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!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Foot Binding and Mr. Bachelor

So I'm reading Peony in Love, and I'm getting acquainted with the long lost (thank goodness) practice of foot binding. I understand that beauty trends come and go, but come on. Back in the day, these women actually used to break the bones in their feet, wrap them up tightly with bandages, and try to make their feet look like they were about three inches big!

Foot binding isn't something I know much about, so I did a bit of research on google and saw some pictures. Frightening. Disturbing. Makes me want to run to my couch, curl my feet under my bottom and wrap up in a quilt all the way up to my neck! No touching the feet! And I claim mine are ugly, but I still don't want them broken! Yikes!

I don't care to know much more about foot binding, but something I would like to learn more about is that scrumptious Brad Womack, Bachelor Extraordinaire! I haven't watched "The Bachelor" in a few years because the girls on the show disgusted me. I could only watch so many of them prance around drunk in their bikinis vying for the guy's attention for so long, and what's worse, is that the guy always fell for it! He'd always choose a handful of flirty, giggly girls who relied on their boobs and bar dancing skills to try to reel in the guy, but leave the cute girl with some brains and a bit of class over in the corner. I had to quit watching.

But last night, I just happened to flip to that channel and stumbled upon 34-year-old Brad from Texas, and I admit to being a bit stunned. Granted, he may be like the rest, but evidence thus far shows that this guy may indeed value something other than a blonde with a nice rack. True, he did give a rose to Mallory who said, "I think you should take off your pants," but he did hand out the first impression rose to Jeni, a dancer from the Phoenix Suns, because he liked her laugh. Aside from all of that, Mr. Womack is H-O-T. They weren't kidding when they called him the hottest bachelor ever. It's true. And, he's a millionaire! What's not to love?

I should probably take a moment to say that A) I have nothing against blondes (Evidenced by the five best friends of mine who are blonde and the blonde highlights I pay the Hair God to give life to my swampy-brown-colored hair) and B) I have nothing against big boobs. In fact, if I had them, I'm sure I would use them to my advantage. I would just be sure to use my brain first. And Finally, C) I have nothing against occasional drunkenness either. I did once jump off a pontoon boat and swim amongst potential predators in the intercoastal waterways of Florida after drinking too much Guinness.

Anyway, the Bachelor is now on my TV lineup. He's too hot to miss. But, Kyle Chandler is still my new official TV boyfriend, followed closely by Wentworth Miller. Thank goodness for all the television hotties! WAHOO!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bitter, party of one ...

your table is now available.

Yep. That's where I've been lately. Lost in the Land of Bitter, sitting by myself at the table. And I have to say, it was quite lonely there. Everyone else around me has been happy and peppy and full of warm, fuzzy thoughts. I'm glad and thankful that I've been tolerated by everyone, even though I'm sure my grumpiness was quite annoying. But, you can all relax. The Bookworm has returned, happy and optimistic once again.

It all started with the Edward Cullen book signing party ending before it even began. Cousin broke her foot, so we couldn't go to the signing. Obviously, her foot was and still is the main priority, but we were both quite pouty and bummed about the cancellation of our road trip to Cinncinati. And we even got our shirts! The "Bite Me" fan club shirts arrived the day before, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. Cousin is still healing and isn't happy about the foot, but she is doing quite well despite her boot and crutches. She's getting out and about, heading to the library and bookstore, and maybe soon ... a mall! We'll see about that one. :)

I started sending out queries again, which is always draining. It's a long process, and I'm definitely happiest when writing, not when I'm sending out letters to total strangers hoping, really, really, really, hoping that they will be interested enough to ask for a partial or full manuscript. Rejections are expected, and believe me, they come. Luckily I've had success in the past and have gotten requests. I try to stay positive and tell myself that persistence will pay off, bringing more requests in the future. Still, even though I expect rejections, even though I know it's part of the process, and yes, even though I'm aware that some of the great writers of all time were rejected multiple times ... it still stinks and makes me grumpy.

When I wasn't pouting about the road trip or the queries, I was busy finishing the first season of "Friday Night Lights." I know I've said it a gazillion times, but seriously, I LOVE this show. It's definitely my new favorite, and I'm so thankful to author Sarah Dessen for talking about it on her blog. It's a show I hadn't really considered in the past, and I'm so glad I found it. There is something admirable about each character, and I love each member of the ensemble cast, particularly Coach Taylor and his wife, Tami. And I have to say, that Kyle Chandler is something else. How have I not noticed how adorable he is before? I am definitely trading in McDreamy as my boyfriend for the coach. Now you know I love this show!

Other reflections as of late:

1) Little boys talk about poop. A lot. The Little Man is always claiming he smells poop. Or he sees poop everywhere. Of course it's not poop at all. It's a piece of dirt, a leaf, or even a small toy. He knows it's not poop, and I know it's not poop. Still, that doesn't matter much when he yells, "Look at that POOP over there by that milk" in the dairy aisle at the grocery store. Any time he announces the presence of random poop out in public, innocent bystanders either A) stare at him like he's a freak or B) stare at me like I'm a horrible mother or C) look at the floor for the mysterious poop or D) do what all adults know they shouldn't do when a small child says something inappropriate ... they laugh. This, of course, is the goal for the Little Man. He loves when people laugh at his poop remarks. I, of course, do not.

2) Kids don't understand the concept of phlegm. My Big Girl has her first cold of the season and when she wakes up, coughs and snorts around for the entire 45 minutes we have together before she gets on the bus. I've explained before what the stuff is that she coughs up, but still, seeing as it's been many months since she dealt with the "nasty stuff gagging" her, it's a mystery again. My solution to this problem was vitamins, cough syrup, and hot chocolate. She went along with this plan, but she still asked, "Mom, can I just get my lungs taken out?" I laughed, which offended her for a second as she said, "Mom, I'm serious. This is getting annoring." (And no, annoring is not a typo. That's actually how she says the word.) She was frustrated (and I was grossed out) by her phlegm, but hey, it was a teachable moment. We then had a discussion about human anatomy and the value of a healthy set of lungs.

3) I read three wonderful books. I love them all so much I wish I could rush right out and buy them for everyone I know. The first was Looking for Alaska by John Green. The second was I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak. And finally, today I finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I absolutely loved all of them and am certain the narrators of these stories (Pudge, Ed Kennedy, and Blue) will stay with me a long time. If you want more specific information about each book, post a comment and I'll answer them. I would recommend any of them and would happily discuss them.

Thinking about these three novels made me think about my reading this year, and I have to say, it's been great. I always love to read, but this year I've been lucky to find many favorites, stories I know I'll want to read again and pass on to my children someday. Have you read anything similar? Any favorites you've read lately that you would like to share about?

Must go for now, but check later this week for an exciting post about the Bluffton "Free" Street Fair (we spent $60 in less than three hours) and an educational parenting piece on mashed potatoes.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Call the Press!

I worked out! My padonk-a-donk was actually moving just moments ago!

It's strange that I've been struggling so much to exercise. Those of you who know me well understand that I have a long obsession with working out. I've done my aerobics tapes so many times that I say, "Eight more! Come on, Girls!" before Denise Austin even opens her mouth. I know every step, lunge, and eight count on those tapes, and as stated above, know every word Denise or Kathy Smith politely and happily shout from my television. And I've ran my padonker all over the streets of Gwood preparing for those half-marathons. So many blisters, miles, aches, and shoes I've gone through, yet for some reason, I can't seem to make myself do it lately. Why is this?

The only thing I can come up with is the writing. I'm not going to give it up because I love it, and it's my dream. I'm going to keep at it as long as it takes (I think),but it takes time, sometimes several hours, and when I'm done, there's just no time left for my booty.

Today though, something wonderful happened that inspired me. It rained. Hard. This is good for two reasons: Number one: it made it cool off outside. Number two: it made the mosquitos vanish. This is short-lived I'm sure, but for thirty five glorious minutes today, Little Man and I went on a power walk without almost passing out and being eaten alive by pesky bloodsuckers!

We go on small walks every day, but the humidity and mosquitos have made it impossible for us to go past our cul de sac. But today, we went forever, and we went FAST. Seriously, if you haven't seen the Little Man on his Big Wheel, you probably don't understand just how fast the man can move, but trust me, it's like Nascar. He's already a legend on our street for his speed and amazing control, and if you think you can keep up with that little short stack, think again. I was in flip flops, speed-walking and sometimes running to catch up with him, and I was sweating and my hair was blowing and I swear, I could feel my butt shrinking with every step!

Not really, but still, I was moving, and the best part of it was, we were having fun together. I've decided that this is our new plan. We're going to go every day, and since I found the one bottle of mosquito spray left in the entire city at Target this morning, we may even be able to survive the bugs.

Last night I watched three more episodes of Friday Night Lights. Still loving it. I'm also still reading Looking for Alaska by John Green. It reminds me a bit of Catcher in the Rye except it's more modern and makes me laugh even more than Holden Caufield did. Some people were afraid of him, but I enjoyed him immensely. Not sure what that says about me.

Little Man was excited about school today and told me all about the new TV they got in his classroom. I was a bit concerned. I am, after all, the self-proclaimed TV nazi when it comes to my kids and what they watch. And I certainly don't want them watching TV at school, unless it is for educational purposes of course. According to my man, all TV viewing was purely educational as they watched and learned about Yoga! Now this makes me happy. I, of course, have several yoga tapes, so we can exercise again! I'm going to be the skinniest person alive! Move over Nicole Richie! Kate Bosworth step aside! Wahoo!

Oh, and I love my hair. I no longer look like a skunk. Still have many colors, but they are blended nicely. And he did something I swore I would never do: I have a few LAYERS. This was something I thought to be impossible when it comes to my hair, but it is actually working. As King Hair Stud said, "it's just going to give it movement, sweetie." Yes. This is precisely what I was thinking to myself as I was racing through my neighborhood with my hair whipping around much like Pamela Anderson's does while she struts on the beach. Yes, I have movement. In many places on my body unfortunately, but the hair is movin too!

Oh, and my "Bite Me" t-shirt still has not come in. Super Nice Cousin/Driver/Counselor Friend of Mine is certain they will arrive today. If not, we'll be getting out the puffy paint. Yikes!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New Obsession

Yesterday, I was having a small pity party for myself because my Big Girl, the one that I thought was now doing okay with her transition to a new school, drew me a picture of a sad little girl standing under a tree with a tear sliding down her cheek. She was the girl, and her name was Lonely. The title of the picture? Sadness Is in the Air.

You can imagine how this bothered me tremendously. Add the fact that our neighbor girl wasn't on the bus yesterday morning (which always bums her out), and I was feeling pretty emotional. Yes, I kept saying to myself what Big Girl's teacher told me give her the wings, but she has to fly. This may be true, but it still breaks my heart. I know that when she is at school she has fun and is doing well. Mostly, I suspect she misses me during the day. She mentioned this when I asked her why she was lonely in the picture, and some of the dramatics exist to get attention from Mom. And of course I know that we all need to be patient. We may be enjoying ourselves tremendously up here in the fort, but still, there are times when my heart strings are tugged at a bit. I miss seeing people from "home" regularly, but I also miss random things, and I suspect she does as well. I would say that at this point, it appears as if she is happy and worry-free about the move 90% of the time. The other 10% breaks my heart.

All day yesterday, until I saw her again, I felt the way a mom feels when you drop your toddler off at preschool or take them to the church nursery and they scream as you leave. Deep down inside, you know this is good for them and that they have to be independent, even if it's only just a bit because they are small. You know they will be okay, but it still hurts. And yesterday, I was melancholy, worrying about her because you know, well, that's my job. So, of course, I headed straight to the one place on this planet that can soothe me in a way no other place can ...


And I bought myself a treat because I deserved it. Right? I was emotional and needed help, so I purchased a bag of Sun Chips and the first season of Friday Night Lights on DVD, all for myself! Big Girl ended up just fine when she came home, so after I got her and the Little Man into bed, I watched four episodes, and now I'm obsessed! It is so, so, soooooo good. Seriously, I'm more excited about this show than I am Grey's Anatomy, and that's definitely saying something. I want to loan out my DVDs to all my friends so they can catch up and watch it with me. Even if they are a season behind, I'm going to recommend it to everyone. It's a great, great show.

My Little Man continues to do very well at preschool. He loves his teacher and the hermit crabs in his classroom. His teachers tell me every day how well he is doing, how nice he is to the other kids, how he makes up and sings songs for everyone, and how he loves to do the "waterfalls" project. The best part for me is that I work there, and I get to watch him out the window every day when he is at recess. It's so fun to watch him play in the little house as he marches in and out the door. He loves to open the shutters and stick his head in and out, but mostly, he walks around at recess picking flowers. For me. :) Every day I get a new bundle of beautiful weeds and the biggest hug when we reunite. I can't believe how much he has grown up. It's fun, but if I had my way, he would stay just the same as he is right now.

The Stephenie Meyer book signing is just four days away! WAHOO! The only problem is that our "Bite Me" t-shirts have not arrived. This means that we're going to have to be creative and make some which is quite stressful. I've seen the pictures of other fans at her signings, and they all have very cool shirts with original designs. This is something I do not specialize in. Evidence of this exists in our hall closet, where my 7th grade cheerleading sweatshirt is hanging. We found it when we moved, and I couldn't get rid of it. It smells like dust and mildew, but that can't disguise the fact that it is plain and boring. Granted, there were five of us who designed the sweatshirt, but still, I was in on the plan. And it is white, saying our names, our school, and our grade in block letters. Very boring, I assure you. Of course this was a long time ago, but my clothing design skills have not improved in the long time span between 7th grade and now. What can I create to show my undying love and devotion for my favorite little vampire? I'm stressed! Not really, but I do want to have something fun. Perhaps I'll think of that today when I get my hair done!

Yes, it's true! I haven't visited a salon since April, and now I'm going to see Dean who is going to make me look like a supermodel. Okay, maybe not a supermodel, but at least I will hopefully come out looking better with my hair one color instead of like a skunk with bad roots.

What I'm reading: Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles to run: Still haven't managed that. Hey, I wrote 8,230 words on Tuesday! Give me a break!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Silly Friends

I received two email messages this morning that really ruffled my feathers.

One was from my cousin/friend, who told me how gross her skin was, how fat her butt was, how ugly her clothes were, and something else that I can't remember about how gross she was. Basically, she has described herself as ugly, fat, and poorly dressed.

The other message was from another BFF, who told me how HORRIBLE a person she is because she forgot about a meeting for work and the dinner she was supposed to make for a family from church. She went on for several lines telling me how horrible and unthoughtful she is.

Hmm. One claims to just be having a bad day, and the other is just stressed out with a workload too big for her shoulders to carry. It's okay to have a bad day, and I'm glad they don't keep it all bottled up inside. I certainly have those days where I hate everything about myself and can't seem to find any redeeming qualities about Miss Viola. On these sort of days, there is nothing worse than feeling alone. There is nothing better than having a friend pick you back up. I'm glad they came to me, so I can try to make them see just how utterly fabulous they both are.

You don't know who I'm talking about, but let me tell you, my "ugly and fat" cousin/friend is anything but ugly and fat. In fact, my husband always says about her, "she is so pretty. She gets prettier all the time." It's true. She has curly hair that I would die for. She looks pretty naturally, without tons of makeup. Some of us have to cover up our flaws, and despite what she thinks, to the rest of us, it doesn't look like she has anything to cover up. As for being fat, well, I remember at church one time, I saw her walk in with her husband. I was sitting with my grandma who leaned over and said, "Look at her. She's so little and petite. She's so cute." It's true, and it makes me sad that she doesn't see it.

As for my "horrible" friend, well, that's almost funny. Of all the people I have ever met in my life, she is the most thoughtful, selfless, kindest person I've ever known. She always does more things for other people than she does for herself. She's often tired because she gives so much of herself, whether it be cooking meals, sending surprise gifts in the mail, adding people to her mile long prayer list, never forgetting birthday gifts or special times in the lives of her friends and family, or planning surprise bday parties for her husband. Trust me, she makes the rest of us look bad, and she thinks she is horrible! So, so untrue. She's kind and genuine and sweet all the time, and she makes me a better person just because she's my friend.

I once had a boss who wasn't complimentary often, but when she did, she was honest and did it with style. I'm not sure if my post today has any style or special flair, but I wanted to take the opportunity to praise my two friends who are just having a bad day, moment, whatever you want to call it. As my former boss said, "we don't often take time out to praise someone. This is it."

As an adult, I feel so lucky to have the friends I have, and not just these two. Like Jennifer Aniston said in an interview shortly after her divorce went through, "I couldn't have done it without my girls. They're everything to me." I feel blessed to have all my peeps, and I'm so lucky to have so many. I remember once, my sister told me when I was in my early twenties that it wasn't high school anymore, that I could choose the people I wanted in my life. My friends didn't have to be my friends simply because we went to school together or because there was a lack of options. As I get older, I've found that this is true, and I'm so proud of the friends I have. They (you, if you're reading) are all super. Each adds something special to my life in a different way, and I'm so thankful for them all. Something of them are family. Some are old friends dating back to my childhood. Some are new friends I met as an adult. Either way, I feel lucky they all walked into my life, and I'm happy that we chose each other.

Like I said, we all have bad days where we can't stand ourselves or beat ourselves up for something we've done. I just wanted to boost up my two peeps, as they've done for me countless times. We should all do that more often. Right?

And now, I'm proud to say (yes, we're on a different subject now) that Miss Viola has written 40,000 words of her new project! Yeehaw! And my "horrible" friend has seen a small piece and sent me the most complimentary email today where she praised me and compared me to the likes of Shakespeare. Not really, but she did send some super thoughts about the piece my way, and I'm so thankful. It inspired me to keep going. I just wish I could write all day!

Something else ...I squeezed my butt into an old pair of capris today, and I'm happy to report that if you do lunges down your hallway, sit "criss cross applesauce" while working on the computer, and tuck your left leg under your butt while driving, you can actually make a pair of pants that are much too small for your butt fit over your body! Does it look attractive? Hell, no! But they're on! That has to count for something.

Oh, and another super friend of mine had a baby yesterday. Miss Avery Kate joined the world at 6 pounds 13 ounces and 20 inches. I can't wait to see her. I'm sure she is beautiful like her mother.

Next week, I'll be back to talking about my precious Edward. Yes, only 10 days until I join the other freaks in my "Bite Me" t-shirt! I'm an official Edward Cullen Fan Club Member! It's going to be super fun, and I can't wait to go with my awesome (not ugly and fat) cousin. We're going to have a blast. Also, next week, I'll probably continue praising my friends. It feels nice spreading the love around. Keep reading to see if you're mentioned. You're all too wonderful for me to keep quiet.

Book I just finished: Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Book I'm still reading: The Book Thief
Number of episodes of "Lost" I will watch with my niece tonight: SEVEN!
Miles to Run: um ... next week, maybe?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cougars Unite!

It was my friend's birthday last week. I'm happy that it's her birthday so she can celebrate and get presents, funny cards, singing messages on her voicemail, etc. Anyone who knows me is definitely aware that I love celebrating my birthday, so I'm excited when it's somebody else's big day, even though nobody seems to be as excited about theirs as I am mine. I have to admit though, as the numbers go up, the less excited I get.

Time seems to go by so fast that I don't think we realize how we age physically. I still feel and act, unfortunately, like I'm a twenty year-old sometimes, so I just walk around thinking I look like I did ten years ago instead of the way I look now as a thirty-something. Now don't get me wrong: I'm not upset with the way I look for my age. I'm just noticing that I don't get carded anymore, and I swear that sometimes when I'm out and about, I've seen giggly teenage girls look at me like I'm the "old" lady.

My friend, who is the same age as I am, was out recently at a bar with another friend, and apparently some younger guys were checking her out and referred to her as a cougar. My research revealed that a cougar in slang terms means "an attractive older lady." WTF?!!? She's in her early thirties! They were right when they said she was attractive because she's as adorable and tiny as ever, but still! An older lady! Whatever.

It's true. Age is only a number. I can be thankful for my age and be happy for all the days I have. I also realize that you're only as old as you think you are, that you can do anything and be anything you want, despite your age. Still, as offended as I may be by the fact that my friend was referred to as an attractive "older" lady, well, I admit to still wanting to be one.

That said, I admit to being shallow and wanting a bit of Botox. Not much, just a little shot right between my eyebrows. The battle against that huge wrinkle is not going in my favor. And after that, perhaps a little teeth whitening? Oh, and that one dimple I had on the backs of my thighs when I was twenty five, well, it found some friends. Must get rid of those. Yes, it's true! I want to be a Cougar. How pathetic is that? Oh well. I know I'm not alone. I'm sure that my friends have their aging wishlists as well, so I say, Cougars Unite! Wahoo!

Other news: I'm happy to report that the big girl is still doing well at school. The Hound Dogs are still in effect, and she and the gang are having fun, adding new members, playing soccer, and are even branching out at recess to meet other friends. It seems as if they bonded together in their new student status, and after only three days, have the strength to face the first grade playground alone. I guess it's true what the teacher told me about first graders being resilient. Let's hope that my girl stays that way.

The little man is still enjoying school every day. He still loves his pretty teacher and enjoys telling us about the hermit crabs in his classroom. "Mommy," he says after class each day, "did you know that we have a pet called a hermit crabs? And guess what? He has a shell and legs that stick out." He is so intrigued. It's so fun to watch him become more independent while discovering the world.

Some exciting news: I'm going to the Stephenie Meyer book signing in Cincinnati! My cousin and I went last time and had a blast. I've been mentioning it casually, hoping she would want to go again, and finally, she called and said we should do it. I happened to have a couple parenting meltdowns just days before she called, so I'm not sure if she's going because she wants to or because she desperately thinks I need a night out! Either way, we're going with our stack of books, "I Love Edward Cullen" t-shirts, and a nice quiet car to chat in for three hours! I can't wait!

What I'm reading: Still on The Book Thief
Miles to run: Run? Who runs?
What's playing on my IPOD: my new favorite youthful song: "Here in Your Arms" by Hello Goodbye

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Hound Dogs

So I've been worrying a bit about my "big" girl.

Her teacher thinks I'm nuts. She also thinks I'm sweet and nice. She even hugged me. Still, she thinks I'm nuts.

Yes, I've been told by EVERYONE that first grade is a HUGE transition for kids. With the longer hours, three recesses, and more intense work (yes, it can be intense in first grade!), they become tired, weepy, and moody. It's normal to be exhausted when beginning first grade, and my daughter shouldn't be the exception. I don't expect that at all. Believe me, Tired, Weepy, and Moody have all paid a visit to our house this week, and honestly, I wouldn't worry about it that much had we not moved. If she were still going to the old school, any crying, anxiety, nerves, or worries she experienced would be just blown off as part of the normal transition that becoming a big kid requires. I get it. Really, I do, but ...

I just can't get over the move, and I worry that it could be worse for her than I thought. My girl has cried. I've cried. We've both had serious meltdowns, all because she almost missed a bus, thought she did miss a bus, went to school at the wrong time, took longer than anyone else to complete the homework, and wasn't able to sit with the neighbor girl because she did miss the bus! It's been a crazy week. Obviously, since I asked my 18-year-old nephew if he would mind contacting the local crack dealer at his high school to see if he could hook me up with some recreational drugs. I tried to convince my nephew that getting high might make me a better parent, but he wasn't convinced. He also didn't think I was very funny.

In the end, Big Girl's teacher has assured me that she is fine at school. She laughs, talks, does her work well, and even smiles and bats her eyes at a certain boy. The teacher has also told me repeatedly that kids are resilient and have to learn to be tough. She's also reminded me that I can "give her wings, but she has to learn to fly." True. Still, I was worried. Until today.

Apparently, a girl from her class who "acts nice when the teacher is around but is SUPER sassy when the adults leave" was quite mean on the playground. In fact, she allegedly said to my little lady, "Your shirt is green and brown. It's ugly, and I hate it."

When Big Girl told me this, I said, "What did you say?

BG: Nothing.

Me: Why not?

BG: (shrugs, says nothing)

Me: Well, you should have said something like, "If you don't like my shirt, don't look at it." Or maybe something like, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all." You know what I mean?

BG: (shrugs, says nothing)

Me: I mean, you can't just do nothing. You have to stick up for yourself. Don't just stand there and let someone tell you that your shirt is ugly.

BG: (hesitates, then sighs) Well, I did do something.

Me: Good! What did you do?

BG: I flicked her.

Me: Flicked her? Like, with your finger?

BG: (blushing and smiling simultaneously) Yeah. I just reached out and flicked her on her shoulder. And she scowled at me and walked off.

Well, obviously I had to control myself from laughing and cheering at the same time. I was so proud of her because she doesn't often defend herself from the "sassy" people, yet this time she flicked someone! I did tell her later that she probably shouldn't flick someone because she could get in trouble for "assaulting" another student, but still, I was thrilled after our week of tears and worries, to hear that she might just be capable of sticking up for herself. And the best part of it was: she had comrades right beside her as she flicked away on Miss Clothing Critic! One of them said, "Well, I like your shirt." And the other one, well, he threatened to punch the Clothing Critic! That's all beside the point. The point is, the Big Girl might have a couple of friends!

One little boy (who is fluent in French and Spanish) teaches her Spanish at recess. Another little girl just moved here from Texas and owns horses. And the other one threatened to dethrone the "Monkey Bars Club."

Since you're wondering, the Monkey Bars Club consists of a group of first grade boys who sit on the bars and refuse to let anyone pass. Unless of course, you decide to "hang on them and do it anyway, which is what you just do." Again, this is all beside the point. The point is ... 1) There is a club. 2) They have rules. And 3) Big Girl and her friends have not only found each other (for today anyway), but they stuck together to defend their clothing preferences and rights to use the monkey bars! Yes, they've formed an alliance! They're buds. Chums. Peeps. Bitches. Call them what you want, what's important, is that for today, she had someone at her new school, and I cannot even begin to tell you how happy that makes me!

How did this all end today? Well, Big Girl and her new possible friends have created their own club. Mind you, it is a club that anyone can belong to, unless you are sassy. If you have a sassing problem, you can still be in the club, but you'll be asked not to sass. The name of this club ...the Hound Dogs. Why? "Because we all have dogs." Oh, and they're all bringing them to school on Thursday! That should be fun!

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that even though I had to drag it out of her, she admitted that school could be okay someday and that maybe, just maybe, she might have made a friend. Nothing is set in stone of course, which means we'll both be sobbing about something else next week, but still, the Hound Dogs were at it today, and that thrills me to no end.

Miles to Run: I give up. Perhaps next week?
What I'm reading: The Book Thief
Current Food Addiction: Pop Tarts

Monday, August 20, 2007

Spiders and Witches and Fast Cars ...Oh my!

Yes, I am watching "The Covenant." It is beyond tacky, yet I can't turn it off.

Synopsis of Favorite Scene Number One:

Crazy witch boy makes super hot girl (Kate) get attacked by poisonous spiders. Kate's boyfriend, super hot boy I will refer to as Ab-tastic, comes to rescue her . You see, Crazy Witch Boy was left out of the sacred little witch club, and he's not only pissed, but yes, he's back with a vengeance! To make his point, he kills random students, stalks the ladies in the showers, and sicks venomous spiders on them, thus making them the sacrificial lambs of the original boys in the witch club. Obviously, this is creativity at its best, and the dialogue is, well, read it for yourself.

Ab-tastic: You better not kill, Kate! Or, I'll KILL you!!!!!!!

(big scary music, followed by Crazy Witch Boy's eyes turning bright orange for a split second, signalling that yes, he is indeed a true son of Ipswich! AAAHHHHH!)

Crazy Witch Boy: So, you've come to save Little Miss Muffet (get it? she was attacked my spiders!)? Well, you're TOO LATE! Ah! HA HA!!!!

It's short and sweet, but you get the point.

Another favorite scene includes the bad boy of the Witch Club that I like to call Draco Malfoy because he looks EXACTLY like Tom Felton from the HP movies. Draco uses his magical powers to make his SUV disappear from the police as he drives it off a cliff. As his eyes turn black signalling that he is in witch/power mode, Draco slams on the gas and yells, "Harry Potter can kiss my ass!"

Yes, it's silly and a bit cheap, considering that Harry is THE ultimate boy wizard, but when you see the eerie resemblance between the two actors, it's actually a bit clever. Well, maybe not.

And then there are the deep moments, when the incredibly hot Steven Strait (playing the part of Caleb Danvers, the first of the witch club to ascend) explains the witch phenomenom to his beautiful Sara...

Caleb: When you're thirteen you get a taste of the power. At eighteen, we fully ascend, and our powers fully mature. And it's (deep sigh) seductive! And some can handle it, and others, like my father (another big sigh) ... when one ascends, the power ages you. You whittle away ... and DIE!

It's so tacky even the music is cheesy, but why am I still watching? Because everyone, including the girls, are incredibly hot! Sometimes it's fun to watch a bunch of goodlooking people with no wrinkles or imperfections prance around in prep school clothes, drive fast sports cars, and kiss in the moonlight before going to meet at the Putnam Barn for some good old witch fighting!

Clearly, I am in need of some good network television shows. Thankfully, they'll all be back in a month. In fact, my BFF and I created a spreadsheet for our fall TV lineup listing the networks, time slots, and premiere dates. I can't wait for September!

With the book I'm trying to write, lesson plans I'm supposed to be working on for my new little job, miles I'm supposed to be running in order to decrease the size of my ass, books I should be reading, house I'm supposed to be cleaning, and oh yes, the children I'm supposed to be raising, I shouldn't be so concerned with mindless movies and television dramas. But, I need these things to help me write! It's not about procrastination, people! It's about the creativity! Duh!

Today, my Big Girl had her first weepy day of first grade. Everything was fine until she was at gymnastics after school, and right in the middle of class, she just started weeping about her wrist that was in "intense" pain. I have been warned by everyone to expect a first grader to be weepy, whiny, moody, etc. during the first few weeks, but I hope this doesn't happen often. With our recent move, it is hard for me to believe she's only dealing with the adjustment of being at school all day, which makes me worry even more about her, and then who do you think ends up crying? Me. I don't mind crying, but the two of us walking around here crying at the same time is not a good thing.

On a bright note: the Little Man met his preschool teacher today and loved her. He also saw his classroom and enjoyed getting acquainted with all the manipulatives, but when asked what his favorite thing was, he mumbled something about the teacher being "really pretty." At least something made a lasting impression on him!

Before I go, I have to ask a favor: I'm in search of nicknames. I need funny ones that high school guys use when referring to their friends. So far, I have Sasquatch for the Hairy friend. Any ideas?

Miles I ran today: NONE! I'll save that for tomorrow. Maybe.
What I'm reading: The Outsiders (for middle school lesson plans) and The Book Thief

Forum Addiction

You can all relax. Although I was certainly consumed with the Eclipse forum last week, you'll all be happy to know that I have backed off a bit. Four hours in one night was a bit much, don't you think?

As frustrating as the forum was at times, I have to say that it ended up being great fun. I even felt like I made some online friends. Now I'm sad because we're all moving on, or should I say getting back to our normal lives and tending to much more important matters, but I have to say, I think I'll miss chatting with a few of those crazy fans. I won't miss getting told I'm a horrible person who knows nothing about teenagers, and of course getting told I have something shoved up my ass isn't something I need to hear again any time soon, but the others were fun. We shared book suggestions, husband talk, and told stories about our kids, plus we enjoyed swooning over Edward (and for Wolf Girl, Jacob, too). It was fun, but as I said, I must tend to my real life.

I'm happy to report that last week I cranked out 16,000 words for the new project I'm working on. It's considered a YA novel, and I am loving it very much. After the last book, I wasn't certain I could ever love any other characters as much as the ones from my first novel, but I'm finding that if anything, the opposite is true. Perhaps it's the story, or maybe I'm just getting better at this, but I'm finding that there is more depth to the story and the characters, and the emotions run far deeper in this one. It's very different on so many levels ...different genre, setting, conflict, etc., plus, my main character isn't witty and funny, so there isn't as much silly humor. Regardless, I'm so happy to be writing again, and I can't wait to finish this and get it out to people to see what they think.

I saw "Becoming Jane" at the theater this weekend. I really enjoyed it, and not just because Austen is my favorite author and I have a Pride and Prejudice addiction. For me, it was great to see her struggling and working on her writing even though everyone was against her pursuiing a writing career. I can relate to that, so it meant a lot to me. Anyone can write, but the odds of making a career out of it aren't favorable, then or now. Her strong will inspired me.

Speaking of writing careers ...I saw this morning that Stephenie Meyer, author of my beloved Twilight series and creator of my most precious Edward Cullen, vampire and lover extraordinaire, is now being compared to JK Rowling because of the astounding sales of the recently released Eclipse. With 1.5 million in sales in just two weeks, the book/series is now # 2 on the list, second only to Rowling. Exposure to Meyer and the series is everywhere, and all this success makes me wonder: how does a person's life change when you sell 1.5 million copies of a book?

Before Twilight was published, Meyer was a stay-at-home mom in Arizona. I can't imagine what her life will be like now. Jennifer Weiner claims that she lives a normal life and is unknown by everyone; she is a NY Times bestselling author, but 1.5 million in two weeks is really unheard of. Rarely does that happen, and I wonder if the author is excited, how could she not be, but also overwhelmed? It's just a thought that nobody probably cares about more than me, but it's been on my mind.

Tonight, I will be watching the movie The Covenant. Why? Well, my online friends have recommended it because we are all busy trying to decide what actors should be cast in the movie version of Twilight. According to my pals, the perfect actors for Edward and Jacob are in this teen movie, so naturally, I had to rent it. Like I've said a gazillion times, this is important business. And hey, I'll work my tail off today and accomplish all things on my "To Do" list, so why can't I watch a little vampire movie and drool over 20 year-olds? A girl has to have a bit of mindless fun, right?

Big Girl is back to school again. This is the first full week, so I'm a bit nervous about how tired and whiny she may become. Or maybe not. Positive thoughts! Waking up at 6:30 AM will have no negative effects on her! And Little Man went to check out his preschool today while I had a teaching meeting. He loved his teacher and is excited about starting later in the week, although he was quite disappointed that he doesn't get to ride a bus yet.

Edward Cullen Swooner Moment of the Day: "I love you. I want you. Right now."

Okay, can anyone hear me growling???? Not in a ferocious, bear-is-going-to-attack-you sort of way, but more like a sexy, Catwoman type growl that truthfully, when I attempted it, was far more amusing than seductive. Perhaps I should never try that again.

What I'm reading: The Book Thief
Miles to run today: Um, yeah, right.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Blisters and the desperate need for a support group!

I'm embarrassed to admit that I have two strange blisters. One is from sharpening 24 pencils for the Big Girl's first day of school. The other I received while dragging my hand across the edge of my laptop repeatedly. Yes, it was the Eclipse forum again. It may be time for some intervention.

It's really quite pathetic as I was on there for several hours. Obviously I could have been watching a movie, reading, writing, or cleaning up toys, but what fun would that have been? Instead of being productive, I chose to make more enemies among the youth of America by posting as Ft. Wayne Reader. I think it's safe to say that they really don't like me, which is interesting because the youth I have worked with in the past typically are quite fond of me. Maybe they like me for my charming personality instead of my views.

Since I haven't taught for a few years, I have forgotten how informative teens can be when they are feeling defensive and angry. In the past 24 hours, I've learned a lot from these passionate readers. For example, did you know that "sex aint no big deal" and "we're all doin it anyway" and that using punctuation is not the norm anymore yes apparently periods commas question marks etc are pointless and you can go on and talk about stuff for days on end without ever punctuating once even though what ur sayin makes no sense because it is all just a bunch of mumbo jumbo thrown together with a gazillion misspelled words that requires translation for anyone reading who has even half a brain.

Luckily for me, I'm quite experienced with such translation, but for those of you who aren't, beware. You're more likely to understand something written in swahili.

That said, I'm happy to say that I did find a few friends on the forum and that much of it was quite enjoyable. It's not only fun but very important to talk about young, twenty-something actors suitable to play parts in movies. Despite the enjoyment had while corresponding on "The Perfect Edward" post, I did promise myself that I was going to stop checking the posts and do something much more important and productive with my time. Honestly though, would you be able to resist responding to this comment:

"you all just have something shoved up your butts because you hate this. "

Hmm. Ft. Wayne Reader was offended by that. Of course she HAD to respond, after she bent over and checked her ass first. Finally, she put an end to her frustration by going outside and beating herself with a stick, then went promptly to bed and fell asleep while watching a Kristi Yamaguchi special on Fit TV.

Other news: Big Girl is back on the bus. We are sooooooo pumped about the biggest movie release in the history of network television: High School Musical 2! Everybody sing, "We're all in this together ..." She even wore her HSM t-shirt to school today. Wahoo!

Little Man and I are off to the library. I will be picking up The Book Thief. Had the book been in my possession last night, I would have consumed myself with that instead of responding to the many insults hurled at Ft. Wayne Reader and all other adults hellbent on banning books, restricting choices for teens, and playing moral police to the entire world! Because THAT, my friends, is what my life is all about. Right? Geesh.

Edward Cullen Swooner for the Day: "Sleep, my Bella. Dream happy dreams. You are the only one who has ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. Sleep, my only love."


Miles to run today: is anyone really keeping track?
Toys to pick up: approximately a gazillion
Movie to watch tomorrow night: "Becoming Jane" ...I can't wait!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Big Girl Gets on the Bus

Miss Viola is out of the dark and is back to blogging. I never intended to go away for so long, but we moved, I edited and rewrote a book, ran a half marathon ...these were busy times. And now, I'm still busy but feel the urge to share my ramblings with the world, or shall I say, two friends and my mother.

Big news of the day: my daughter is officially a first grader. Yes, she rode the bus last year home from kindergarten, but this year, Mama actually had to let her get on the big bus and ride away. I smiled and waved, taking pictures the entire time, and then, when that bus went around the corner, yes, I cried. Just a few tears as I walked back to the house. I saved the sobbing until I was safe in my kitchen talking to my husband on his cell.

I know she will be fine. She is so ready for this, and I'm so excited about her future and love to watch her grow. But watching her grow up is so bittersweet. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and be standing at her wedding. Okay, new subject. Getting weepy again.

Other news: I have officially become addicted to an online forum and am in danger of needing a support group. The discussion is over a book I recently read, and let's just say that my alterego is getting a bit pissy about the discussion. Honestly, I've taught over 1,000 teenagers, but it always astounds me how defensive teens can become simply when parents or adults have an opinion they disagree with about something they love. What's funny is that they're bashing the adults who "no nuthin'" about teens, the real world, and sex (um, yeah, actually, I do know something about that!) but use words like "ur" for your. Really, if you want to be taken seriously and make a valid point, it may be appropriate to make sure you don't sound like an idiot first!

Really, I get the fact that teenagers think they know everything. I know I did. In fact, I was one of the teens out there protesting the use of warning labels on CDs because I felt I had the right to listen to my high quality heavy metal music full of profanity and lyrics about nothing other than sex and drugs. I, like these teens, was adamant that my choices regarding music, television, books, or movies wouldn't affect me or my behavior.

The teens on this forum feel the same way, which is fine, but it's sad and frightening how these particular teens think that using language and words that should be saved for the chat rooms and text messages will help them in a debate with anyone. Also, the accusations about parents and teachers are ridiculous. Not only are they misquoting and making statements that are simply untrue, but use this as their defense ...

"OMG yall dis jus a book yall why u makin such a big deal bout a book when nobody did nuthin cept talk about sex and they was in love and yall just need to quit freakin bout nuthin ur all goin way over the top bout all this omg yall. OMG! Peeple is havin sex all da time yall get over it cuz it don't mean nobody is goin to do nuthin just cuz they read about omg yall. My brother is like 14 and he ready knows evrything bout sex yeah."


On that note, I think I'll move on. Tomorrow, after I'll watch my big girl get on the bus again, I will spend my day with Little Man. Today, we baked cookies for Big Sis, watched the garbage truck, and read books about guessed it! Trucks! I will also continue working on my new novel which I am sooooo excited about. Then, I will hopefully have time to start a new post titled "Post Traumatic Eclipse Disorder" where I will discuss the finer points of Edward Cullen, Stephenie Meyer's delicious vampire boy. Yum yum double yum!

Miles to run today: Three.
Miles I will run today: Zero.
Number of Twizzlers I will eat because cool friend sent them to me in the mail: entire package.
Currently reading: Fourth Comings by Megan McCaffety and Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Four Inches

You are about to read my first attempts at screenwriting. The following scene is inspired by actual events.


A Man and a woman are in bed. The woman is of average size and is curled up like a cocoon, transforming her body into the size of a small child. The man is stretched across the bed with two pillows stuffed under his head and one tucked under his leg. He snuggles another pillow with one arm, and with his other hand, he clutches a jar of Vicks vaporub. He tosses and turns, shoving the woman to the edge of the bed.

(elbowing the man in the ribs)

You’re hogging the bed. Move.

The man wiggles in the bed, groaning.

I’m measuring my butt. It’s four inches.

No way. Your butt isn’t even close to four inches.

Give me your hand then. I’ll show you.

Husband reaches for Wife’s hand. She wiggles away. He reaches again, accidentally thrusting the jar of Vicks into Wife’s nose.

(throwing jar of Vicks across the room)


Why did you throw my Vicks?

It was in the bed! In my face!

Wife sits up. She is now yelling.

Why the hell are you sleeping with a jar of Vicks anyway? It’s giving
me a headache!

I NEED IT! I’m sick!

You’re so weird. Nobody sleeps while clutching a jar of Vicks.

She squirms again, fighting for a few extra inches of space.

You’re still hogging the bed.

(throwing up his arms in exasperation)

I told you! It’s four inches!

There is no way your ass is four inches! MOVE OVER!

At this point, when one of us busted out laughing, the conversation ended. I don’t know who started laughing first, but despite the fact that he felt horrible with his sinus infection and that I had just dealt with a crying child minutes earlier, we both just cracked up.

It’s a given that my husband hogs the bed every night. He uses about 10 pillows and while trying to get comfortable, kicks his legs around and destroys the blankets. I use one pillow, and if I sleep alone, I don’t even have to make the bed. In fact, you can barely tell someone slept in it. When my husband sleeps, it literally looks like a tornado twisted, turned, and ripped the sheets right off the bed.

With a larger bed, there would be more real estate to go around, but after sleeping this way for years, maybe we wouldn’t sleep as well. And even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to have such interesting conversations, or arguments, in the middle of the night. It is true, that last night, he was actually measuring—in the dark, with his hand, mind you—the distance from the edge of our mattress to the side of his rear. Because I was forced (after the jar of Vicks went crashing into the wall) to feel the mattress, I can verify that he was right: only four inches saved his butt, not his whole body, just his butt, from falling off the bed. That’s because the rest of his body was in the middle, and mostly on my side, of the bed. Imagine a letter V. That’s him. Upper torso on Wife’s side. Butt on his side. Legs on Wife’s side.

I suppose we could get a king sized mattress. That would solve this bed hogging issue. I wonder though: would we miss the issue? Every night, he hogs the bed, and it drives me nuts. Every night, I read with the light on until midnight, and that drives him nuts. Either way, when he is out of town for some reason, causing me to sleep alone, I admit to feeling a little lonely. I actually miss being thumped by the occasional elbow or knee. And when he is away from home, he never sleeps well. I doubt he would admit it, but I bet he misses my light.

In a marriage, we can fight and argue and drive each other crazy, but I guess if we can laugh about things, that always makes situations better. The things our spouses do that drives us nuts are usually the things we love the most. We may not admit it, but it’s true. In any event, a good sense of humor certainly can help. Marriage can be many things, as well as a great source of entertainment. When I’m particularly annoyed or frustrated, I always think, “if someone were watching this on a big screen, they would think we were quite funny.” I suppose that’s true for most couples, so we should laugh more. And, in our case, forget about mattress shopping. We’ll keep the queen.

Book Talk: Still reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Yes, I know, it’s taking me awhile. Not because it isn’t good; I’m just trying to savor it. And for once, I don’t have anything waiting in the wings anyway, so I might as well go slowly. I’m busy writing, and any leftover time I have to myself has been devoted to movies.

Movie Talk: Last night we watched the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. It’s something everyone should see, and I hope the success at the Oscars brings more attention to the film and the issue, especially with our politicians. Even my 6-year-old is aware of the issue and is dedicated to fighting global warming. Surely our government can be more committed.

Miles ran yesterday: five
Miles to run today: zero!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Laura Ingalls and Dog Chow

My daughter and I have gone Little House on the Prairie crazy. We’ve read the first book and have watched the first two disks from the first season. In fact, we only have one more episode on the Ma disc, and then we’re moving on to the Mary disc! How exciting!

The last episode we watched was when Pa decided to take Ma on her second honeymoon. To my daughter’s enjoyment, Mr. Edwards ended up babysitting the girls. At one point, he shot a hole through the roof, lost Carrie, and served the girls snake soup for dinner. Despite his failings, my daughter, like the Ingalls girls, is quite a fan of Mr. Edwards.

This morning, she was singing “Old Man Tucker.” She only knows the tune, so she was substituting words for the song Mr. Edwards is always singing.

“I wish I knew the words, honey,” I said. “Maybe I can look them up for you.”

“Oh,” she said. “On Laura Ingalls dot com?”

At first, I cracked up, but then I ran to the computer, and sure enough, does exist. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m sure Laura Ingalls would be!

Other news, my son is successfully completing our version of toddler boot camp. With persistence, patience, and much love, the chief has been knocked down a notch. We all, including my son, are happier for it. He’s eating with utensils again, successfully finding his way to the toilet, and is spending much less time in the Time Out chair.

As usual, he keeps us laughing with his strange revelations and comments on daily life. This afternoon on our way home from preschool, he said, “Don’t worry about me, guys! I’m just soooo flusterated, okay? Don’t worry though. I’m fine.”

Book Talk: I finished and loved, loved, loved The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. It’s suspenseful and will keep you guessing until the end. I raced through it and was happy to find a wonderful twist waiting for me at the finish. This is the fourth novel by Bohjalian that I’ve read, and I’ve enjoyed them all.

This one reminds me of an early work of his, Midwives. Reading that novel was one of the first times I can recall gasping aloud at an ending. The surprise gave me the chills and forced me to get on the phone and call someone. The Double Bind offers the same and much more. I especially loved the many references to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

If you haven’t read Gatsby before, please do. Other than Pride and Prejudice and The English Patient, it’s the only novel I reread each year. Beautiful prose, memorable characters, and mostly Jay Gatsby himself are what pull me back to the story time and time again. It is a must-read, and if you intend to read The Double Bind by Bohjalian, be sure to read Gatsby first. Can’t tell you why. Just trust me.

One more thing: I’m pretty certain that nobody is reading this blog; however, the next piece of information will serve as a test. If my sister is reading, I’m certain (if I don’t hear her cackling all the way from the north side of town) that she’ll respond and make fun of me. If my parents are reading, they’ll respond and be concerned. If my friends are reading, well, depending on which friend you are, you might be concerned as well. If you’re the friend who logs onto blogger as Dick Hertzer or Don Keyballs (yes, this is an actual friend of mine that I claim with much love), you’ll probably be laughing as well.

The news: I fell in my kitchen today. I had just finished mopping the floor so it could stay clean for approximately three seconds before the dog and/or children trashed it. Just after trapping the dog and his dirty feet outside and warning the children to stay off the slippery surface, who do you think comes waltzing into the kitchen to fall on her ass? Me. Not only did I fall, but I also managed to crash into the dog food bowl and send dog chow flying as far as the couch in the living room.

Go ahead, Sister and Friends. Laugh. However, you should know that I almost cried (yes, it hurt that much), and I have a swollen hand to go along with my bruised hip and knee. I’m sure, despite the diabolical side you’re all showing right this second as you’re doubled over laughing, that you’re all deeply concerned, and I thank you for that. Calls of concern are welcome at any time.

What I’m reading: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Miles to run today: 4

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Chief

My son thinks he’s a dictator these days. Since birth, he’s had such a sweet, gentle disposition, and suddenly, he’s a little tyrant. I guess I should rephrase that; he isn’t really mean, but it’s very clear to all of us that he definitely thinks he is the captain of this ship.

I’ve already raised one kid through the toddler years, so my experiences with my son shouldn’t be surprising. After all, it isn’t rocket science; everyone knows that toddlers like to feel in charge and be independent. Yet, every now and then, I’m still shocked when he stares me down, smiles, and defies me.

This morning, we were reading his favorite truck book for the millionth time. It was a wonderful moment. We were covered up with a blanket, and he was snuggled up beside me while listening intently. I was right in the middle of, “a grapple truck has a claw that can pick up strangely shaped loads” when I was interrupted by a rattling sound.

“Look, Mommy,” he said, smiling and shaking his Diego Rescue Pack stethoscope. “It’s a shaker.”

“Yep. It’s a shaker.” I smiled and continued, “The grapple truck can carry anything from—”

“Mommy!” he said, elbowing me. “LOOK at the shaker.”

“Yes, honey, I see. It’s a shaker. Now, do you want me to read the truck book?” He nodded. “Okay. The grapple truck can carry a load of bricks—”

And now I’m interrupted again, except this time he’s singing Jingle Bells. I stopped reading and sat the book on my lap, thinking I would watch him sing the song while he shook the “shaker.” Once he finished, I assumed we would go back to discussing the fine points of a grapple truck.

I was wrong.

“Mommy!” the dictator said. “READ!” I frowned. He should know me better than that. The dictator frowned back. “Mommy. Read. Please.”

I picked up the book and continued while he began singing Jingle Bells again. He sang the chorus seven times while I read about a gantry crane, forklift, and a platform loader. My daughter walked past and muttered, “You guys are weird.”

My thoughts exactly.

Later, while I was applying mascara, my benevolent little despot appeared by my side. He said nothing, but I could feel him hitting me on the rear with something I could only assume was Bo, his stuffed bear and best friend.

“Mommy. Say hi to Bo.”

“Hello, Bo!” I said in a cheery voice. “How are you today?”

“Mommy. Say hi to Bo.”

I sighed. “Hello, Bo.”

“Mommy! LOOK at Bo when he’s talking to you! Please!

Ah. Of course. How could I have forgotten that it’s rude not to look at someone when they are speaking to you?

Since my daughter’s 6-years-old now, I know we will survive these challenging toddler times, and I also know, that someday I will miss them. Often, I see him running behind our couch or on the other side of the kitchen counter. Except for the top of his head, he’s hidden, and I always smile at the little tuft of hair that appears to be dancing along. At that moment, I also get sad, realizing that someday there won’t be anyone that small running around our house. Mothers of toddlers often wonder how many times we can hear the phrase, “No! I do!” Or, “I do it myself!” But we have to sit back and enjoy it. Someday they’ll be teenagers, and we’ll be hearing the same kinds of words, except they’ll likely be accompanied with some profanity. I guess these days aren’t so hard after all.

Other thoughts: I’m very angry at the friend who suggested giving up chocolate for Lent. And I’m really angry at the friend who brought five boxes of Girl Scout cookies over to my house the other day. I’m surviving, but this is definitely going to be a long, long 40 days.

What I’m reading: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

Miles to Run today: Zero!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

First Loves and First Kisses

“Bubblegum, Bubblegum in a dish!
How many pieces do you wish?”

This was the game my daughter and I played for twenty minutes while waiting for JC Penney’s to open this morning. It was actually kind of fun, and I have to admit that I was impressed at how she was able to knock me out of the game every single time. I tried to teach her one of my favorite little hand-slapping games from back in the day thinking she would love “Down Down Baby,” but sadly, she wasn’t impressed.

She most definitely did not like the last line and frowned when I said, “I like a little boy, and he likes me!”

“Mom,” she said, blushing. “That’s not funny.”

I shrugged, feigning ignorance, although I knew what she was referring to.

It’s Jordan. The boy. The one who is not her “boyfriend but just a friend that is a boy.” The one she talks about constantly. She can barely say his name without smiling or giggling, and she also keeps his school picture in her treasure box. Granted, it’s the only school picture she has (apparently the rest of the kids didn’t hand any out. I know she didn’t.), but nevertheless, it’s in the treasure box right along side a ticket stub from a football game she went to with Daddy, her money, and a flower from Mommy’s wedding bouquet. I think it’s safe to say that, although she insists her feelings for him are purely platonic, I’m certain that she has her first crush.

Some would be shocked and say, “A crush? She’s just in kindergarten!” But I don’t. After all, she knows the rules; in fact, she tells everyone, “I’m not allowed to like boys or have a boyfriend until I’m 15-years-old.” Surely this will keep her emotions in check until at least her sophomore year of high school. Right?

Okay, so maybe I’m kidding myself. She’s going to like boys. Do I wish she would be completely oblivious to them? Sure, but then again, she’s so much like me in so many ways, and I admit to being crazy about boys when I was younger. I don’t recall any particular boys in kindergarten, but then again, I spent most of that year crying because I was quiet and shy. (Stop laughing, Friends. I was shy … once.)

In first grade though, I do remember Doug. He was the big man on campus, a total stud, and thanks to the influences of his older brother, taught the rest of our class the fine game of kissing tag. Of course nobody ever got kissed, but we all ran around with lips puckered trying to catch our first loves.

In the beginning of the year, it seemed as if our whole class played during recess, but by the time May rolled around, it was mostly girls, and of course, Doug. I guess the rest of the boys gave up when they realized that they were chasing and puckering and chasing and puckering, but no girls were chasing them back. Every girl in first grade was running and sweating and puckering like crazy, but chase those other boys? Of course not. We were all too busy chasing Doug.

To our dismay, nobody ever did kiss Doug. He wasn’t just a “fox,” he was fast and elusive. Aside from kissing tag, we all tried to impress Doug, but no matter how quickly we crossed the monkey bars or how far we kicked the kickball, Doug remained out of reach. Even being placed in the Bluebirds Reading Group (the # 1 smarty pants group) wasn’t impressive to Doug. He stayed single until he moved away in the second grade, and nobody has heard of him since.

Yep. It was our first experience in the painful world of unrequited love, and for my daughter, I suspect the Jordan craze is the same thing. I’m certain she thinks he’s “cute,” but mostly, I think she just wants to be his friend. According to her, everyone wants to be Jordan’s friend, and he just doesn’t have a lot of time left for her. Unlike me, she seems mostly unfazed by that fact. I would have cried and probably sulked behind a tree at recess. But not my daughter. When talking of Jordan’s busy recess schedule, she just smiled and said, “Oh well. I have other friends. And they like me and think I’m funny and nice. I suppose that’s all that matters.”

Yes! You go girl!

I so, so, so love my daughter for everything she is. She has a warm, sweet personality and a silly side that loves to giggle and be tickled. She’s also very compassionate and often thinks of others and prays for them. And I am so thankful for her strength, determination, and the fact that she likes herself. Am I scared about her liking boys? Maybe a little, but I’m way more afraid of her losing her innocence or self-esteem. If we can somehow keep all of that in her, then maybe boys, and really anything, won’t be much of a problem.

What I’m reading: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
What’s on deck: The Jane Austen Book Club
Miles to run today: 5
Number of Calories Hopefully Burned while Running: one million! Yeehaw!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Oh ...Leo

I watched The Departed last night and can proudly say that, yes, my love for Mr. DiCaprio is officially rekindled. I've never stopped admiring him; I just haven't spent much time with Leo lately. Last night, I was reminded why I should.

It's obvious that he's an incredible actor with three Oscar nominations and a list of films like What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, and Blood Diamond. And yes, I do admit to enjoying his performances and believe he is the best actor of my generation, but honestly, I just love, love, love to look at him! I admit it. No philosophical "Leonardo DiCaprio's the next Marlon Brando" talk from me. He's hot. Plain and simple.

If, you're like an old friend of mine who's always thought of Leo as too thin and boyish looking, well, check out the prison scene in The Departed. For a brief second, we see Leo working out. It's just a quick flash, so pay close attention, or use the "slow" feature on your remote like I did, and you'll see that Leo is definitely boyish no more. That boy is ab-tastic for sure.

Aside from rekindling the flames of desire for Leonardo, I spent the weekend taking care of my daughter who has been sick with strep throat. We read many books and watched tons of movies, including Flicka (Tim McGraw! Yeehaw!). Despite her fever, headache, and cough, she's been a real trooper and has complained little. We've both been enjoying our extra snuggling sessions.

At this point, my son is showing no signs of feeling anything other than a severe case of orneryness. Is that even a word? Anyway, the other day, he walked into our garage and stood beside our car and stared at it for a couple of minutes before sticking out his tongue and licking the door.

"Honey, why did you do that?" I asked.

He shrugged and wiped his tongue on his coat sleeve. "Because I wanted to do it last noon."

Translation: I wanted to do that yesterday. How interesting that he had been planning and contemplating such a move for 24 hours.

I asked, "Was that gross?"

"Yes, Mommy," he said. "I'm not goin to do that again. Not today or last noon."

Hmm. So glad he had that revelation and won't be licking cars again any time soon.

The agenda for today: Run! I slacked on my running last week, and the race is 60 days away! Yikes. I'll also be washing sheets and disinfecting the house while playing nurse.

What I'm reading: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
What I just finished: Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley and Persuasion by Jane Austen

Monday, February 26, 2007

Feeling Distracted

Yes, my latest full manuscript request from a literary agent has resulted in, "I managed about 60 pages and realized I felt distracted."

Distracted? By what?

I admit to being distracted often. For example, when I was cooking lunch yesterday and heard my son yelling, "Mommy! I goin' to the baffroom in my bed!" well, that was certainly a distraction. Lunch was abandoned. Water boiled over and noodles were burned as I tried to stop my son mid-urination. I've been told by many people that boys often miss the toilet, but come on. He missed the whole bathroom!

While trying to dislodge a Barbie from the utensil container in my dishwasher, I was distracted when I heard the squeaking from the brakes of the school bus as it stopped in front of my house. Again, another household task was abandoned as a mad dash out to the driveway to retrieve my daughter.

Last week, while reading a book, I was distracted by the television when my husband was watching Good Will Hunting for the billionth time. I tried to focus, but I couldn't help it. I had to watch Matt Damon ask the Harvard smartass "how do you like them apples?!" And I certainly would never miss Chuckie telling Morgan about his cheeseburger on layaway.

See, I'm distracted, or maybe I lose my focus from time to time, even while I'm reading. But I usually blame it on the distraction itself, not the book.

IF I didn't really want this whole publishing thing to happen, and IF I had issues with rejection, I would continue to pout and wonder what in the heck the agent meant. But, since I do want this to work, and since I'm developing a pretty thick skin when it comes to being told to hit the highway, I'm going to try and make the most out of the "distracted" rejection.

After all, it is a personal note, and it does offer me something. Not much, but something. My guess is that she meant it just didn't keep her attention or that she just wasn't pulled in by the story. Of course I wish it weren't a rejection, but I'm still happy and appreciative for the request, and her quick review of the manuscript is also impressive.

In any event, I'll continue working and evaluating the manuscript while submitting to other agents, and to quote the Brady kids, I'll just keep on keep on keep on keep on dancin' until I get it right.

Something exciting that happened today: I found the recipe for Applebee's Blondie with Maple Walnut Butter Sauce! Yum yum. I've given up chocolate for Lent, and I feel it's only appropriate to replace this sweet with something else. After all, I've lasted five days. Surely I deserve a reward. Granted, having the blondie recipe isn't going to help with the whole "butt growing larger than the state of Texas" issue, but, um, whatever. I need the sweets. Besides, I can't very well conquer the chocolate problem if I'm stressed, and not having something sugary makes me stressed. See, the blondie will be like therapy. Obviously it's necessary.

Before I sign off today, I have a request: if anyone watched 24 last night, can you provide a recap of the last 10 minutes? I fell asleep at the end and missed it. What happened?