Monday, November 3, 2008

Where in the world is Miss Viola?

It has been brought to my attention that I, um, haven't written a blog post in a year! Oops.

It's not that nothing exciting has happened to little old me. We've just been busy like everyone else.

The coolest thing I have done recently is attend the premiere for the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." The book is incredible, and the movie is equally moving and powerful. Believe me, it is a story you will not forget. For me, this book belongs on the shelf beside To Kill a Mockingbird, The Kite Runner, and The Book Thief. It will break your heart, but as the director of the film said, it's a story that needs to be told again and again to remind us of the dangers of prejudice and racism.

So yeah, the movie was great, and yes, I was sobbing at the end, but one of the best parts of the night was the cocktail party afterwards! I met John Boyne! I met David Thewlis, and for those of you who don't know who he is, he plays Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films! Aahhh!

Other exciting moments for Miss Viola would include:

1) I became addicted to Crest Whitestrips.

2) I moved. Back to the city I originally came from. Previous blog posts mention my daughter and her issues with moving. Well, that was the result of move number one, which precedes our most recent move back in February. I know, I know...we get her settled, and then we take off again because of Dad's job. We're done now though. I swear.

3) Began obsessing over "The Tudors."

4) Read War and Peace. Finally.

5) Maintained an obsession with "Friday Night Lights." Still love Tim Riggins. Currently sad that I don't have Direct TV and can't watch the show until January.

6) Read a gazillion books. Favorites from the last year of reading are: Special Topics in Calamity Physics and The Gargoyle.

7) Learned to wakeboard! It wasn't pretty, but I did it. :)

8) Found a ton of friends on Goodreads. This is the greatest website. I've found so many nerdy pals who love books and the written word as much as I do. It's so much fun to share titles and obsess over characters and storylines.

9) Um, so I never did get back into working out very much, but never fear! I have signed up for another half-marathon and will begin training um, very soon!

And right now, I'm preparing to vote tomorrow, which is very exciting. This election is making me a bit crazy, but I'm thrilled with the interest. How exciting is it that people actually care about the presidential election again?

Finally, I'm going to a Nerdfighter event tomorrow night with John Green and Hank Green! I love all of John Green's books. In my humble opinion, he's one of the greatest writers out there right now, and not just in the YA field. It should be great to meet him.

And that's a quick update for all of my readers, or shall I say, my mother. :) Have a super day, and get out and vote tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


It's a grrrrreat day in Miss Viola's writing world! Yesterday I sent my manuscript off to an agent who requested it, and today, I received two more requests! This is so ... well, it makes me very happy! Wahoo!

The other two were requests for a partial manuscript, and I've had plenty of rejections at this point, so I understand that more are sure to come, but still ... I'm trying sooooo hard not to get my hopes up, but this is difficult when you have so much respect for the agents. One is a new agent off to a great start building her client list and making sales, another is very well-established in the business and has a wonderful client list and record of sales, and the other is my very favorite agent blogger! I'm so excited!

Obviously. Shall we pause to count the exclamation points in this blog post?

Other news: today is my baby's birthday. He's four years-old today. I can't believe it. How did he grow up so fast? He's so funny and has enjoyed telling everyone, including random strangers at McDonald's, that "I was once free but I'm four today you know? It's my birfday and I'm four now. Happy Birthday!" Mind you, he was wearing a gold "Happy Birthday" crown, so it wasn't necesary to tell everyone about his big day, but still, it is his day, and I'm all about proclaiming one's birthday to the world.

For his bday dinner he chose sloppy joes and french fries, plus we also were supposed to bring treats for his preschool class today. It was so funny this morning when I asked him, "Are you excited to bring treats for your class?"

He clapped his hands. "Oh yes, I can't wait! Mrs. Grover is going to be so happy when I bring sloppy joes and french fries to Bear class!"

Obviously, we chose to bring the oatmeal cream pies instead, only after much convincing and persuasion on my part. He just doesn't see how bringing sloppy joes and fries to preschool at 9:00 AM could be a problem. :)

Anyway, we're all happy around Miss Viola's house today. Last week was insane, filled with court trials (seriously! I had to testify! Won't get into details, but yes, it was intense!), vomiting, Halloween parties, and scrapbooking. Yes, you read that correctly. I made a scrapbook. Never have I attempted such a thing, but I must say, it turned out pretty well considering it was my first effort. It was for my sister-in-law's bday, and I think she was happy with it.

This week, I have to make cakes. With icing tips. Not just square cakes either. Bob the Builder and Tinkerbell! The big family party is this weekend, and I committed to making cakes for my son and daughter (her bday is next week), but now, I admit to getting a bit frightened. Perhaps I should call the bakery now. Just in case.

Oh, and I need to say that my affection for Tom Brady is officially over. It was based purely on attraction, and yes, he may still look scrumptious despite the win over the Colts on Sunday. I, however, can no longer support him. Stetson ad or not, my devotion to the Peyton and the Colts is much stronger than my lust for Mr. Brady. Sorry, Tom. We're over.

What I'm reading: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
How many miles I'm running: Just two per day, but I'm back to three days a week! Must continue ... the Galloping Gobbler race on Tgiving day is in a few weeks!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My pants and Manwhores

It's Thursday, and my friend is coming to visit from Indy! Wahoo!

A few thoughts today ...

1) I'm still having fun with book titles and "in my pants." How about ...

A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY ... in my pants
A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT ... in my pants
QUEEN OF BABBLE ... in my pants
COCKTAILS FOR THREE ... in my pants
SOMETHING BLUE ... in my pants
MY SISTER'S KEEPER ... in my pants
THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN ... in my pants

Any suggestions?

2) My picture of Sir Hotness, Tom Brady, has sparked quite a discussion amongst my readers about who really is the hottest QB in the NFL. Technically, Brady is the winner hands down; however, there are a few concerns about Brady that have garnered Trent Green and Brett Favre honorable mention status. Apparently Brady's hairdo doesn't suit Reader Number One, who feels as if looks like he belongs in an episode of "Chips" rather than our Hot QB list. The recent Stetson ad featuring the King of the Butt Chin have been somewhat convincing, but then, this whole issue of his alleged manwhore status creeps up.

This leads me to wonder ... what exactly constitutes a manwhore? Are you a manwhore because you have sex with gazillions of people? Are you a manwhore because you date one supermodel after another? Are you a manwhore because you have sex with more than half the female population of your high school graduating class? Are you a manwhore because you have a baby with your former girlfriend but don't reunite with the baby mommy after the pregnancy is announced and the child is born? And more importantly, when fantasizing and drooling over some of the hottest and best athletes in the world that you never, ever in your life will meet, hook up with, or speak to because you are a stay-at-home mom in Indiana who is happily married with two children, is manwhore status really an issue?

Clearly, we need some clarification on this matter. After all, the stakes are high in the Miss Viola and Friends Hottest NFL Quarterback Competition, and according to KZ, Trent Green hugs his daughters on the sidelines, and Brett Favre? Do we even need to talk about what kind of class act he is? Still, can they compete with this?

3) I saw "We Own the Night" with Wa-Keen Phoenix the other night. Yes, I do know this isn't the correct spelling, but seriously, do you know how to spell it? Beyond the first letter, which I believe is a J, I admit to having no clue. And since I have a first grader, I'm quite accustomed to inventive spelling, so I thought I would give it a try. Anyway, I loved the movie. If you're into movies with a bit of drugs, crime, police, 1970's music, and of course, Wa-Keen, then go for it. For my non-existent male readers, Eva Mendes (who isn't pretty at all!!! yeah, right!) will catch your attention, I assure you. I'm pretty certain that if my husband sees this movie, Thandie Newton will get knocked off his top list of hotties by the first scene of the movie alone. The acting by Robert Duvall, Wa-Keen, and Mark Wahlberg is great, Eva is hot, the story is intense and will keep you on the edge of your seat, plus the soundtrack of 70's music (including two songs by Blondie!) is great. I highly recommend it. Great date night movie.

And now, Miss Viola is off to save the world by ... going to the grocery store, with a toddler, in the rain! Have a super day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


CT: Does this photo convince you that Mr. Brady does not belong on "Chips" after all? How does this hairdo work for you?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Random Things

So many things on my mind today.

1) Tom Brady. Thanks to my hayfever headache yesterday, I was able to garner up some sympathy from my husband and was allowed to stay in bed ALL day. Usually I would read, but I couldn't pull myself away from Tom. Like I told my friend this morning, I am a Colts fan and love Peyton. I love his jovial side he displays during commercials. I love his manners and graciousness I've been priviledged enough to experience firsthand. I love his football intelligence. Peyton is our man, and I do feel a bit bad about lusting over the quarterback of our rival. I really, really do, but I just can't help it. Tom Brady is HOT. I watched yesterday's game between the Pats and the Cowboys with more interest and intensity than I've watched any Colts game lately. Sorry, but Tom is a vision, and I enjoy ogling.

2) I have a faithful reader, and dearest one, you may remember me mentioning how much I LOVED the book Looking for Alaska by John Green. I have recently discovered the author's website and have become addicted to Brotherhood 2.0, in which John and his brother communicate solely with videos (is the correct term vlog?) for an entire year. These two are so funny, I find myself watching video after video and ignoring household chores. How is it, that when I conquer one addiction, another one creeps up on me? At least this one is a healthy addiction in that it makes me laugh like crazy.

Thanks to John and Hank, I'm now a self-proclaimed Nerdfighter (more on that tomorrow) and cannot stop myself from using the phrase "in my pants" at all times. The game, if you want to call it that, is to end every book title with the phrase "in my pants." This is quite fun as you can imagine. Just think of it ... To Kill a Mockingbird in my pants. The Lovely Bones in my pants. The Choice in my pants. Eat, Pray, Love in my pants. New Moon in my pants. You get the point. It's fun and again, I find myself chuckling to myself as I walk around my house. Problem is, I don't just use the phrase when spouting off book titles. I find myself inserting it everywhere, which is funny to me, but perhaps not as funny to telemarketers or cash register employees at supercenters.

3) Still slowly reading Love in the Time of Cholera. And oh yes, I also began Joe College by Tom Perotta. When not laughing out loud at my many "in my pants" comments, I'm busy laughing with and about Danny as he drives the Roach Coach around New Jersey. Sorry Cholera for getting distracted so early. I am not giving up. I'm on page 30 and yes, I WILL finish and love this book! I am an English major and will do this! Soon, I will be spouting off intelligent quotes from serious, literary fiction instead of shouting about my pants.

4) I worked out this morning. Can feel butt shrinking. Wahoo!

5) Friday Night Lights ... oh my goodness. Connie Britton deserves an emmy. Every time she cries, I just want to hug her. I remember those days with a newborn, and to think of being alone with a crying baby and a teenager ... yikes. The only thing I can say about Mrs. T's teenager is, "Julie, Julie, Julie." What in the world is she doing? I get it. I was a teenage girl once, so I suppose I understand this rebellious streak she is embarking upon. Still, I have to cringe as I watch her make the mistakes she's making. And Lyla ... I may feel worse for her than I do Mrs. T. Now that she has found Jesus (good for her), she has to refuse Tim Riggins! How terrible! I would be in serious trouble if that boy was my neighbor. Seriously, every time he grins, I have to cover my face because I'm embarrassed. Where was Tim Riggins back in the day at NHS???? I sooo needed a boy like him to get me in trouble.

6) Big Shots. Still loving it. More laughs for Miss Viola.

Nothing more to add today. Haircuts and school pictures tomorrow! Wahoo! Have a great day!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Queen of France ...

Well, she wet her pants. At least that is the word on the street at the playground. Yes, according to my daughter and her little jump roping friends, the queen of France wet her pants, right in the middle of the wedding dance. How many puddles did she make? This varies according to the talents of the person jumping. Today, the queen got up to 26 puddles before the best jumper got caught on the rope and stopped.

Yes, these are the words to their favorite jump rope song. It's cute I suppose, but different than my old favorite "Down Down Baby, down by the rollercoaster ..." Still, it's better than this one:

"Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Cherry on Top!
How many boyfriends do you got?"

Can everybody say ewwwww!

How many boyfriends do you got?

I cringed when I heard my daughter say that as she was practicing in our garage the other night. I said, "Honey, why don't you say 'how many boyfriends do you have?'"

She frowned. "Mom, then it wouldn't rhyme. It has to be got or it won't work."

I sighed and smiled, patting her on the shoulder. "I know, sweetie. I understand the importance of rhyme, but you see, when you use the word 'got' at the end of that question, well, it just makes you girls sound like you aren't very smart, which obviously isn't true. You're all such bright, well-spoken little gals. You certainly want to sound intelligent, don't you?"

She looked at me like I was nuts, so I continued. "I'm sure there are other alternatives. How about ... Ice Cream, Ice Cream with a cherry! My boyfriend is really hairy!"

Again with the "My mom is nuts" look.

"Or, what about ... Ice Cream, Ice Cream cherry on top! My boyfriend likes to clean with a mop!"

She rolled her eyes at me and turned away to continue practicing.

Husband just looked at me and said, "Wow."

Whatever. Does he really expect me to say nothing? I'm an English teacher. I admit that I'm not perfect and often make mistakes when writing and speaking, I'm sure of that. But geesh. How many boyfriends do you got? Ewww.

Other than learning about the Queen of France and her bladder control issues, I've also learned that, en route to his service in the Korean war, my great uncle protected his friends while they were swimming in the straights of Messina off the coast of Italy by shooting his M-1 rifle into the shark infested waters. In addition, he also knew the guy who drove Mussolini's car (seriously!) and was ambushed in Korea on Thanksgiving Day and was able to hop a train to escape. This of course was after they ran into some sort of headquarters in Seoul, Korea and found several decapitated bodies of prisoners!

How do I know all of this? Because I'm typing his memoirs, and let me tell you, I had no idea he had such an interesting life! It's crazy hearing about his childhood where he collected and sold corn cobs to make money, served in WWII, fell in love with his wife in Italy, and barely survived a cold winter during his time in Korea. It's pretty amazing hearing about all of it, and I wish my grandparents and parents would write down their stories so we could have them forever.

I know I mentioned my favorite TV shows yesterday, but I have a new one! Bionic Woman! I LOVE it! Since Buffy and Sydney Bristow are no longer on TV, we need a girl who can kick some serious butt! She's awesome!

Still reading Love in the Time of Cholera. Only 20 pages in.

Enjoy Grey's Anatomy and those cuties from Big Shots tonight! Wahoo!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"It's just the best, Mom."

"What?" I asked, retrieving another card from the fish pond.

Little Man set his newest match (Big G and Little g) in his match pile, smiled and said, "You, Mommy. Just you."

Did you hear that? I'm the best. Just Me! Isn't that precious? I think so, especially since just twenty four hours prior to being the best, my main man and I weren't on such good terms because I wouldn't let him have a snack in bed. He stood at the sink, slobbering and sobbing while brushing his teeth, saying, "But why, Mommy? Why can't I have a snack in mine bed? It's mine bed! I can do it if I want to. Daddy lets me eat in mine bed."

"Yes, sweetie," I said, wiping the toothpaste off his cheeks, "I know Daddy let you eat mashed potatoes in bed the other night, but Mommy is, um, how shall I say this? Mommy is ... smarter than that."

Yes, you read that correctly. Daddy actually handed the child a small bowl of mashed potatoes to eat. In his bed. In the dark. At 8:30 at night. Why?

"Because he was hungry and wouldn't stop crying," Daddy said.

Hmm. It's no surprise, when I refused to let my little guy have some goldfish before bed, that he got mad and finally said, "Fine. I'm not going to be your best friend for a long time."

Sure, we could talk about Daddy's mashed potatoes and how INSANE that is, but let's focus on me instead. My best friend status was ripped away, but that was last week, and now, I'm the best again! Isn't it great?

Something that hasn't been the best lately is my writing. I've been slacking. This isn't good because when I don't write at all, it just makes everything else just not have it's ... how shall I say it? I can't describe it really. I guess I should just say that I'm just happier when I'm writing and playing around in the worlds I've invented. Sometimes though I get caught up in submissions, writing a synopis, and basically anything that has to do with publishing, and when I do that, I get nothing accomplished. The writing itself is a blessing, but the process of trying to get published is daunting, and it's not difficult for me to become obsessed with statistics and technicalities of a query or author bio. When I let that happen, well, nothing else happens! Nothing good anyway. So, I'm moving on!

I'm happy to say that I'm back to blogging, even when I feel as if I have nothing exciting to share, and I'm going to finish my YA book today (rough draft). Then, I'm back to submitting for Miss Jennifer. Wahoo! I'm on a mission!

Some super things that have been happening would obviously include the return of network television shows. Top on my list still include Friday Night Lights, Grey's Anatomy, and Prison Break, but I also love Big Shots, and I'm bummed because I heard it isn't doing well. How can it not do well? I'm confused. Obviously it has an awesome time slot following Grey's, but it's funny and has Dylan McDermott and Michael Vartan! Come on, People! Please watch. And if you still aren't watching Friday Night Lights, I have to say, you are soooo missing out! Honestly, it's the best hour on television, and don't start yapping to me about House and how it is the greatest hour on television! It may be great, but come on! Aren't there enough medical dramas out there? We're talking about football! And high school! And real people drama with extremely good-looking people! And that adorable Kyle Chandler! What's not to love about Friday Night Lights?

In addition to being consumed with TV, I've been reading some great stuff lately. Richard Paul Evans is coming to Ft. Wayne for an author signing at Mitchell Books, so I reread The Last Promise, which is a nice love story filled with descriptions of art, the Italian countryside, Italian foods and recipes, and wine festivals. I also snatched up the latest by Nicholas Sparks. As usual, you have a romance with two impossibly good-looking people in their thirties with charming friends and families, a bit of drama, and a beautiful South Carolina setting in the background. It was a nice, quick read to fill up a Sunday afternoon.

My favorites that I'm recommending to everyone are: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl and The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik. I loved, loved, loved them both. So different, but both memorable to me in so many ways. I loved the narrators and know they will be with me a long time. With Special Topics, I found Blue, and I just want to meet her and wish she were a student of mine, someone I could get to know so I could hear more of her thoughts. The entire cast of characters, even though I disliked a few here and there, were disturbing at times but also very enjoyable. The hundreds of literary refences (both real and fictional) might be distracting for some, but I enjoyed them. The entire novel was just so clever and surprising, which was something I wasn't expecting at all. With Mount Joy, I absolutely loved Joe Andreson; he's the kind of guy you just want to know, as a best friend, brother, husband, or in my case, since I'm already married, someone you want your daughter to find someday. I simply adored him, and the entire story is one that makes you think about your life and appreciate what you have. I loved it so much and am sad it's over.

Now I'm starting Love in the Time of Cholera. Yes, I'm reading along with Oprah. I admit to not getting through One Hundred Days of Solitude, but I'm hoping for better luck (and a better attention span on my part) with this one. It's described as one of the greatest love stories ever written, and that is definitely my cup of tea, so I'm looking forward to it.

The cul de sac isn't exactly hopping with activity these days, so I have no other news to share. It's a quiet Wednesday around Miss Viola's house, but I'll be busy writing and watching the family while enjoying the view from my own personal Mount Joy. It truly is lovely.

Have a good day!