Friday, March 30, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


*sigh* He just gets better looking as he gets older. And I think I prefer him older. Given a choice between the Richard Gere of An Officer and a Gentleman (who's a bit of a jerk, truth to tell) and the Richard Gere who twinkles and tap dances his way through Chicago as smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn, I throw myself on the mercy of the court.


Lots of talk buzzing about Sen. John Edwards this week, largely because of his wife (the trés cool Elizabeth Edwards). I'd love to sit down and chat with him--her, too, because aside from all the political stuff and the background stuff (he's a Carolina boy like my Daddy), the two of them seem to have figured out one of the great questions of life, which is how to build and maintain a strong marriage. Seems more people in the country could use a sit-down on that subject. Considering that they've been married as long as they have through as much as they have, they'd be a great pair to learn from.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Congrats All Around!

Rita and GH calls are going out to Romance Writers of America folks today, and several friends and chapter mates of mine have gotten the jingle! Congratulations to:
  • Teresa Elliott Brown, GH for Novel With Strong Romantic Elements, Remembering How to Make Music
  • Kresley Cole, Rita for Paranormal, A Hunger Like No Other
  • Kathleen O'Brien, Rita for Romantic Suspense, Quiet as the Grave
  • Roxanne St. Claire, double Rita nominations for Romantic Novella "You Can Count on Me" in the I'll Be Home for Christmas anthology and "'Tis the Silly Season" in A NASCAR Holiday
  • Kay Stockham, Rita for Long Contemporary, Man With a Past
Props to my girl Melynda Beth Skinner for her Unofficial Finalists weblink, a heavy favorite on call day.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Shout Outs!

Teacher friend Michelle (who is also a writer friend these days) emailed to say that one of her blogging peeps gave the dish a shout out today. chez mimi is tres thrilled and would like to return the favor. Skip on over to Affairs of the Pen for cool writer-related blogstuff.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


DH and Comic Book man are on their way to see 300 this evening, starring Scotsman Gerard Butler as King Leonidas of the Spartans. Considering how buff this particular Spartan happens to look, we think Queen Gorgo was a bit hasty in telling him to "come back with your shield, or on it." Then again, "on it" sounds a bit fun...


DH and I figured more warping of the offspring was in order, so we put Mr. Bean on the Netflix queue. Let me just say that watching my kids watch Mr. Bean construct a sandwich in the park is well worth the cost of admission. Plus, he does a hilarious sketch in his Rowan Atkinson Live video about what happens in hell, with him playing the devil as concierge, that answers once and for all what happens to whom (you'd be surprised). And the mostly pantomime Richard III. Excuse me--laughing so hard now I have to go potty.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Birthday Babes

In one of the weirder bits of cosmic woo-woo, two of my very bestest friends both have birthdays today! One has decamped--tres unfortunately--to Texas, but she's in town this week. The other is one of my oldest and dearest. We met in seventh grade geography class. Fourth period, so we had lockers in the same block. She is one of the few, the proud, to whom I can say, "Lake Titicaca, Lake Maracaibo" and have her laugh her ass off (there's a good reason). She's also my only non-family post-college roommate--aside from DH, of course--and a devoted and loyal Parrothead. Why wouldn't I love this woman?

The cards I picked out for theme celebrate enduring friendship and female feistiness. Jungle Goddesses, indeed. I'm a lucky, lucky gal!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm Ashamed to Admit...

This teacher listserv I'm on launched an interesting conversation last week. We're all English teachers, so there's a great expectation "out there" that we have read everything. And I mean everything. One brave soul on the list ventured as how she hadn't read Title X and basically didn't intend to, ever, and did any of the rest of us feel the same way?

Honey, the floodgates opened. The resulting 100+ posts convinced me that I'm not a freak for hating The Scarlet Letter (and I mean all of it, not just "The Custom House"), and that there are better ways to spend my time than with the cetology chapter of Moby-Dick.

Most of the titles discussed were literary classics, but I was surprised how many folks used the discussion as an opportunity to take potshots at genre fiction. Harry Potter suffered the slings and arrows, and of course, someone had to get snippy about romance. As the writer put it, "not just romance, but a Fabio-on-the-cover romance."

Quelle horreur. As if genre fiction, by virtue of its being genre, is less worthy of our time and attention than, say, some of the pretentious sludge fawned over in the NYT Book Review. I have precious little spare time as it is, so if I spend it reading, I want a satisfying ending. Doesn't have to be happy, but I prefer satisfying. None of this nihilist postmodern depressing crap for me. I didn't listen to the Smiths in the 80s, and I don't think Morrissey in print is too tempting nowadays.

At any rate, here's a snip from my response on the listserv:
I do not bestir myself to read Hemingway novels. Short stories, yes. Novels, no way. Being force-fed The Sun Also Rises once was enough to turn me off to the rest. I also hate The Scarlet Letter, Heart of Darkness, and most Victorian novelists. I wasn't particularly impressed with Catcher in the Rye or either of the Brontë sisters, although I love Jane Austen. Faulkner is my homeboy.

I haven't read The Awakening. Jury's out on whether I will. I don't think I'll ever read Kerouac or more Russian literature.
I'm sure there's more (and you'd be horrified), but I'll stop there. Your thoughts?

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, two very fine Irishmen:


The face is wonderful, and the voice matches. Just enough roughness for interest. Yummy!


I've always thought Peter O'Toole should have been cast as Dumbledore in all the Harry Potter movies. He has the twinkle in his eye and the mileage to pull off the most powerful wizard in the world. His career is nearly as colorful as his life has been. And he's Irish. That means great stories, long into the night.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Birthday Boy

Today is DH's birthday, so we're having a red-blooded American male celebration. First up, one of the best things about Florida: spring training! Astros vs. Marlins at Osceola County Stadium (Marlins win, 9-8).

It's a gorgeous day, so we're stylin' topless:

Can you say, SPF 60?

Then it's off for his free steak at Charley's. He splits the porterhouse with DS, I split the Kansas City Strip with DD, and we still take home extra for steak and eggs in the morning.

Dessert? Well, he is a red-blooded American male. You figure it out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ain't It Always the Way...

Spring break, and I have a sick child. Of course. Someone always gets sick when we have a break from school. This time, it's DS. Sounds like a barking seal. So we're on our way to the doc today so he won't be sounding like a seal colony by the end of the week. Urk.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Picket Shock

We're in the market for some fence. I have lovely neighbors, both of whom have fences. That means two parts of my back yard have a fence. All we need to do is finish off the other two sides, add gates, do two small repairs, and we'll have a fenced back yard. The dog will be ecstatic. He'll have room to run and some doggy privacy, and I won't have to put up with quite so much barking in my ear when he wants to go out, like he's doing now.

So I get a couple of fence companies to come out an estimate. I'm thinking a few hundred dollars. It's not like we're fencing the whole thing, mind you. We're talking less than 100 feet total. More like 65 or so. And then I get the estimates.

$1800 FOR THAT MUCH FENCE?? Are you freakin' kidding me?? Hurricane repairs are long since over for this area. There's more fencing supply than demand. Still, $1,800??

I am so in the wrong business.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


I think many American women would break into prison for a shot at Mr. Miller.


Clint Eastwood is the original Hollywood badass. I think that even in his 70s, he's far tougher than a lot of folks out there. Wide range, too. Not many men could pull off The Man With No Name, Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and director of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Or win four Oscars, Best Director and Best Picture for both Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. This is the kind of man you want to spend all night talking to, because there's so much going on behind that Dirty Harry façade.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bye, Bye FCAT

Testing season is officially over. The boxes are loaded and on their way back to Tallahassee. This means two things:
  1. We can let out the breath we've been holding and take another so we can hold it until the infernal school grades come out in June.
  2. The students will assume that they have nothing left to do for the school year.
One problem with high-stakes testing is that the chatter over the test gets so loud it drowns out everything else, like the whole point of school. That would be the learning part. If you're a student, and all you hear all year from the media is about FCATFCATFCATFCATFCAT, then why should you bestir yourself to do anything after the FCAT period has passed? Seems logical and reasonable, at least to them.

Let's extend the madness further. Teachers quality these days is solely determined by FCAT results, so why should teachers bother to do anything the last 1/4 of the year except clean their rooms and plan for next year? I mean, my total effectiveness will be determined/judged/measured by whether my seniors--who are on their fifth go-round with FCAT, by the way--pass the freakin' test. Never mind that if they're eighteen and still having issues, then the most brilliant teacher on the planet might not be enough to put them over the top. If their numbers aren't high, then obviously, I'm a bad teacher. Forget all that learning crap. All we care about is the spreadsheet.

Sorry I sound bitter, but I'm a true believer. I honestly believe that the work I'm doing is some of the most vital work in the country. I'm not compensated properly, and I know that. What irks me more is that I'm judged by numbers. Not by my students, not by what they have to say, not by what I invest in the job, not by the light bulbs that come on, not by the fact that minds have been opened wider and great questions are being asked, but by a spreadsheet. I am nothing more to my school board than my data. That's sad, considering that I produce young people as my end product, not flywheels.

But in this test-crazed accountability era, that's all that matters, isn't it? Get those numbers up. Screw whether the kids actually learn anything.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Stupid Dog

The one-two combo of DD and DM (aka my mother) accidentally let the dog out last night. Dog is one part dog, two parts bullet. He is one fast sucker. Fortunately for me, he decided to roam all over the cul-de-sac rather than play Kenyan marathoner.

Unfortunately for me, it was black as pitch out there, so I'm running back and forth in the dark (he's the "let you get close enough to touch the fur, but not the collar" type) with a leash praying he doesn't bolt for the main road. He didn't. He headed toward the neighbors with me in hot pursuit. He leaps the curb...and I kick it, dead on, with my left big toe.

I hope my very nice neighbors weren't listening to my not-very-nice tirade.

I caught him, brought him back, went to bed. This morning, my toe is a lovely shade of aubergine and doesn't want to bend much.

Stupid dog, for making me look so stupid.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


This is Tom Selleck the way we best remember him, in all his moustached, hairy-chested, Magnum P.I. glory. He's aged well, of course--men this good looking always do, the bastards. But there's something about revisiting a junior high crush that amps up the sigh-meter. Yep, I'd investigate him in private.


It would be interesting to see whether Brian Williams and my brother think alike about Iraq and our continuing involvement. I don't imagine you can undergo an IED attack and the subsequent hospital stay and therapy without having some very interesting thoughts about our involvement in the Middle East. I'd be happy to pay for dinner to find those out.

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