Saturday, November 29, 2008

The End... or is it?

I am officially finished with Nanowrimo 2008.

It was the biggest piece of compost I've ever written filled with grammatical and spelling errors. Punctuation was a non-entity.

That's beside the point, however. It's supposed to be trash.

After Christmas, this rough draft will be transformed into something of a Western novel worthy of my father's approval.

I say that because my father taught me my love for Westerns and turned me onto Louis L'Amour.

When all is said and done and it is worthy of some great cover art, the dedication will reflect that - that he was the inspiration for my book.

So many ends left to tighten, though. So many plot twists that aren't exactly as exciting as they could be.

Important details pushed aside to get to the meat.

Then meat undercooked in the interest of a deadline.

Fun, exhausting, aggravating, challenging, and I'd do it all again next year.

I'd also like to thank my writing buddy, Lydia, who prodded me to write and in the last hours of nanowrimo when I had a nagging headache, a house full of loud and annoying children, Thanksgiving and Christmas plans that needed to be done but her merciless nagging supportive encouragement got me to write my butt off.

I'd also like to thank my mother for encouraging typing lessons. 165 wpm makes a great deal of difference.

Finally, I'd like to thank the academy, the makers of nanowrimo, and most of all God.

You like me. You really like me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Cold and a Writing Assignment Meme

Yesterday I talked about hating the cold. Today I will talk about hating the fact that I now HAVE a cold.

Not really. I won't bore you. You've all had a cold. You all know how miserable it is. You don't need me to remind you.

So let's move on to the writing assignment, shall we?

If you have ever taken the time to write a comment on someone else's blog then you know that most of them ask you to type in a security word so that spammers, hackers, crackers and phishers don't break into your system.

This doesn't always work with a tomato. :o)

It dawned on me that these are the weirdest set of words I've ever seen. I started wondering if many of them were real or made up.

As I wrote on a friend's blog today, my word was "Ablakey" Not the weirdest one I've ever had but definitely odd. I searched online dictionaries to see if it were indeed a word and I couldn't find it listed.

It seemed a Meme was in order.

Here is your assignment should you choose to accept it.

First, click here:

Now, your assignment.

You will go to a random person's blog page (try clicking "next blog" at the top of your screen) and comment to them:

"You have been chosen for a mission. Get your assignment here:"

When you go to publish the comment, it will give you your "safe word".

Remember your safe word.

Take your safe word and create a market for your new band.

Yes, that's right. Your safe word is now your band name.

You will create a press release for your new band describing your sound, sample lyrics of one of your songs, and the next 4 tour dates and venues.

Rock on, dude!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I hate the cold. I really do.

I'd rather it be 100 than 10.

So much so that this was actually the first marriage argument:

Alan: Where do you want to go for our honeymoon?

Me: What about Bermuda?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about Cazumel?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about Jamaica?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about The Bahamas?

Alan: What about Ireland?

Me: What about The Dominican Republic?

Alan: What about Ireland?

So um, guess where we ended up? Cold, rainy Ireland.

If I hear one more person tell me how they've always wanted to go to Ireland, I'm going to sock them. Really. Right in the throat.

Okay, here's the weather in Ireland -

Rainy and cold with a possibility of mist all day and night.

You know what people say to you when you go to Ireland? (After the initial "Are ye Catholic?") They ask you, "How are ye likin' Ireland - ceptin' fer the weather?"


Why do you think it's so green? BECAUSE IT RAINS ALL OF THE TIME!

Why do you think they're so pale? Don't make me say it.

I tell ya', give me a half naked guy serving me a drink with a little umbrella in it and I'm a happy camper. Bonus points if there's a flamingo involved.

As I type this, it's 37 degrees (F) outside. Okay, that's not the moronically cold -14 that nonsensical Yankees live in or even those Big Sky people but it's cold for here. Add in the moisture from the ocean and it's downright frigid.

Did I mention I hate the cold?

Mister Heatmiser is my hero.

Sing along everyone! I'm mister 101.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"T" anyone?

Prepare for a rant...

Rant? Maybe too strong a word.

Vent? Not sure that's strong enough.

Vant. There you go. Somewhere in the middle.

So... yeah.


Say it with me "tuh tuh tuh TEEE"

Everyone got it?

Top of the teeth. Tip of the tongue.

We're all on the same page, right?


So tell me WHY don't people pronounce the "Ts" in:


I could go on.

I was recently at an American Girl Luncheon/Fundraiser event and there were two girls picked to narrate the fashion show and luncheon. They were well dressed, pleasant enough, and when they started speaking it was pleasing to the ear until they got to the word "Cotton".

Cah - en

But it didn't end there because later one of the girls modeled a cute outfit with Mih - ens.

Heaven forbid they be cah-en mih-ens.

It's not that difficult of a word, cotton. Mitten is pretty easy too, or so I thought.

This led to a wonderful discussion afterward (you'll notice there's no "s" on the end of "afterward" nor are there on the ends of "forward" or "backward".)

My seven year old daughter thought the girls were hilarious. She thought they were intentionally misspeaking as a joke. She would say "cah-en" and just lose herself in laughter. "Mommy, where's my mih-en?" and guffaws would ensue.

I had to explain to her that this was how those girls speak naturally.

"Oh." and a slight frown of disgust filled her face.

"There are Ts in those words." she answered.

"Yes, there are."

"Look at her, a prisoner of the gutters. Condemned by every syllable she utters."


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What was I saying?

You know that feeling when you are about to say something and you get distracted and you forget what you're going to say? That frustration? That "it's on the tip of my tongue" but you just can't manage to remove it feeling? I just hate that.

I have to admit that I lose things more than I'd like to. Sometimes, it's because I have 4 children and one of them has relocated it for me. Sometimes, it's because hubby is being a "dear" and putting things away for me. (Notice how I'm not admitting fault in losing anything?) :o)

I lose my knitting. I lose my writings. I lost my mind some time ago. Sometimes, I even lose friends.

Okay, I have to admit, that sometimes I'm happy about that loss. I've lost a couple of chickipoos that should have been lost at sea as far as I'm concerned but I digress....

Facebook has been a terrible struggle for me. There's a fine line between the "I'd really like to know what someone is doing 20 years later because I miss them." and "Oh my God. If that person asks me to confirm them as a friend, I'm going to DIE because I'll HAVE too (out of some sense of warped obligation) and then well, there they are again after I shed them the first time."

I blame hubby for opening some of those doors that I thought I'd locked. >:o(

There are however, those friends that once I lost touch with them make me have that feeling that I forgot something and it's driving me nuts mixed with the feeling of stopping at a stop light but the inertia being weird and you never feel like you've settled back in (or am I the only one that has that weird feeling?)

There are three people that have really touched me in my life that I misplaced. People that I really connected with and at the risk of sounding corny, really felt a spiritual bond with. Through life changes, my self-absorption, or maybe even taking the friendship for granted, I've lost those three people.

The problem with psychic hotlines is that they never know anything substantial. They claim to know everything but can't tell me where my 10.5 circular knitting needle is. I can't call them and ask where my other earring is (the one I took out in my sleep) nor do they know where my knitting graph book is. Anyone? Where *did* I put that thing?

But eventually, when I'm looking for something else, I'll find it. That's always the way it works for me. I'm in the throws of frantically looking for my other flamingo shoe and I find my earring.

Tonight, as I sat down to the computer, I was looking for an escape. I had a horrible terrible no good day. Really, I'd only need a death in the family to have made it worse. So while I was looking for "something else", I found a lost friend of mine. Well, actually, HE found ME. Semantics. ;o)

It was the completing feeling of finally remembering what I was going to say after almost 20 years.

It was way better than finding my other flamingo shoe!

So here's a special blog shout out to my buddy. You know who you are! I've missed you terribly, friend! I'm glad life is treating you well. You deserve it. And I'm glad that fate shined on me today and I found you again.

... and I promise to be more careful with my prized possessions next time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A present for you...

Yesterday I thought about Christmas presents (or Channukah presents or Bodhi Day or Yule or Kwanzaa or Eid al Fitr - whatever you celebrate) for everyone.

Much to my dismay, my family doesn't groove on home made presents with the exception of my dear Mother in Law. And even if she doesn't like them, she's never been tacky as to tell me she doesn't like them. :o)

The only gift my parents like that I have made is an iPhoto book that we started doing a few years ago.

The rest of their presents are usually gift cards. It saves them the trouble of returning what I've bought them which happens every year. Just when I think I've gotten the perfect present, I see it in the bag to be donated to Salvation Army or they give it to me years later with the story, "I don't know who gave this to me but I never use it. Do you want it because I'm just going to throw it away."


So, the photo books are easy enough.

The hardest part is actually putting all of the photos together, Photoshopping them so they look good, and laying out the order.

My children are very photogenic (thankfully) and because I used to work as a photographer, I've trained them early on "good shots" and how to "pose" although I love candid shots too.

But not all of us have children and not all of us like to take pictures and not all of us want a bunch of pictures or books sitting around either.

So, I thought of weird presents that are so bizarre, someone will surely love them. Some of these things will be patterns I've written that were inspired by other people's work. (No copyright infringement - just my own twist on their ideas.)

Other things will be unusual gifts that aren't necessarily tied to the holidays (which is good because then you can use them all year long!)

Some things will be geared toward children (although you should know right now that I don't do popsicle sticks and glue stuff with my children - we're too cool and talented for that crap and so are you.) But I promise I'll make it easy and unique and fun.

Still other things will be adults only gifts. These may even be X-rated so if your'e squeamish, be forewarned. I'll put a warning on them though that they are not safe for work or around children (NSFW/NSFC). You'll have to look at them at home and when the children are asleep.

By the way, the Christmas music has started at my house so I'm in the mood to craft, bake, decorate, and create. I hope that these ideas, activities, desserts, and crafts (did she just type DESSERTS? Did she really? Is there a chance they are CHOCOLATE? Why yes, a VERY good chance!)

Anyway, starting December 1st, you'll find a new pattern, activity, or recipe here EVERY DAY until December 24th. After that, you're on your own and you get a raised eyebrow from me for waiting so long!

And because I don't want you to return them, exchange them, or regift them, you tell me what YOU'D like to see and I'll see if I can slip the word to Santa... or a little snow bird. :o)

Friday, November 7, 2008

What was she THINKING?

I'm going to say it. My friends (the majority, that is) are going to hate me for doing so but I just can't keep it in any longer.


Thank God Blackwell is already dead although I suspect he was rolling over in his grave election night.

I'm sure on someone that dress is fitting. She'll probably also have dead-white skin, dyed black hair, fishnet stockings with rips in it, fingerless gloves, and black fingernails and lips. She'd be so Goth she's dead.

Really, people. At what point do your best girlfriends not tell you, "Oh, my God. I wouldn't and you shouldn't either." ?

Let me break it down for you.

What do these two pictures have in common?

So I have to ask myself, "Freudian slip?" or just bad taste. Because if *I* see this comparison, you can bet others will too.

There's no shame in talking to a fashion expert about what is appropriate to wear. The shame is in the designers that lie to make their designs coveted.

Michelle, really, next time? Please consult Stacy London before you go to a big shindig that people will remember FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Driver Picks the music, Shotgun shuts his cakehole

I have a confession:

I love Christmas music. I could really listen to it all year long.

It's not so much that the songs are brilliant or even particularly breath-taking (although I'd say that Ave Maria or Oh Holy Night were), it's that they are familiar. They are easy to sing along to because since childhood, no matter what your faith, you've heard them.

I love the comfort and familiarity of them. Nothing evokes strong emotions in me like the memories I have of family gatherings with a soundtrack of love, fun, and goodwill toward men in the background.

I boastfully dare anyone to compare their Christmas music collection to mine. You just can't. My iTunes account says that should I listen to my Christmas music non-stop, it would take me almost a month. Simply put, I am the Christmas Music Goddess.

The familiarity and comfort of music isn't just at Christmastime. I am a huge fan of Classic Rock for the same reason. I know the songs. I grew up with them. They are part of who I am.

It's no wonder then that in my car you have two choices of music - Jazz or Classic Rock.

I know the words so I can mindlessly sing along and not have to actively listen while I'm driving. In other words, it's too distracting to listen to new music while I drive.

As my children enter their tweens and teens, we've embarked upon a new problem - Can I listen to xyz?


Each of my children have iPods but we often play a game called "Radio DJ". When I ride shotgun, I get to be radio DJ because even though I'm not pushing the pedals or turning the steering wheel, I'm still mentally driving. I'm watching exits, idiots on the road, etc. I may take requests. I may surprise a child with a song I know they love but mostly, I control the music.

I'd love to say I'm not being controlling but I know I am. With four children each going in their own directions, no say in politics, no say in how others live, I feel that having to be in control of the music in the car is a small thing to ask.

My car. My radio.

Don't like what's on the radio? Turn on your iPod and shut your cakehole.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Eve

My friends have been nagging me to write a political blog post since I'm so outspoken in person about politics but my thought was - you guys don't want to hear me regurgitate some "There are more than two parties, people!" diatribe to all of you.

I'm tired of the commercials, you're tired of the commercials... the last thing you need is one more endorsement to make you go insane and kill your neighbors. "He was always so quiet and kept to himself." you'd hear the other neighbors say on the 6 o'clock news.

Instead, I'll give you my dream cabinet. If *I* were in charge of the world.

These choices were based not just on International opinion of us because face it, I've put some scary mothers in charge of security. It's also based on the caricatures these departments have become and the ease in which we, as a society, place a character in a role instead of knowing what they truly represent.

Some appointments were simply for my amusement and hopefully the amusement of others around me.

And I cannot go without crediting my husband, Alan, for his vital contributions to this list. Who knew that Chong was really the drug expert and not Cheech?

Though we have long since ceased to be under a monarchy, I like to think of us (Alan and myself) as the King and Queen of this new political era.

Those of you disgusted with two-party systems and hoping for REAL change and not the other head of this two-headed beast called the Republicats or Demopubs pay close attention. You do not have to suffer your electile dysfunction alone!


Years past have always produced one particular name in American Politics - proof that you need not be qualified for the position if the people want you badly enough but truth be told, those that think McCain too old should really stop writing in "Mickey Mouse." First, he's a mouse. There's no chair that's going to fit him and unless Algernon is running as his VP, we're not going to get a lot of serious national commitment out of him.

Instead, I present you with OUR vision for national leaders:

President - Martin Sheen
Vice President - Arnold Schwartznegger
Secretary of Defense - Chuck Norris
Chief of Staff - Christopher Walken
Secretary of State - Bill Mahr
National Security Advisor - Sylvester Stallone
Secretary of the Treasury - Ben Stein
Attorney General - Jack Nicholson
Secretary of Homeland Security - Bruce Willis
Secretary of the Interior - Woody Harrelson
Secretary of Agriculture - Willie Nelson
Secretary of Commerce - Paris Hilton
Secretary of Labor - Sally Field
Secretary of Health and Human Services - Richard Simmons
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Martha Stewart
Secretary of Transportation - Dale Earnhart, Jr.
Secretary of Energy - Ed Begley, Jr.
Secretary of Education - Morgan "The Batman" Freeman
Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Oliver Stone
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency - Bear Grylls
Director of the Office of Management and Budget - Dave Ramsey
Director of the National Drug Control Policy - Tommy Chong
United States Trade Representative - Kyle MacDonald (the red paper clip guy - look him up!)
Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - Donald Trump
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration - Abe Vigoda
Director of National Intelligence - Fred Thompson
And my personal favorite ....
Whitehouse Spokesperson/Press Secretary - Antonio Banderas. (If I have
to watch these impromptu and boring interruptions, I want to have some eye candy.)

Thank you.

God bless you and God bless America!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Instant Make-over

I love any TV show or magazine that shows before and after makeovers. I know that they're trivial and focus on the physical only. I understand that they're shallow. I love them all the same however.

It's no wonder then that Halloween gives me the same kind of joy.

Before and After.

Here is Katy getting ready for Halloween. At 7, she wore this skin-tight leopard suit much to my dismay. I can blame my mother who bought it for her, I guess. Truth is, I liked that she wanted to be a leopard. She saw Cats a few months ago and decided then that this is what she was going to be. I think I was just uncomfortable with the tightness of the costume and remarked that she was merely missing the pole.

She was beautiful however. Lots of compliments for my little leopardess.

Fun, huh?

Not to be outdone, Caleb went as a gargoyle. He loved it. I was so impressed with his decision and he totally got into the role.


Who said those art and theatre degrees were a waste!?!

Of course, you can't trick or treat without bags, right? Those were the next items on the agenda. (Because I do everything backward, doncha' know.)

This was so simple. We made the bags ourselves out of some scrap canvas I had.

After searching the Web for pumpkin stencils, I got the idea to use the same stencils to paint our bags.

I am so smart it's scary, I tell you. People should name a country after me. Hubby says they already have, "Turkey." See how hard it is to get good help?

Some black acrylic paint, a pumpkin stencil all cut out, some semi-tacky (just like me) spray adhesive so the paper will stay stuck to the fabric, some brushes, and we were in business.

It's always better to paint or decorate an item before you sew it up so that's what we did. This was so easy and the results were quite boutique-ish, I thought.

Both of them claim they'll use these bags after Halloween so we're also reducing, reusing, and recycling!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!