. Or something.

On the plus side, I bought myself an iPod off eBay last night--early birthday present for me! It's Blossom-the-Powerpuff-Girl pink. Girly, I know. Don't care. Besides, I'm in such a foul mood right now, I'd probably go Powerpuff Girl on someone's ass for saying something snippy about it.

Comfort food. Now. Must. East. Pasta.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Today Would Have Been...

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...my grandfather's 97th birthday. He was a small town doctor in South Carolina, the kind of man you could call on the phone for a diagnosis. One time he told me he hoped I would write a great story. He said, "like Gone With the Wind, something people would enjoy."

This is for sure: she won't be in hoop skirts and it won't be set in the Civil War and Lord knows it won't be hearkening back to the dear old, misguided "Southland," but maybe it'll be a good story anyway.

I'm working on it, Granddaddy. I'm working on it.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Why I Love Birthday Week

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It won't be my birthday until Thursday, but I'm within striking distance, so I figure the celebrations can begin early. Last night, DH and I kick off the fun with a couple of good friends at the best Italian restaurant in Central Florida, Enzo's on the Lake. Steve, the Italian, had never been there. I think he's a convert. I had the Bucatini alla Enzo while the rest of the table dined on rack of lamb, spicy risotto with scallops, and a faboo mixed grill on lemon risotto. Then we had dessert, an orgasmic experience that totally lived up to the yelp of pleasure I uttered (and Melanie teased me about) over her chocolate soufflé. Creme brulée for me. Love love love the satisfying crack of caramelized sugar. Whoof.

Today, I bought my new face. I usually spring for new makeup for my birthday, and usually I buy everything from the same line. This time, I spread the wealth. Foundation and concealer from one line, mascara and lipstick from another, blush from a third, shadow from another. Hey, sometimes you gotta break out of the matching-packaging straitjacket, right? We'll see how I turn out tomorrow.

My birthday's on a school day, which is always fun for a round of "Guess how old I am" with my students. They still guess young, which is a good thing. Amazing how seniors can turn your hair grey and keep you young at the same time. Between now and Thursday I can count on cards, calls, emails, and surprises from my kids and DH. Birthdays are a kick. Wonder why so many women my age freak out about them?
 

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