Friday, December 29, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: KIEFER SUTHERLAND



Mr. Man is a prizewinning rodeo cowboy, and he goes for 24 hours. That'll do it.

DINNER LIST: LEONARD PITTS



Leonard Pitts is the bomb. Intelligent, erudite, insightful. Plus, he's not above taking the stuffing out of pretentious people who can't shut their pieholes about topics they know nothing about. Won a Pulitzer for commentary in '04. And he's a hell of a lot of fun to read. Check out his stuff at the Miami Herald.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Mamahood

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BIL asks me the other day, "How long do you have to be married before you can give your wife a major appliance for Christmas?"

I can't speak for the statute of limitations at his house, but I'm happy this is arriving today:
Ice and water in the door. No more pitchers. And I have a place to keep drinks outside so the door won't be opening/closing/opening/closing all summer long. Yay!

Diamond jewelry is so overrated.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

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The last three items on my son's Christmas list were priceless. After the litany of electronic everything--he is nine, after all--he asked for:
  • A new bone for my dog.
  • A bell from your sleigh.
  • Peace on Earth.
Can't help much with that last item, but these found their way to the bottom of his and his sister's stockings:


Later on, he said he really didn't care about what he did or didn't show up from his letter to Santa. "The best things about Christmas," he says, "are Jesus being born and being with the family."

I agree. My blessings are a wonderful husband and two kids who think of other people first. Lucky, lucky me. If I didn't have a thing to unwrap, those would be enough.

Believe!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: PETER KRAUSE



A&E's blanketing its network with promos for Six Feet Under, which it will show in the spring. What is it with A&E and recycled HBO series? But I digress. In the forefront, the very sexy Peter Krause. That's KROW-zuh, to you and me. But Six Feet fans are way behind. I've appreciated this guy since the late, great Sports Night, a little piece which also introduced us to Desperate Housewife Felicity "Lynette" Huffman and gave us a chance to see how Nuwanda grew up. Krause? Yowza.

DINNER LIST: AARON SORKIN



If he does nothing else in his career, Aaron Sorkin has hit the trifecta with three things: Sports Night, The West Wing, and best yet, The American President. Quite the impressive resume. The guy who teaches American Government across the hall from me shows The American President to his kids every year because it raises serious political issues about elections, bills, lobbying, etc. in a light and very funny way. But I'd watch it again and again for the speech that ends, "We've got serious problems, and we need serious people, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you'd better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I *am* the President." Methinks more real Presidents should put this one on the Netflix queue.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Grey Lady Down

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So I'm at my mom's house on guard duty yesterday (she was recovering from an outpatient surgery), and amidst floor cleaning with my new toy, I get sucked into the Project Runway marathon on Bravo. Keep in mind that DH and I haven't had real cable for a while, so I've never watched before.

Some things I learned: Heidi Klum is a real person, not a fembot. "Fashion" and I have a nodding acquaintance (still not too fond of outfits that look like they've been through a crosscut shredder first). And reality shows really do bring out the absolute worst in people.

Case in point: Wendy Pepper. Nice mom from Middleburg, VA, we think...until she gets on the show and starts scheming in order to win. Commentary I've read names her the show's Cruella De Vil.
She's very straightforward about it, too, and says she'll do whatever it takes to make the final three.

I admit I was interested in Wendy initially because we're more of an age than most of the wunderkind designers--most of whom are way telegenic. But her personal look gave me pause.
She had a big white streak of hair near her part. At first, I thought it was grey, but later found out there had been a makeover involved. (Wonder if Kara Saun was thinking subliminally about Cruella during the process?) There was no doubt that Wendy looked older than all the other contestants. But a couple of them were 37 to her 39/40 (she must have had a birthday during the filming), yet they looked much younger.

All of this is a long preview to the real point: going grey. You see, my hair is turning grey much faster than most folks I know. My dad's hair was practically white when he was fifty. I'm Daddy's girl. And since it's been a while since I did my roots, I'm noticing that the white is exploding all over my head. It doesn't help much that the last time I colored, I tried a new type. The box said "Permanent." It was two weeks' worth of permanent, maybe. The color just sheeted off my new greys--which are white--and left me with a Bonnie Raitt streak right along my part.

So now I have a quandary. Do I go back to coloring, or do I go ahead and let nature take its course? Turns out the color I've been using (Medium Golden Brown) isn't even close to my natural color, which is decidedly cooler in tone. But my natural color, increasingly, is white. Badly-dyed white hair doesn't look like anything but badly-dyed white hair. And there is no way I'm ever going blonde. A problem, n'est-ce pas?

I'm young at heart. Very. I am outright silly with the kids at church--how many "grownups" do you know will pin on a towel cape for Superhero Night? I wear Christmas Chucks to school. I drive a Beetle convertible, for heaven's sake. But my hair isn't lying about my actual chronology. So should I help it, or give in? One part of me says I should just give in, but decades of beauty advice scream otherwise. Is it possible to be a MILF if you have grey hair? Can you be grey and curly and keep it long without looking like a granola girl? Or should I give in and keep the Garnier gods in business a while longer?

Heidi--for all her fabulousness--is no help. She's a blonde. I'm navigating these waters alone, and they're kind of freaking me out. Suggestions?

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: DANIEL CRAIG



Two words: James Bond. Go see Casino Royale if you need convincing. Woof!

DINNER LIST: AL GORE



Personally, I don't care what kind of involvement he had with the Internet. This is one very intelligent man, and I love me some smart men. Plus, he's finally got the country talking about environmental impact, and as a Floridian, I can respect that. Plus, Tipper is a hoot. I'd invite her, too, as long as they weren't doing the lip-lock thing at the table.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Survey!

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This gem's making the rounds. Join in with your answers...

  1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate, of course!
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? He sets them under the tree so you know they're from him. The wrapped ones are from family.
  3. Colored lights on house/tree or white? Colored--but white, red, and green only.
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? Why bother? There's already tons of it in the oak trees over my house.
  5. When do you put your decorations up? A couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, because they stay up until Epiphany (Jan. 6)
  6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Lately, prime rib and Yorkshire pudding. And broccoli casserole.
  7. Favorite holiday memory from childhood: Waiting upstairs until Granddaddy turned on the Christmas tree so we could come down and see what Santa brought--no peeking and NO going downstairs until the tree is on.
  8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I can't remember, so it must not have been traumatic.
  9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Absolutely NOT.
  10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Lights, wooden bead garlands, decorated balls, apples, family/unique ornaments.
  11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it in pictures. It was fun to play in when I was a kid, but I can't imagine liking having to drive in it as a grownup.
  12. Can you ice skate? Nope.
  13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Probably the year my sister and I got new bikes. But we were in SC for the holiday rather than Florida, so Santa left us Barbies with Barbie bikes to play with until we got home.
  14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being with family.
  15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? My stepmom's gingersnaps
  16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Going to midnight services on Christmas Eve
  17. What tops your tree? An angel
  18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving!
  19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (song); It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (carol)
  20. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the real one by Chuck Jones, featuring Thurl Ravenscroft singing "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch")

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ah, Romance...

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Some thoughts on romance, courtesy of Stephan Pastis, creator of "Pearls Before Swine":


Ain't THAT the truth!

Check out the full comic published on Sunday, December 10 by United Features Syndicate at http://www.comics.com/comics/pearls/

Sunday, December 10, 2006

O Christmas Tree!

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Fresh Fraser Fir: $82
Roast beef dinner for family and two MILs: $47
New string of red Christmas lights: $2
Having the darned thing decorated without fisticuffs breaking out: Priceless

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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Back to the men! Now that the craziness of NaNo has subsided, I can refocus on what's important.

BED LIST: JOHN STAMOS



I haven't watched ER in ages, mainly because TV and I are nodding acquaintances rather than BFFs, but I understand that John Stamos is responsible for plenty of raised temperatures at Cook County General these days. He's been cute for years, but he's the kind of man who needs a few years' seasoning to reach his full potential. Plus, I think we can forgive him for having to act in that show with those goggle-eyed twins now.

DINNER LIST: CHARLIE CRIST



Behold, my soon-to-be governor. I would lurve to get one-on-one with Charlie Crist if for no other reason than to get him to get a real state of Florida education update from someone who has more than a remembered acquaintance with a classroom from which to draw an opinion. He'd better be ready for a looooooong dinner. As in, would probably last until breakfast. But he's a personable kind of guy. I think he could handle it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Go Gators!

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The BCS computers have spoken, and it'll be the Florida Gators facing the Ohio State Buckeyes for the national championship. This'll be an interesting game to watch personally, since I lived in Westerville, OH when I was a kid. Daddy got transferred there. (We personally think of it as the exile in the wilderness for a number of reasons, flat Midwestern accents, dinner at 5:30 pm, and -40 wind chill being some of them.)

I remember being polled by some boy in my 5th grade class about that year's Ohio State-Michigan game and telling him "Michigan" just to be difficult (people who know me are not surprised in the least). But there's no doubt this year about my pick. The Buckeyes may have a great team, but I'm hoping the Gators CHOMP 'EM.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

NaNoWriMo Debriefing

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I've had a day or so to come off my NaNo high, so here are some thoughts about the experience.
  • A 50,000 word first draft in one month is not an impossible task.
  • A 50,000 word draft in a month takes consistent output.
  • Taking notes and thinking quite a bit about the story before starting the writing (following the NaNo rules) was very helpful. When November 1 hit, I was raring to go.
  • Robin Perini, I owe you one. Your plot diagram from this summer's Discovering Story Magic workshop at RWA National saved my butt.
  • Having to work that quickly stifles my picky internal editor, which in my case is a good thing.
  • It is very difficult for me to type messily. I keep wanting to go back and futz with stuff.
  • When it was 10:00 pm on the last day of NaNo and I had about 2,000 words still to go, I was able to smack that typing-corrector into submission, thank God.
  • In college, I read an essay about the creative process that said that Mozart would compose everything in his head, rethinking and testing combinations of instruments, notes, etc. When he was happy with the result, he would sit down with paper and ink and transcribe the whole thing. I'm no Mozart, but my process is very similar. I was thinking about the story much of the time, but not actually writing anything down. Until the last day, that is.I finished NaNo and won by writing 13,203 words in a 24-hour period. That's a hell of a kick.
  • The sky really doesn't fall in if you let the housekeeping go for a month. But it is a good thing that Target's open every day until 10 in case you need new underwear. Ha!
I'm really pleased with what happened this past month. I'm going to let the draft percolate during the holidays, then tackle the mess in the new year. Dream Agent says to go ahead and send a polished proposal, so that'll be job one. At least I know the main story, so the synopsis will be a piece of cake! The Five Step Plan is very rough, and I have about four single-spaced pages of notes to myself of things I need to go back, review, and change before it hits the light of day. But one thing I have now that I didn't have on Halloween is something to work with. I hadn't been productive in some time, and NaNo helped me clear the logjam. Who knows? Maybe this is how I'll write a novel every year. Can't hurt!

Friday, December 01, 2006

I Did It!

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Official count: 50,127 words.
Official statement: I. Am. Whipped.
I'll post more about the NaNoWriMo experience after a good sleep, since I sure haven't had much the past couple of days. Can you say, "Procrastinator"?
My wrists are killing me! Where's the chocolate??

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Update #4 - 17,822 Words

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Advice to those of you who want to try NaNoWriMo: Don't get the flu mid-month. Unfortunately, this is the voice of experience talking. I have managed to get way, way behind thanks to a nasty combination of headache, sinus pressure, and fatigue. Now I have to dig myself out.

Of course, my normal distractability has reared its ugly head as well. Endless checking of Google News items? Check. Obsessive emailing? Check. Snacks! Check!

Time to bust out the tiara. I need some serious mojo working for me if I'm going to swing 32,000-odd words in the ten days left in November. Thank the Lord we're having Thanksgiving at mom's this year!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Death on Toast

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Ugh. I am so, so sick right now. I stayed home from school Monday, dragged my butt there on Tuesday (I should spare myself the heroics), and got the cosmic smackdown about it today. Spent most of today on the sofa, too. Head hurts, body's stiff, head's full of crud.

I hate getting sick. I especially hate getting sick when there are THINGS TO DO around here, like clean and cook and write and write and write. I am VERY behind with NaNoWriMo, so it will take some serious writer heroics to get me back on track. I believe I can do it, but I need to get a move on.

Okay, Mr. Tylenol and I have a date, then I'm going to bed. 15K words and counting...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Update #3 - 11,113 Words

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Jeff (Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo) said it would happen, and it has.

I'm in the doldrums.

I have found that breaking the "go back and futz with what you've already written" habit is very hard to do. I keep wanting to go back and reread, fix that word, trash that sentence, etc. etc. rather than forging ahead with the manuscript. There's also that nasty "but there's nothing in the middle!" reality that most of us face when writing a project of this scope.

I've also discovered that I have a bad habit of wanting there to be more, more, more in terms of characters doing things, and perhaps I should slow down and get them to think more before rushing ahead to the next action.

Which is all well and good, but I've got a lot of catching up to do if I'm going to make it to 50K on Nov. 30. As in, I'm in the hole about 9K. Better get crackin'.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Barbara Samuel, GODDESS

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Lucky me, I got to spend today in a voice workshop with the marvelous Barbara Samuel. Barbara, who collects RITAs the way most of us collect parking ticktes, is amazing, plus gracious and fun and very, very helpful.

Some things I discovered:
  • I really, really like writing in first person. Guess my natural voice is chatty and straight from the horse's mouth.
  • Focusing on the South is the right thing to do. I wrote one passage and was invited to share with the group, and midway through, I start bawling. Embarrassing beyond belief, but truthful.
  • Sometimes, you can't see yourself because you're in your own way. Get out the thinking, then hand it over to a trusted friend to make sense of it. They can cut through the crap in two seconds.
  • It's good to get away from home and be around writer types for the day. Reminds me that yes, I do have a creative self, and yes, she needs to be nurtured more regularly.
Now if I would just put my butt in the chair and STAY there!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Update #2: 9633 Words

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Gah! Seems like once you get behind, there's no catching up. I had high hopes for a very productive day today, but all for naught. I'm a good 3,000 words behind where I should be, so either something's going to kick out the stops tomorrow, or I'm in deep doodoo.

Saturday should be interesting. I'll be attending an all-day workshop on voice with the wonderful Barbara Samuel. She writes like a dream and is extremely gracious and nice to boot, so that will be a treat. I will try like hell to make sure that no matter what writing exercises she gives us, I will produce information that can be grafted into The Five Step Plan. Ha!

Robin update: At the farm now and futzing around. Love interest is showing up today (yet another uncomfortable meeting), as is cheating ex. Okay, I've lit the fuse...let's see if fireworks happen.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Wish for Us

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We came, we voted, we waited for Virginia and Montana to get the final numbers straight on their Senate races. Now that the 2006 election is all over but the recounts, some thoughts for my beloved Florida and beyond:
  • Note to President Bush: The voters really have handed you a mandate this time. Listen to them. Try to remember what you were like when you were governor of Texas. You still know what "consensus" is, right? Try it.
  • Note to politicians: Your job is to serve US, not your party.
  • Speaking of politicians...ethics are a good thing. Find some.
  • Note to political parties: Your job's just beginning. Both of you need to prove that you're more beholden to the electorate than to fundraisers and PACs if you want to regain our respect.
  • Note to citizens: Your job is to be involved in the process, not act as armchair quarterbacks. If you don't vote, don't complain.
  • Note to Charlie Crist, my new governor: Have the common sense to listen to the common people now that the election's over. You want solutions to knotty problems? Ask the people involved. I guarantee if you pull 20-odd teachers from the toughest schools in the state (aka the "failing schools"), they'll tell you exactly what to do to straighten things out. You just need to listen to them.
  • Note to Alex Sink, my new state CFO: Go all Bank of America audit on their asses. Bet you find plenty of money wasted that could be put to better use. Start with the Department of Education, 'kay?
  • Three words: checks and balances. None of the three branches should run roughshod over the other. Your primary responsibility is to the country, not to voters with R or D on their registration cards.
  • We put you in office, and we'll take you out.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Update #1: 4800 Words

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Running a bit behind on the daily word count--not getting to the magic 1,667 the first couple of days has been a drag. Had a great day yesterday, but a slow start today. I'm 1,800 words or so behind, plus the 1,667 I need to rack up to be on track for today.

When last we saw Robin, she was putting a hurt on some expensive Callaway golf clubs in lieu of her suspected cheating boyfriend's head. Now boyfriend is a confirmed cheater who's lucky not to have an omelet pan to the side of the head, and Robin's packed up and headed out of town. No job, no man, but fun with an outhouse is in her future...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Go!

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And we're off! Here's the opening to The Five Step Plan. Enjoy!

*****

I’ve pinpointed when my life officially went to hell. It was the week I lost the court jester charm off my bracelet.

It fits, actually. I haven’t had much to laugh at in a while, which would explain why I’m trolling the parking lot of Exwood Estates Golf Club looking for a whilte BMW. The white BMW 650i belonging to my soon-to-be-ex boyfriend, or whatever you call the 37-year-old man you’ve bought a condo and built most of a life together with.

BMW spotting is much harder to do, by the way, when your eyes are swelled up like a tree frog’s. I do not cry beautifully. No tears rolling down porcelain cheeks for me. “Hello misery” hails the onset of “Hello, frogface.”

Frog-faced or not, finding the right BMW is going to be a trick in this parking lot. Every car that isn’t a Lexus or a Mercedes is a BMW, assuming it’s not one of the unholy Excursion/Escalade/Hummer trio. I’m surprised alarms didn’t go off when my nine-year-old Jeep rolled through the Exwood’s perfectly-landscaped gates.

But they didn’t, and here I am--and there it is. Immaculate, white, vanity tag. DSRV IT.

I know what he deserves, and trust me, it ain’t a BMW.

I consider busting into the clubhouse and pitching a hissy fit when I spy the clubs. Top-of-the-line Callaways, nestled into a tour bag the size of an airplane hangar.

“Why do you need that bag?” I remember asking, “You walk eighteen with those and they’ll have to drag your dead body to the bar.”

“You can’t walk at the courses I’ll be playing. Carts only.”

Well, la-te-damn-da. But good for me, since the valet has cleaned the sacred Callaways and deposited them so conveniently for me.

I wonder what sound Big Bertha makes when she gets up close and personal with Big Live Oak?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On Your Mark...Get Set...

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NaNoWriMo starts at midnight! Talk about scary. Some housekeeping matters:
  • Posts here will be infrequent, but will mostly talk about how the book's coming along.
  • I may or may not find men worthy of either the Bed List or the Dinner List. Depends on how well things are going in novel-land.
  • Encouragement in the form of attagirls or dark chocolate are always appreciated.
The book will be called The Five Step Plan. It's women's fiction, set in Florida. I mean real Florida, not South Beach or Disney World. I figure since I'm a ninth-generation Floridian (no, we didn't all transplant here), I'm entitled. In a nutshell: woman finds her life is built on a shaky foundation and returns to the only one that's stayed firm her whole life--her grandparents' farm. Between helping them through a crisis and setting down her own new roots, she gains a new appreciation for the heritage of the land and the opportunity Florida has always provided. Sounds serious, but it'll have plenty of fun. The frame is my mom's Five Step Plan for making anything better--it works, BTW--so we'll see how much fun I can have with those five steps.

T minus eighteen hours, and counting...

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: KEVIN BACON



Because we all watched him get Footloose (even if it was Peter Tramm of "Sharp Dressed Man" fame doing the big dance routine in the barn). Because he's a musician. Because he's been married to Kyra Sedgewick forever. Because he has a game named after him that I am quite good at playing, if I do say so myself...and an evening with him would certainly shortcut my six degrees to anybody into about two steps!

DINNER LIST: STEPHEN KING



Four days remain before NaNoWriMo begins, so naturally Chez mimi is absorbed in the writing milieu. With that sort of reflection comes a huge appreciation for the master of horror and pop culture guru Stephen King. I have yet to meet a writer who isn't enamored with his autobiography/how to On Writing. It's funny, poignant, sensible, and wonderfully written. Plus, he's willing to navigate the treacherous waters between genre and literary fiction, giving us genre folks some much-needed validation and the more precious/pretentious of the lit crowd a much-needed pin into the ol' ego. Gotta love that. I admire him enough that I'd even fix New England boiled dinner for him, and that's saying something.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The More, the Merrier

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Turns out it does just take a seed. I tell someone at school I'm doing NaNo, then he signs up. Not only that, but he sends an email to the entire faculty. Now, five more folks have signed up, including DH.

??

Have to admit I didn't see that one coming. His take? "Well, since I won't be having sex anyway..." (He jokes.) (Sort of.) (I hope.)

November around our house is going to get weird...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Books and Cooks: Howards End

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WE'RE READING:



I'M SERVING: CRUMPETS AND JAM

Howards End (no apostrophe, BTW) is one of those books that's kind of like green vegetables when you're a kid. You know it'll be good for you, but you're not sure you want to get that involved. To be honest, it took me a while to get into it. The group agreed that the themes of the book ring true. The Schlegels and Wilcoxes (and to a lesser extent, the Basts) represent three major types of Edwardian era Englishmen: the Intellectuals, the Rich, and the Working Class. Which of these groups will inherit England?

According to the book, none--and yet all. Along the way, plenty of commentary on music, the role of art in life, love, family, and permanence. One drawback I found was having seen the Oscar-nominated film years ago. I couldn't fix mental pictures of the characters because they had already been taken over by Anthony Hopkins (Henry Wilcox), Emma Thompson (Margaret Schlegel), and Helena Bonham Carter (Helen Schlegel). Somehow, I think viewing the film afterward would have been better, although it was a very close adaptation.

I know I ought to love it, but I don't. Okay, but not an experience I'm likely to repeat. Guess Forster's not my forte.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Spawn of Miss Snark

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Miss Snark apparently has a disciple, who is proceeding with Miss Snark's gin-infused blessing. Check out why you keep getting those form rejections here. (I'm adding her to the blogroll, BTW.)

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: MORRIS CHESTNUT



I am taking my life into my hands with this pick, because my good friend Laurene has dibs on Morris Chestnut. Unless he's willing to consider a threesome, I might not emerge unscathed from an encounter a deux. Laurene would kill me. Then again, one heavenly night with Mr. Morris might do me in anyway.

DINNER LIST: BILL COSBY



As someone who grew up with Fat Albert, I'm predisposed to like Bill Cosby. I liked him more when Little Bill came out right when my kids were old enough to appreciate it. I know he's not perfect. But I respect the hell out of him for having the guts to say what he thinks, even though some people in the African-American community wish he would just shut up and go count his millions. Here's to not shutting up, and to common sense.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

White and Nerdy: Full Disclosure

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I have spent the last several days laughing my butt off at this song, mostly because it cuts so close to home! I have either done or dated so many of these. I hereby cop to the following white and nerdy activities:
  • I have played D&D.
  • My uncle, the engineer, collects M.C. Escher engravings.
  • Although I prefer tea to coffee, I'm not really a fan of Earl Grey.
  • My rims are also stationary.
  • I own action figures.
  • I rock at Minesweeper.
  • You want me as your Trivial Pursuit partner.
  • Not only have I collected X-Men, but I have a good friend who owns a rockin' comic book store.
  • Fountain pens need protection.
  • I have edited Wikipedia.
  • I could quote you Monty Python and the Holy Grail easily. (Ni!)
  • To my shame, I admit to owning a fanny pack.
  • I only shop at Gap when there is a sale.
  • Bubble wrap rules!
  • Although I did not belong to the A/V or Glee Clubs or the Chess Team, I was Quiz Bowl captain.
  • Picard, unless Kirk is in full-bore "Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!" mode.
  • Yea, verily, I have attended ye Renaissance Faire.
Nerdy in the extreme, yes. Whiter than sour cream? Lord, I hope not.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Biting the Bullet

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Well, I've gone and done it now.


I signed up for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, for those of you not up to date on writerly sorts of things. The task: complete a 50,000 word first draft of a novel by 11:59:59 pm on November 30.

Am I crazy? Probably. But as someone who's always lived on the adrenaline rush of impossible deadlines, perhaps offering myself up to the NaNoWriMo gods is a way to kick-start the new project. Even if I don't "win" (those who complete the task get a winner's badge, a cyber-pat on the back), I've completed something, which is more than what's happened lately.

I've posted a word meter in the left margin of the blog so you can see how I'm doing. Butt-kicking welcomed. It'll get updated a couple of times a week.

Now, off to think, consult the Writer's Brainstorming Kit, jot down interesting images in my journal, etc. No actual writing on the project until November 1 at midnight, but the rules say you can prime the pump like hell up until then. Sounds like a plan.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Oracle of Starbucks

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Full disclosure: I do not drink coffee. I hate coffee. But DH and most of my friends (waving at the Puffs) are coffee folk, and like most coffee folk, they are now unwitting slaves to Starbucks. So, for fun on a Saturday morning--and since this is DH's weekly meeting with the small group guys at, erm, Starbucks--I present to you coffeeheads the Oracle of Starbucks.

Enter your typical order and find out all about yourself. Too funny. Click here to find out all about your venti half-caf caramel macchiato self.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: MATTHEW FOX



Party of two, Mr. Fox. Let's get Lost together.

DINNER LIST: WEIRD AL YANKOVIC



This guy is smart as a whip. Funny, too. And he has a song in the top ten that cuts a little close to home but makes me laugh out loud. Yes, I have my "White and Nerdy" moments. I don't, however, speak either Javascript or Klingon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Love Me, Love My Dog

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Don't know what it is about "I told you so" that's so satisfying, but it's sure fun sometimes. I predicted some time back that my two best writing buds would get dogs (children are persuaders). One said no, no pets, thanks. The other held up the Cat Banner and said never, no way.

Guess who now have dogs? heh heh

What I find funniest about the whole thing is how fitting each dog is to each personality. Here's mine, Jester:


A Brittany. Different, full of energy. This dog is an extravert beyond belief with twinges of mountain goat (he likes to balance on the back of the sofa). Wiggles his way up to people wanting to talk/play/whatever, as long as you're involved. And he bounces. Not unlike me, actually--minus the mountain goat part. But hey, we all have our quirks.

K is now the proud owner of Godiva:


Dachshunds are tenacious and stubborn. They're very bright, but difficult to manage. Kind of like K. She knows how to go after what she wants and she usually gets it. But you totally forgive her anything because she's beyond loyal. And cute as pie. Plus, there's that whole chocolate thing.

N, on the other hand, declared herself early on to be a Cat Person. She's always had cats, which suit her--sort of. I've always thought she's not nearly persnickety enough to be a true cat person. So her lovely daughter works on her with the big blues for a while and now they have Samantha:


Pembroke Welsh Corgi. And N will admit to crowing, "I love a dog!" (She will, or I'll have to whomp her.) Pembrokes are a great favourite of the Queen, which totally fits N's own royal mein. They're also smart, hardworking, dedicated, and have the tendency to boss things bigger than themselves--they are herding dogs--which fits N to a T. She can manage you right into something before you know it.

Weird how that kind of thing happens, isn't it?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Life, the Universe, and Everything

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Today I turned 42. Fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy know that's the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Here's what I learned.
  • Good friends are the best presents.
  • Japanese food is one of life's great pleasures.
  • Never put a bobcat in a crate. (Long story. Funny as hell, but long.)
  • Happy Birthday serenades conducted long distance from Ontario are sweet, surprising, and satisfying.
  • 10:30 is now bedtime, not the "get ready to go out" hour. I can live with that. I think.
  • DH knows me very, very well. He gave me George Clooney, David Strathairn, and Matthew McConaughey all gift-wrapped.
  • I'm still a real hoopy gal who always knows where her towel is (even if M and S need to bring it along to dinner as a reminder).

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: ASHTON KUTCHER



Okay, this one is purely on looks. That, and he has the smarts to marry an older woman. She's Demi Moore, of course, but she's still older. Good for him. Definitely good for her. Rawr.

DINNER LIST: BILL GATES



Ashton Kutcher and Bill Gates--Beauty and the Geek, or what? I'm the first to admit that I am no fan of Microsoft products, aka "Bloatware." Buying Microsoft contributes to the sheepification of America, so no Windows for me, thanks. I do, however, have great respect for Bill Gates because of his generosity and clarity of thinking. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation puts considerable cash into worthy causes, from rethinking education to providing sensible health care for sub-Saharan Africa. This man is always thinking ahead, and he's rich enough to do something about it. That, I can respect. And gladly buy dinner for.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

That IS the Question

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

R.I.P. Chick Lit--for Now

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Depressing news comes more often by email and link these days, doesn't it? According to agent Jenny Bent, Barnes and Noble's head buyer has declared chick lit officially dead.

Boo hoo for me. I guess Crash Test won't be seeing the light of day anytime soon. But I kind of figured that out already. So am I giving up? Hell, no. And if Ms. Bent is to be believed, the hallmark of chick lit--the voice--isn't really going anywhere. It's just morphing into something else, say a mystery with attitude or mom lit or hen lit or whatever they're calling books about slightly older heroines whose voices haven't been quashed in the carpool line.

Some people never learn. Too much of a good thing is too much, and not a good thing. Flooding the market with questionable product simply because it's the new hot thing kills sales. In this case, it killed a subgenre with an interesting way of saying things. If some of the bandwagon writers had found more original things to say instead of creating Bridget Jones 3.2, then maybe things would be different.

But it doesn't help to speculate, and brooding over it won't get my next projects written. Those heroines have plenty to say, but don't expect them to abandon the forthrightness their chick lit siblings laid claim to. Or that they want to speak for themselves, in first person. I guess the true lesson here is that the Presbyterian way is pretty darned sensible: All things in moderation.

Okay, off to write.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

S-p-e-l-l-i-n-g Counts!

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Call me a cranky English teacher if you must, but I'm a bit perturbed at this:



I'm all for Fergie making a name for herself in a way that has nothing to do with her abs or her former crystal meth addiction, but what boneheaded copyeditor/art director approved this title? DUCHESS IS NOT FREAKIN' SPELLED WITH A 'T'!!

It's petty, I know, but this kind of thing is important. We can't have folks assuming that Dutchesses are married to Dutkes. Or that Scarlet O'Hara has been cleverly named after a paint color. Scarlett=two Ts. Duchess=no T. Got it?

Fergie, I hear your solo set rocks. Good for you. But if your second CD elevates you to "Empriss," we're gonna have more than words about spelling.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Loaner Envy

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Since it'll take until Tuesday to fix Inga, Richard the Service Manager asks me to return the Fleetmobile so he can put me in one of his loaners. I'm thinking a Jetta. Lo and behold, this is currently sitting in my driveway:



DH, who drives an older Passat wagon, is greener than the car. I'm not trading in Inga anytime--love that tight suspension!--but this is a sweet ride. And the ignition gets major cool points. So I'm styling some serious German engineering until Tuesday. Could be worse. A lot worse.

Personal to Richard: Sorry those beers weren't cold, buddy. I'll hook you up when I get my car back.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: JAMES PUREFOY



I like 'em rugged. Rugged and English, it appears. James Purefoy isn't your conventional pretty boy, but he does rugged. Born in Somerset. He plays a mean Edward, The Black Prince of Wales (you must, simply must, buy A Knight's Tale--three Bed List choices in there alone!). He's also good and rugged enough to have played Marc Antony in the recent miniseries Rome. Hey, if Cleopatra can work herself up over him enough to go asp, then hey, I'll wrestle.

DINNER LIST: SENATOR JOHN McCAIN



Speaking of rugged--Sen. McCain was a POW in Vietnam. He's now a senior senator and possible candidate for President. I admire him because he's a no-BS kind of man. He's not afraid to sponsor unpopular legislation (McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill) and speak out against political talking heads when he thinks they've gone off the rails (which is often, unfortunately for them). He's also willing to reach across the aisle (Sen. Feingold is a Democrat) for the right causes. This is a man I'd be honored to buy dinner. And maybe vote for.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oh, the Horror

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Inga, my beloved Turbo Beetle (aka "my Fast," hahaha) needs to go to the car doctor. So DH and I plan to drop her off this morning and hitch a ride to a workshop together.

Nay, nay, Fluffy.

Turns out Inga's issues aren't primarily cosmetic. That rear window adhesive can't just be fixed. We're talking new top. $4500 of new top. My favorite word today is warranty. So because I have to have a new top, they put me in a rental. One of these:



Yep, a tan Chevrolet Cobalt four-door sedan with manual everything. You couldn't say "fleet car" any louder unless you spray painted the word RENTAL down the side.

On the plus side, it's ridiculously clean. It will get me from place to place. There's room for my kids and all their stuff.

But it's a tan Chevy Cobalt, and that is so. not. me. Please, please VW people, hurry with mein fraulein already!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: JONATHAN RHYS-MYERS



Okay, Jonathan Rhys-Myers is a little dreamier and prettier than I usually go for, but he's worth it, dontcha think? Totally adorable in Bend it Like Beckham, plays the naughty boy in Vanity Fair. Oh, and he's been Elvis, too. Young Elvis. Young, good looking Elvis. And he has an accent. Good looking, gorgeous eyes, has an accent. Yep, that's a recipe for trouble.

DINNER LIST: WILLIAM H. MACY



William H. Macy is a terrific actor and a terrific person. Too bad he doesn't do it for me, since he's in my age group and is closer to the bounds of reality than my usual Bed List picks, but I digress. Besides, he's married to Felicity Huffman, and like this desperate housewife has a snowball's chance in hell against her. Right. I'd do dinner, though.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: DAVID DUCHOVNY



Sense of humor, reads, Ivy League education. And there's a drinking game involving him. The truth is out there, and his name is David Duchovny. Come on over, Mulder, and let me X your Files!

DINNER LIST: STEVE ZAHN



This man is off. But it's a good kind of off. Who better to play the stoner sidekick? Steve Zahn is funny as hell. He's the master of the straight line, and he throws himself into whatever he's doing (I double-dog dare you to watch him wrestle a rogue raccoon in Saving Silverman and not laugh) Hanging out with him and mocking pretentious people in a pretentious restaurant would be a howl.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tropically Depressing Ernesto

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Central Florida's suffering through its first bout of hurricane fever this season thanks to a weakling named Ernesto. The tracking maps showed him paying us a visit, so counties all over canceled school for today. Of course, now we have to make up the missed day the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. So much for travel plans.

So today we stayed in, and it was...wait for it...rainy. Gray, depressing, and rainy. Not a deluge, no scary wind gusts, just rainy. Seattle weather. Ho hum, yawn, time to watch more cable. The worst thing about weather like this is that it's so oppressive. The longer the day went on, the greater the sense of ennui. Why bother? Why work? You'd think with a day off, I'd be productive, but noooooooo.

Memo to school types: Don't make big decisions about canceling school until the darned thing makes landfall! If you'd waited until last night, you would have known we'd be wet but not in danger, and we wouldn't have wasted the day. Don't jump the gun at 2 pm next time, 'kay??


I'm glad we're back in school tomorrow. Days off like this just aren't worth it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Radioactive Republicans

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Chez mimi's been getting a lot of phone calls this week about political candidates. We're a divided house: one Democrat, one Republican. DH and I figure that splitting the registrations means that each of us can choose the best candidate in the closed-party primary, then vote our respective consciences in the general election.

Usually, there's one obvious candidate on the Democratic ticket, but a fairly wide range from conservative to ultra-conservative in the GOP. This is proving to be very interesting, especially in the big races for Governor and Senator.

For Gov, the Dems are trading some nasties over who's more in the pocket of evil developers, sugar growers, and the insurance industry, while the Republicans are playing tug-of-war with the Reagan legacy. (Something I just do not understand, even if some bonehead managed to convince the Florida legislature to rename the Sunshine State Parkway the Ronald Reagan Turnpike. Hello? The man never lived here? If you're gonna rename our turnpike, can't you pick a Floridian?? Shoot--pick one of the Marjories: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Marjory Stoneman Douglas did a hell of a lot more for Florida than Mr. Reagan, may he rest in peace. Sorry. Ranting. Back on topic, mimi.) As I was saying, their sniping makes Reagan's
Bedtime for Bonzo co-star look like a model of decorum and good sense.

And then there's Katherine Harris.

Talk about a train wreck in progress. Newspapers lately are competing for the oddest "what she said this week" quote. Her campaign staff's turned over about three times. She makes bizarre claims about her supporters (top Democrats? Not in this state.), her platform (Christians make the best legislators, because everyone else is too busy "legislating sin"), and her chances (I'm gonna win!). We're talking Tom Cruise-level meltdown on a daily basis. It's painful to watch, but you can't tear yourself away. And not a single prominent Republican, including Jeb Bush, is willing to go to bat for her publically. Baby doll, give it up.

Carl Hiaasen's right about Florida. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: JAMES MARSDEN



You gotta like a guy willing to play straight man to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. James Marsden is one interesting X-Man. It's too bad that he keeps getting cast as the great guy who doesn't get the girl, though: he's on the losing end of romance in X-Men, The Notebook, and Superman. Methinks it's time he got top billing.

DINNER LIST: SUMNER REDSTONE



This week's "He did what?" moment belongs to Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, the only octogenarian with the set big enough to take on Tom Cruise. Basically, he showed Mr. Katie Holmes the front gate of the Paramount lot and severed a multi-year, multi-million-dollar association because he wasn't too happy with how Tom's more whacko pronouncements (Scientology, mano a mano with Brooke Shields over postpartum depression, "Sorry to destroy your sofa there, Oprah, but I love this womaaaaaaaan!!") made his studio look. (Too bad we can't convince major college athletic programs to do the same for out-of-control scholarship athletes.) Yep, I'd buy him dinner.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Fast" Girls

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I was screen snacking yesterday and took a bite of some stories about VW's "Fast" campaign for the GTI. Apparently, the notion that young males in their late 20s (the ad agency's target demographic) might be thinking more with testosterone than with sensitivity is both baffling and threatening.

I don't know about you, but DH and I laughed our butts off. But we--well, I--might be in the minority. Talkback about the campaign included a couple of outraged "I was thinking about buying a VW, but now I NEVER WILL!!" comments from some pissed-off women.

Okay, girls, get your panties out of their twist and relax. Number one, it's a commercial. Number two, it's not aimed at you. Number three, who hasn't dated a guy who valued his car/stereo/pick your obsession more than his current relationship? This is a young guy. He's not thinking with his relationship brain here. He just wants to go fast.

I laughed for the same reason I laugh at the closing credits of Comedy Central's The Man Show and the Swedish bikini team. It's called satire, people. Comedy that makes a broad point broadly and instructs at the same time. It's demeaning if you have a loose grip on your own identity, perhaps, but acknowledging that a 20-year-old blonde supermodel with implants looks a hell of a lot better in a string bikini than I do (and would thereby draw more drooling and wolf whistles from the testosterone- steered crowd) does nothing to diminish my brainpower or accomplishments. Or negate that DH would much rather get me naked than he would "Ingeborg" with the icy-cold brew.

Wanna talk about demeaning? How about Lifetime Movie Channel's endless offerings of women-in-jeopardy films? You know, the ones where two-thirds of the action details horrific abuse, and in the last third she fights back. Have you ever wondered why so many of them finish with a showcard detailing what happened to the jerk? Because the real justice isn't dramatic enough to show. But watching her go thirteen rounds with an abuser is A-OK and somehow uplifting, now, isn't it?

David Segal was right when he claimed that the politically-correct environment was death to comedy. When everything's sacred, nothing's funny. I side with Jonathan Swift. If you can mock it, you can change it. That includes testosterone-fueled boyfriends. Let him go fast, for Pete's sake. There's nothing that says you have to ride shotgun with a guy who'll never let you drive. Shoot, buy your own turbocharged fun, beat some 2 Fast 2 Furious moron off the line, and make him cry.

That's what I did. And I did it in my VW.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dream House

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I don't know what it is about my subconscious, but when I'm asleep, HGTV takes over. I dream about houses. Not just normal houses, but houses with all kinds of strange nooks, crannies, and extra rooms. Like last night. I was dreaming about my house--sort of--when I started turning corners and found a huge laundry room that looks like it came out of Pottery Barn catalog, then a guest room I didn't know existed (like you can suddenly discover new rooms in your own house).

This isn't the first time, though. I dream about houses with multiple staircases, secret passages, second kitchens, rooms full of antique furniture--clearly, I have decorating and remodeling issues. That, or cleaning. Oh yeah; definitely cleaning.

Guilt now prods me to clean my kitchen.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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I haven't had any of these picks for a while, not because I'm not interested in men (who could lose interest in men?), but because the schedule was so packed, I didn't have time or energy to focus on them properly. (Husbands everywhere are rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves, "So what else is new??") But I've seen the light--or, at least, great publicity photos that have defibrillated the man engine. For your consideration:

BED LIST: RUFUS SEWELL



Okay, we're most familiar with him as Count Adhemar in A Knight's Tale, but Rufus Sewell is one of those men who shows up in a movie as the supporting male or the bad guy but ends up stealing all the attention. And there's that little thing about the soulful brown eyes and the dark curly hair. Rawr.

DINNER LIST: SAMUEL L. JACKSON



Four words: Snakes on a Plane. According to rumor, Samuel L. Jackson took the lead role from reading the title. How could he not? That movie will either be really good or so bad it's good, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (from what I hear, SoaP devotees in the blogosphere are already designing the lines to yell back at the screen at crucial moments). Gotta love a guy with a sense of humor. Plus, he's got amazing range. And a purple lightsaber by special request. And a great [expletive] command of the [expletive] English language.

Monday, August 14, 2006

busybusybusybusy

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Back in the school groove, which means nothing much else is doing any grooving. That includes housework and, as I'm sure you have surmised by now, blogging. Fear not; new Bed/Dinner List choices to be made, observations on school craziness, and more writing. Writing would be good.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cobwebs

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So I'm reading through my college magazine and come across an item about a former boyfriend. Not just a former BF, but the one who broke my heart. Everyone has one of those, right? The one who says and does all the right things, then smashes your heart and your self-esteem along with it? The one who taunts you into dialing while drunk, or evokes long epistles begging for things to be set aright? The one who haunts you during late nights?

I don't know about you, but even today, years (and I mean yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaars) later, I still get a twinge when I read that name. So, like many of us do, I Google him.

Turns out he hasn't had a horrible life despite the voodoo that my roommates and friends wished upon him. He's married to the same woman (one he dumped in spectacular fashion a couple of relationships before me, but reconciled with), has some kids, good job. He's in Rotary and holds a leadership position in his church. Fine and dandy.

I did get some evil satisfaction at the pictures, though--the Pat Riley hairdo alone
(Why in the hell do guys think that's a good look? The mind boggles) is enough to assuage some of the lingering aftereffects of having my romantic ass handed to me. That, and the fact that DH, the ONE after all, is way cuter. And not just because I say so--he's empirically cuter, even when he's all grubby from doing lawn work and especially when he's all dressed up. And our babies are gorgeous, if I do say so myself. Plus, he's unfailingly kind to old ladies and loves dogs.

So maybe I owe "The Creature" a note of thanks. After all, if I hadn't been dumped, I wouldn't have discovered a true prince.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Back to School

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Life's back to normal, which means early morning craziness, traffic, lunches, nonstop activity, more traffic, and collapse. You know, school's started. For teachers, anyway.

The first week back for teachers is five solid days of meetings, more meetings, and decorating. Fix the room. Run copies. Prepare copies. Run from place to place. Training, training, more training. Meetings again. Questions. Panic. Somehow, it'll all make sense on Monday morning when the kids--shouldn't call them that, since most of them are taller than I am--arrive.

I love the first few weeks of school. Everything is fresh and new, a veritable Plato's Cave of anticipation. It takes a couple of weeks for everything to settle into routine. Until then, magic. That, and trying to remember everyone's name.

I remember standing in front of the room when I was a brand new teacher amazed that someone would pay me for doing what I did. I'm still amazed, though I admit the amount of the pay could use a goose. I have the best damn jobs in the world--teaching and writing. Getting paid for doing what I love is still a thrill.

Now, if I can only get someone to pay me for the writing part...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Minor Irritants

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Okay, I must stop niggling over movie goofs at IMDb. Way too much time-suck involved. I really don't have time to explain over and over about stupid stuff like how Flicka in the book is a sorrel, not a freakin' palomino, but there you are.

Then again, some little niggling things just must be addressed. Here are three:

1) Stop, for love of Pete, saying and writing "can't help but." Follow "can't help" with a participle. I can't help wanting to smack people who don't.

2) Victoria has ONE secret. One. Her secret is not plural. See here.

3) The mistress of Tara's name is spelled with two "t's": Scarlett O'Hara.

Others?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Okay, This Is Annoying

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Is it just me who finds the whole "upgrade to the newest newest version of all your software RIGHT NOW" urgency of Internet communications just a bit obnoxious? Hello, like some of us can't afford to buy new computers, operating systems, software, etc. the second the new version comes out?

Can you guess that I can't download a file I really need because in the 'net world, I'm practically a Luddite with my upgrades? Grrr.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: KEANU REEVES



Yes, I know. Keanu Reeves will always be, in some respect, Ted "Theodore" Logan, a floppy-haired stoner. But let's face it. Mr. Man is gorgeous, and we loved him in Something's Gotta Give (okay, Diane Keaton ended up with Nicholson, as she should have, but who amongst the female audience wasn't yelling "You go, girl!" when she hooked up with hot young Dr. Keanu?). And he can save the world from mad bombers and wacked-out computers. Plus, there are pix on the 'net of his naked butt. And it's cute, too.

DINNER LIST: JACK BLACK



Picture this: Jack Black. Snooty waiter. Mayhem caught on video. Would that be priceless, or what? I had to pick Jack today because DD is obsessed with School of Rock (which is also priceless). And, anyone willing to wax his chest and don "stretchy pants" has got to be fun.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Job Interview

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Conservative clothing choice, check.
Resume, check.
Positive attitude, check.

I answer the questions. I look at both of the interviewers. I explain myself. I get to ask questions. Everything seems to go fine. So why am I so nervous?

Because in the ultimate wisdom of my state, I may not be good enough to keep teaching at my own school (read: my--and my colleagues'--numbers aren't high enough), so in order to keep my job, I have to re-apply. I don't plan to bore you with the many, many reasons why this is farcical, not the least of which is my continued dedication to the school and its students despite the fact that transferring elsewhere would mean a huge drop in my workload and overall stress.

News flash: If students at a school continue to fail, and the school has been working its collective *ss off to help them succeed, perhaps the interviews need to be conducted with the students and their parents.

But that would be political suicide, so here I am, all dressed up, with no definitive timeline for when I'll find out whether I have my job, or if today was a total waste of makeup.

Education in these United States. Never have so many done so much for numbers on an almighty spreadsheet. Is there any wonder we're having trouble attracting and keeping quality teachers? Talk amongst yourselves.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: KARL URBAN



I hate to fall headlong into clichéville, but bad boys are darned attractive. DH has been watching Bourne movies again, and bad boy assassin in The Bourne Supremacy is the luscious Karl Urban, better known as Éomer in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I'd ride his Riddermark, if you knowhuti'msayin'.

DINNER LIST: COLIN POWELL



Words don't begin to express how impressed I am with Colin Powell. This is one fiercely intelligent man. I think he got a bum deal in Term 2, but that's just me. You know that feeling of relief when you finally get out of a job that makes you nuts, largely because your boss makes goofy decisions no reasonably intelligent person would make? I hope that's what Colin's feeling these days. Maybe I could get him to dish over pie. Men love pie.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Viva El Nacho!

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Okay, so the kids and I take DH out for Father's Day. Steak lunch, custom-smoked ribs and pork loin for dinner followed by homemade ice cream dessert thanks to my baby bro, who's into that sort of thing, and a trip to the megaplex to see Nacho Libre.

OMG. Laughed my butt off at Jack Black's butt in "stretchy pants." This movie is completely juvenile, as in sneeze-black-beans-out-your-nose- and-get-the-crap-kicked-out-of-you-by-a-couple-of-midget-luchadors- who-look-and-act-like-Ewoks-on-crack juvenile. Too funny. Plus, El Esqueleto does one hell of a Wilhelm Scream.

Sad to say, but this one has to go in the library, right alongside Napoleon Dynamite and School of Rock. But from a family whose acid test for married compatibility is enduring a family screening of Better Off Dead, with most of the family chiming in to classic lines such as "He snorts nasal spray? Know where I can score some?" "I'm gonna activate your dental plan!" and "I want my two dollars!", what did you expect?

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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BED LIST: JOSH LUCAS



I'm a sucker for Southern men, especially Southern men with killer smiles and twinkling eyes. Check, check, and check. Wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers, if you know what I mean.

DINNER LIST: KURT LODER



Dating myself here--I was watching when MTV launched (the first video played, of course, was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles). As a result, I have a close attachment to some of the original veejays, but especially to Kurt Loder, who was a Jon Stewart-like smarter-than-the-regular-news-guys guy for that era. He's still going strong, still interesting, still a great writer, which makes him all the more desireable for a dinner date.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What I’m Doing During Summer Vacation

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I have never, in my eighteen years of teaching, assigned a “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” essay. For one, summer vacation would have to be a tangible entity in order for anyone to be “over” it (yes, I also get cranky when people “plan on” something, especially when that something is not corporeal, like a table). For another thing, “What I Did . . . Yada Yada” essays are typically mind-numbingly boring, and any teacher who assigns one volunteers to descend to Dante’s Fifth Circle of Hell (with the wrathful and gloomy) while grading them.
Then again, summer vacation is a wonderful time wherein teachers gasp fresh air for the first time in ten months and recommit to important things like rest and sanity. So without further ado, here are things I’m planning to do (NOTE: not “planning on doing”) during my summer vacation:

Sleep. Sleep and I are nodding acquaintances (pardon the horrific pun) during the school year. Sleep and I will become best friends during the summer.
Eat. Eating and I are best friends during the school year. Unfortunately, she’s one of those friends who’s always underfoot at the worst times. Eating and I will keep healthy, regular appointments during the summer that look nothing like the wanton midnight pasta-fests I have when grades are due.
Clean. Although a fire hose and a push broom may be tempting weapons in my losing battle against the tide of clutter, I should probably throw out some stuff. Definitely any pictures where my behind looks like the ad-banner side of a Lynx bus.
Laugh. Long, lazy summer nights are far more fun when you’re giggling along with romantic comedies. Tourists sporting the socks-with-sandals look are good for a chuckle, too.
Play. Sometimes this will look like redecorating. Most of the time, it will look like my children have discovered a new friend who really needs to touch up her roots.
Love. My very own hero and I celebrate our anniversary in the summer. He and I will be __("ing" verb)__ to commemorate the occasion.
Read. Reading selections will be chosen with care, not forced upon me because I assigned them. I may even get around to reading all the books I brought home from National last summer.
Write. Writing will not resemble panicked lists containing “Call So-and-So’s mother about bad test grade,” “Sign permission slip,” and “Milk!!” Writing will consist of coherent prose about characters and events, something resembling an original work of fiction.

So there you have it, my plan for summer vacation. It’s a lot to pack into two months, but it’s a great way to put off having to think about lesson plans for next year!
See you at the beach.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Here We Go Again

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Alberto is coming! Alberto is coming!

And with that, the 2006 hurricane season really begins. It's pouring outside right now--not that I'm complaining, given the near-drought we've been experiencing the past couple of months--but today really felt like Seattle. Gray. Wet. Depressing. At least it's not 55 degrees, and after Señor Alberto makes landfall, we'll probably revert to our usual sunshine. And insane humidity, but hey, at least we're not getting dosed with 24/7 It's Armageddon!! messages on TV. Yet.

Only five and a half months left of hurricane season...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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Back to the boys.

BED LIST: PIERCE BROSNAN



He just gets better looking, doesn't he? We all swooned over Remington Steele, panted over him as Bond, James Bond, and got the hots amidst The Thomas Crown Affair. But we fell in love during the "run-by fruiting" in Mrs. Doubtfire. Tall, dark, and devastating. And Irish. Yep, we're down for the count.

DINNER LIST: DENIS LEARY



Everyone's inner smartass could use a tuneup now and again. What better tutor than Denis Leary? He's quick on his feet, sharp, funny as hell. Plus, he has a soft spot for firefighters and puts his money where is mouth is (his Leary Firefighters Foundation was the second-quickest to respond after 9-11). All in all, a great guy. Not an a****** in the slightest (although his song about them nails American self-absorption).
 

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