Friday, April 29, 2005

Confused Muses and Neurotic Dogs...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: If anybody ever tells you you're one in a million, just realize that means there are 100 people just like you in China.

I don’t get it. My Writing Muse is back; she announced her arrival yesterday, but not how I intended. In fact, I’m perplexed...
Back story: I am supposed to be delivering a YA novel about a 17-year old girl living in Victorian England to my agent this year, and for some reason, all these other stories keep popping into my head that aren’t even the YA genre!
This latest diversion takes place in a fictitious rural village in Scotland (a place I know VERY little about!) but my Muse said that’s where it takes place. She gave me the location of the village (between Turriff and Aberdeen), the name of the Heroine, the name of the Hero, and a lot of the names of the people of the town. I even have a movie in my head about it.

So what gives? I NEED TO BE WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! I am on a deadline, and I need to be writing about Egypt and strange curses and two silly Victorian girls who find romance in the desert, for Cripe’s sake! UGH!!!
I need to go watch some period movies or something. I need to forget all this nonsense and tell the Muse that she GOT IT WRONG, and I need to focus on the “right” story!

--Also, on a lighter note, I’ve discovered that my dog is Neurotic. I suppose it’s because I am highly impatient with him when he goes to the bathroom. I’m always telling him to “hurry up Hagan” and now he’s started doing this thing while he poops, a cross between a Tap Dance and a Butt Wiggle. (Perhaps it helps him “get it out” faster?)
In fact, I think I’ve trained him to be the fastest Pooper/Pee-er in the Midwest, because he runs out, frantically sniffs around, then squats, then runs over, frantically sniffs some more and does the Tap-Dancing/Wiggling/Pooping Thing in no time flat.
What can I say? I HATE being outside in the cold—but now I have a neurotic dog who thinks he’s a failure if he doesn’t eliminate in 30 seconds flat.

I think maybe I need to start from the beginning with him...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Feeling a little Anxious...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: I've started an exercise program. I do 20 sit-ups each morning. That may not sound like a lot, but you can only hit that snooze button so many times...

I am exhausted. I didn’t sleep well the night before, and tonight, the wind howled and howled and then I woke up realizing it was my puppy howling to go to the bathroom at 3am (darn hubby for letting him drink his whole water bowl late at night!) and I stumbled outside with him in my flimsy pj’s and a jacket, and got hit by a decidedly ARCTIC blast of air, mixed with rain.

UGH. What is the deal with Wisconsin weather? 80 degrees one day, and the next: 35 and flurries. I mean c’mon Mother Nature, a little consistency would be appreciated! Especially since my daughter will have to wear a FULL BODY snowsuit to soccer practice. Bad for the mobility.

I am also cranky today. Cranky because my husband’s company now has a “for sale” sign hanging on it, and everyone at his work is freaking out thinking they’re going to get laid off when the imminent sale happens. My hubby is keeping a rather cool head about it (luckily he’s pretty well connected if anything SHOULD happen) but we just got settled in here in our nice house and neighborhood, and I LOVE the schools here. My kids have friends, the community is awesome, etc. etc..
It’s funny how Life can seem to be so perfect one day, then teasing and taunting the next. For all the ranting I do about the weather, I really don’t mind living here. (just in Winter, heh heh!).

So, we’ll see what the future holds. Hubby is hoping that an investment group will buy out the company, and keep the same people, but in reality, that rarely happens. I mean, look at how Federated bought out May Company. All those May employees are looking for jobs, or will be soon when their divisions are dissolved. This could happen to Hubby’s company. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Boy Am I in Trouble...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare." --Ed Asner

Big BOOK trouble, that is. Ever since the discovery of a Half Price Books near my neighborhood, I have made almost weekly trips there, and come back home loaded down with a lot of things I probably don’t need, but LOVE to have.
It’s crazy. You can find anything you want there. Hardbacks, paperbacks, movies, software, books on tape, cd’s, records, you name it. My particular interests lately have been research books for the genres I write. This week’s spoils include:
THE STUARTS (A Royal History of England) Edited by Antonia Fraser
THE TUDORS (A Royal History of England) Edited by Antonia Fraser
VICTORIAN AND EDWARDIAN FASHION: A PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY (With 253 illustrations) by Alison Gernsheim (**very excited about this one!**)

What can I say? I am in SO much trouble. Granted, that grand excursion only set me back around $60, but that adds up when you do it a few times a month!
I think I need to get to the Library more…
I have to say though, Half Price Books is WAY more fun than a conventional bookstore, because you don’t know what you’ll find in there. For example, one of my friends, who collects vintage Sweet Valley High books, goes in there weekly to see what she can add to her collection, and one week, to her utter joy, she found that someone had turned in almost a complete set.
Same with another friend, who collects original V.C. Andrews books, (which for some reason are nigh impossible to find) and she’s had a lot of luck there too.
I need to just STOP going there. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll stop cold turkey. Yes, that's it. I don’t have to go to a freaking bookstore every week! I have so many other things I can do with my time! I have children and a family to take care of, for Cripe's sake! (And of course now that I’ve said that, some brilliant professor of History has just cleaned out his closet somewhere and is headed to Half Price Books to unload his research materials…)

Ooh, where are my car keys???

Monday, April 25, 2005

Back to the Grind...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: In the beginning, there was nothing. And the Lord said: 'LET THERE BE LIGHT' and there was still nothing but now you could see it.

Whew. We’re finally back now, and it’s good to be home. Aside from injuries sustained from kids literally launching themselves at me upon my return, and a nasty event resulting from a suspicious-smelling airport deli sandwich, everything for the return trip home ran rather smoothly. Thank Heaven.

Now it’s back to reality, away from the Florida sun, but I’m happy to settle back into the routine. I missed my daily stuff, I missed my kids, I even missed my puppy.
Now that I’m all relaxed and ready to start anew, I have decided that I really need to WORK ON MY NOVEL. If I can’t make it great, I need to toss it and start on something else. I need to figure out how to get excited about it again. I need the movie projector in my head to come back. For some reason or another it’s deserted me lately. I usually have these vivid movies in my head, and I write what I see. So what’s happening to me? I need my muse back!
Hmmmm, I’ve got to figure this one out soon…

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Trying to Relax while missing the kids...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: People who claim they don't let little things bother them have never slept in a room with a single mosquito.

Ahhh, much better yesterday. Hubby was working while I slept in, ordered room service, and lay out by the pool. We got moved to a fantastic suite, and the view is amazing.
Last night we gorged ourselves on sushi, crab, oysters, lobster bisque and shrimp scampi, then watched Hitch in our room (highly funny but slightly corny and unrealistic) and this morning, we did something we’ve never done before, well, in about seven years—we SLEPT IN UNTIL 9:30 a.m.!!! (and the only reason we woke up was because we could hear the maids coming to tidy up the rooms)
Today is overcast and windy, but warm. We’re going to the beach anyway, I told my kids I’d bring them some seashells, and then we’re going for side-by-side massages at the spa. Then we’re going for the “best crabcakes in town,” and maybe I’ll coax Hubby into another movie in—we never saw “Phantom of the Opera” in the theaters—I’ll see if I can persuade him.
As for that horrible experience (see previous "from hell" post) the hotel manager personally apologized for the mixup, and they have definitely made up for it. We are just going to block the trip up from our minds, and focus on having some fun—although I will say I really, really miss my little ones!! *sniff*

What can I say, this is my first time away from them in years and years!

Friday, April 22, 2005


QUOTE OF THE DAY: All people have the right to stupidity but some abuse the privilege.

Yesterday was literally from hell. And I’m not saying that lightly. It was so bad, well, I won’t even publicly voice the thoughts that were running through my head at the close of the day. Here’s what happened:
**Disclaimer, there is extreme cursing in this particular entry, so if you are easily offended, please discontinue reading**

It started out as any normal trip. My sister flew down to watch our kids for a long weekend so Hubby and I could fly to Jacksonville, Florida. It was to be the two of us, something we haven’t done in about NINE years, and it was about time. Hubby was going to do business meetings all day Friday, and we’d have Saturday and Sunday to ourselves. Pretty sweet, eh? Yeah.

So, in the morning, before we left for the airport, I had on my snazzy outfit, and my expensive but snappy shoes, and my sister took one look at them and said “you are going to be dying in those by tonight.” I snorted and calmly (and a bit airily) informed her that I would only be going to the airport, then one terminal, then into a car, so I wouldn’t be walking much. I wasn’t worried.
So, our flight out to Memphis was on time, comfortable, and everything was just hunky dory. Our gate was even just a stone’s throw from our entry, so we casually walked over and sat down, and waited, chatting comfortably (me, my hubby, and one of his co-workers, Nicole.)
Well, shortly afterwards, there was an announcement, that the flight was “delayed due to mechanical problems.” They announced that the flight would be departing 40 minutes later than scheduled, and since we had an hour on top of that, we decided to scoot on down the terminal for some sit-down lunch.
Things were still going well, I had a fabulous salad with grilled chicken, then when we were finished, we walked back to the gate, (30 minutes before departure) only to be informed that the plane was departing out of a gate on the other end of the terminal. We were a little miffed, but walked all the way down there anyway, and as we got closer, we heard the distinct sound of someone yelling, at the top of their lungs. It appeared to be a lady (along with a couple others) and they were being escorted off the plane, and we shrugged our shoulders and walked up to board and the attendant shook her head at us and said we couldn’t board the flight.

Our jaws dropped. We had tickets, we were WAY before the takeoff time, so what was the deal? She explained to us that the big plane was broken, so they’d switched to a smaller plane, and it couldn’t accommodate 12 of the ticketed passengers. So they had to de-plane a few of the passengers, and since we were “late arriving” we DEFINITELY weren’t getting on. “So sorry, go to the (blankety blank) Customer Service counter and she will book you on another flight.”

They said this to us cheerily, not as if they were delivering the most awful news in the world, but as if they were telling us some EXCITING news, and we should be off our heads with joy about it. Like we’d won the lottery or something. (I’m sure it was a diffusing tactic, but it ended up annoying us more than anything.)

Well, we were too dignified to act like Yelling Lady (whose vociferous tones could still be heard even though she had stomped off halfway down the terminal) and we angrily shouldered our bags and marched YET AGAIN down to the other end of the terminal to the (Blankety-blank Airline) customer service desk.
There we encountered MARIAN, the 15-year veteran of (Blankety-blank) Airlines’ Customer service. According to her, she was the GURU of customer service, and as her heavily –laquered two-inch nails clackety-clacked away at the speed of sound on the keyboard, she (also very suspiciously) cheerily informed us that there were no other flights out to Jacksonville until 8pm that evening (it was currently 2:30pm) and Oh, they’d overbooked that flight and we couldn’t get on it anyway, so she was going to look up the partner airline and see what available flights THEY had.
She found one on another airline, but it was the only one out and it was at 3pm, and we said we’d never make it and she told us that was hogwash and if we RAN, we’d make it. So she just as cheerfully-as-you-please printed us up free ticket vouchers, printed up new itineraries, ripped up our old boarding passes, and told us (again, quite cheerily) that we would have to EXIT the terminal, go back in, and go through security again, but it was “absolutely fine, because the airport is virtually empty right now and there won’t be any lines.”
Then she shooed us away and started helping a lady in a pink tank top with a toddler, who was looking quite purple in the face because she’d apparently suffered the same plight we were currently in.
So, by this time, we were jogging (my snappy shoes weren’t starting to feel so snappy at this point) outside the terminal, and back to the ticketing desks, where we came upon Louella, who took one look at what Marian gave us and asked us, point blank, why the hell she’d done that.
She asked us for tickets. We didn’t have any. She asked us for boarding passes. Nervous, we told her we had nothing but the itineraries Marian had printed for us. She rolled her eyes, and asked us our names, and found us in the computer. She said “there is no way you are going to make it onto this flight,” and proceeded to SLOWLY print boarding passes for us, until I was at the point of screaming WELL WE BLOODY WELL AREN’T GOING TO MAKE IT IF YOU PIDDLY-FART AROUND ALL DAY LONG!!!

So we finally got our passes, and the pink lady with the toddler arrived at the ticketer to the side of us, and the ticketer told the lady that she couldn’t get on the flight, and the lady burst into tears, threw her bags down on to the ground, raised her hands up in the air and started DEMANDING justice.
We looked back questioningly at Louella, who told us to GO GO GO now, and we asked her if she had called for the agent to hold the plane, and she said yes, and to RUN.
So we ran, of course, since we had changed flights, she had coded us with the SSSS, which I believe stands for SUPER STRIP SEARCH SECURITY, because we had to endure the humiliating search and pat-down while all of our stuff was unceremoniously dumped out, which took TEN BLOODY MINUTES and by the time we were in a dead sprint, heading for the gate, we arrived only to find that it had dispatched already, and we were furious because it wasn’t even 3pm, but 2:55 pm, and WHY THE EFF HAD THEY ALLOWED THE PLANE TO LEAVE EARLY IF THEY’D KNOWN WE WERE COMING?

So they told us that they couldn’t even TALK to us for a half an hour because they needed to close out the plane, so they told us to go BACK to our original airline, and complain to them.
So, we had to walk across the airport once more (by this time my shoes were cutting into my feet and I was loaded down with handbag, magazines, water and a 20-pound laptop bag which made things worse) and found Marian again, and we were fuming.

She looked at us like she couldn’t believe we were standing there before her, and she got on the phone and started cheerfully yelling (I know that sounds impossible but she was doing it) at the other airline and then started the clackety-clack clacking thing with her long nails, and told us that the OTHER airline had a flight leaving at 8:30 pm, and going to ATLANTA and THEN another flight, getting us into Jacksonville at MIDNIGHT. FREAKING MIDNIGHT.

We had no alternatives, so we grumpily allowed her to book us on that flight, and she informed us that we would have to GO OUT OF THE TERMINAL AGAIN AND COME BACK IN AND RE-TICKET WITH THE OTHER AIRLINE, as we had just done a half hour before. More lovely walking.
We huffed off, not able to believe our horrible luck, and when we finally got back to the other airline’s ticket counter we truly were hopping mad, and of course Louella was nowhere to be found. So we went up to the lady and explained the situation to her, and she looked at us as if we’d grown horns, and my husband told her he wanted to speak with a supervisor.
At this point, a crowd of French people came in behind us, and I could tell that they were sneering at us somewhat, because we were angry and demanding some sort of redemption. I knew just enough French to know that they were calling us “arrogant” and making decidedly catty comments about Nicole’s shoes, and I decided that they could ROT IN LINE.
Fifteen minutes later, we got it all resolved, and there was actually a bright spot, there was a flight that left at 8pm and got into Jacksonville at TEN THIRTY instead of midnight, and we got onto that one, and got $50 off our next tickets for all the mess they put us through (Louella’s fault of course).
So, we had to go through the SUPER SECURITY STRIP SEARCH thing again (Weren't they just here Vern? Yes, I think they were! Ha ha ha ha ha!) and we sat in the lounge and had diet cokes, and talked for three hours (I think the old geezer at the bar wanted us to vacate the prime seats, he kept asking us if we were finished, but we weren’t going to move) and finally when the time came, we walked down to the gate (my feet were raw and oozing at this point) and sat down.
Nicole and I were lamenting about being at the very back of the plane, and Hubby looked at his ticket and laughed because he was in the row right behind first class. He said he’d go and see if we could at least get seats together, and sauntered off, while Nicole and I bemoaned our aching feet and took turns ill-wishing Marian and her effing airline into Oblivion.

Well, not two minutes later, Hubby comes storming over to us, and shaking with rage, informs us that he’s NOT EVEN ON THAT FLIGHT, but on the later flight that gets into Jacksonville at 12:55 and it’s departing out of another terminal completely.
Nicole and I just looked at him, agape in shock, and he said that the agent told him she’d put him on standby but he had a “snowball’s chance in Hell” of getting on.

We were aghast. We couldn’t believe it. Could anything else go wrong? At that point, I went into the Ladies and prayed that Hubby would get onto the plane, so this hellish day would be over and we could go to bed in our nice comfortable suite at the hotel.
I came back out, and they announced that some of the standby passengers were going to be let on (apparently there was a delay with another connecting flight, and by some miracle, Hubby got onto the flight.
We were ecstatic. We couldn’t believe it. Even when they announced that there would be a 30-minute delay, we grinned away, because we were officially OVER IT.
We go onto the plane (of course Hubby in the very front and me in the very back) and I sat next to a very kind but very nosy lady who the entire trip, asked me such questions as “did I breastfeed my children?” and “did I use birth control or go by God’s Plan for me?” (and no, I am seriously NOT kidding.)
We finally arrived in Jacksonville, our luggage was waiting for us at the baggage office, and we got it and went outside.
But there was no car service. They were supposed to be picking us up, but there was no car, no man standing with a sign with our name on it, waiting for us, nothing.

We couldn’t believe it. We waited. And waited, and waited. 20 minutes later, Nicole was on her phone, and we found out that we were waiting in the wrong spot, and we had to walk all the way around to where the limos and cars were.
By this time I was openly hobbling with a dreadful limp, my feet were so painful it was all I could do to keep from screaming, and at least Hubby took pity on me and took the 20-pound laptop for me so I could have a lighter load.
To top everything off, after a few phone calls, we discovered that our kids were being little shits for my sister, who clearly was handling the situation well, but becoming very quickly frazzled.
We found our car, and our driver informed us it was 45 minutes to our hotel (very nice, click here to see it) and I nearly fell asleep in the comfy leather while Hubby and Nicole talked business.
We got to our hotel, checked in, and tiredly dragged our bags to our suite. (of course, Hubby got lost and we had to walk the ENTIRE way around the hotel to get to our suite, (at this point I ripped off my #@^&**!! Shoes and walked barefoot, and I didn’t care if the whole of the Jacksonville population saw me, I was officially a mess anyway) and we got inside our suite, set down our luggage, and promptly began screaming at each other about stupid stuff (we admit now that we were both exhausted beyond exhausted and annoyed on top of it all) and Hubby ripped the door to the bedroom open to find some random naked guy barreling out at us, yelling WHAT THE F*CK!!! at the top of his lungs and freaking us out completely.

Looking back, we really must have scared him to bits. It was 1am, we busted in on his suite, yelling and making a fuss, and forcing ourselves into his bedroom, where he and his wife had been blissfully sleeping moments before. I’d be freaked too.
Once we had apologized profusely and explained that they had given us this room as well by mistake, he calmed down and became a very nice person, and even helped me with my bags out the door (which was still extremely mortifying because he was in a state of near complete undress) and Hubby and I STORMED back to the front desk, where to our relief, the customer service people fell all over themselves apologizing and trying to make it right. We got that night free, and were given a different room.
Exhausted to the point of tears now (at least on my part) we trudged up to the room, only to discover, to our dismay, that it was a room with TWO LITTLE BEDS, and not the King Suite we were promised.
I was beginning to seriously wonder if anything else could go wrong at this point. Absolutely NOTHING had worked out the entire day, and I was ready for a nervous breakdown. Hubby got on the phone with the front desk AGAIN, and they wanted us to go BACK DOWN to the desk, and we decided that we’d had it, we could do the Ricky and Lucy Arnaz Sleeping Arrangement for one night.
Of course Hubby wanted to eat something since we hadn’t eaten anything but gum and breath mints in the last nine hours, and I informed him that it was 2am and I wanted to go to bed. But he ordered pizza anyway, and of course had to blare the tv and get on the computer, with ALL THE LIGHTS ON until the wee hours of the morning.

So, here I am, I just finished my in-room breakfast and am going to be moved to a better suite in a short time, and all I can say, is that I hope the rest of this weekend isn’t like yesterday. I think I would seriously die.

Of course, I hear we’re supposed to have severe thunderstorms all day tomorrow….

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I'm such a Potterhead...

Quote of the Day: "If you were looking for the opportune moment, that was it."--Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Carribean

And no, not Pothead, POTTER-HEAD. How so? I am one of those adults who has a silly preoccupation with all things Harry Potter. Ah, the days when I was blissfully unaware. I used to scoff at anyone who had their nose buried in a HP book. "I'm not into witches and wizards and unicorn stuff" I'd say. (I guess you could say I was definitely as Dursley-ish as I could be.)
Then, one day, bored to tears, I picked up HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, and began to read.
I was aghast. It was pure magic. I was hopelessly hooked. I read the first one in a few days, then the second, then the third, and by that point, was chomping at the bit by the time the fourth one came out.
I even got my Hubby, of all people, addicted to the adventures of the boy wizard with the lightning-bolt scar. And my hubby is one of the most businesslike, pragmatic people I know. Let's just say that I'm tempted to buy two copies of HALF-BLOOD PRINCE because he's threatening to grab it from me and read it first. (I told him I'd let him only if he could read it in ONE day, and he said he could).
So why am I lamenting? Because there's still 86 Days, 16 Hours, 6 Minutes and 9 Seconds until the Sixth Harry Potter book comes out, according to my "countdown desktop" I downloaded a week ago. You can get it here.
But be warned, once you download it, if you click on the picture of the HBP cover, you'll be taken to the Scholastic website for Harry Potter, and you might be tempted to play the Wizard Challenge, and you might actually waste lots and lots of time trying to answer the questions correctly, because it's so much dang fun. Consider yourself Warned!!!
I've often wondered why am I so enchanted by J.K. Rowling's work? I've boiled it down to one simple fact: Her Imagination. I write Young Adult novels, and I am in constant awe of the sheer scope of the world she has created. That's something I can only aspire to do.

...Speaking of aspiring, my novel is STILL with a big publisher right now, and I'm beginning to get that little "haven't heard from them and starting to get freaked out" Nervousness Bug.
(I suspect that means the rejection will be emailed to me shortly.)

Great, now I'm all nervous again. UGH.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Crotch Breezer???

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Who's idea of a sick joke was it to put an "s" in the word lisp?

I think I have now officially “seen it all.” Or so it would seem. Why the suspiciously uncouth Blog title, you ask? Well, only because I’m not sure exactly what to call it. So I made up my own name. Before I scare you ENTIRELY away, here’s the story:

So, last night, I realize that I need to buy a bunch of groceries, so I tell Hubby that I’m going to run to the store, and of course I take his brand new car that he just got last Saturday. I love driving it. It’s black outside with black leather inside and rich wood everywhere. I loooooove it. When I drive it I open the moon roof and blast my Josh Groban Closer CD, and I feel…well…special.
Well, the moon is out in the cloudless sky, the kids are asleep back at home, and I’m driving along in this wonderful car, when suddenly, I realize that there’s a funny sensation of well, extreme cold on my er…well, erm, under my bum.
What the heck?
I put my hand down tentatively and realize that there is in fact a very cold breeze blowing erm…under my bum, and it is literally coming from inside the seat. The seat seems to be blowing cold air right under you know where.

I am slightly surprised, because this, well, “crotch breezer” might be considered refreshing on a hot summer day, but currently it’s cooled to the 50’s outside and my rear end is beginning to get cold. I glance at the dashboard and the control panel, and begin to panic, because the inside of the car is so full of gadgets it resembles the cockpit of an airplane.
I search and search all the little switches and buttons and screens in vain, until I finally pull over and locate the control of said Crotch Breezer between the “Calculate Yearly Tax Return” and “Make Toast” switches. I mean, SHEESH people. The stuff these cars can do now is amazing. Way too complicated for this luddite.

Unfortunately for me, I can’t find the Off button, I can only see that the switch allows me to switch from cold to warm. So I put the switch somewhere in the middle, and carry on.
(Out of curiosity, I had to look up what the crotch breezer is, and apparently, Lexus calls this feature the “heated front seat” feature, but I find it slightly amusing that the air wafts up right where your bum sits. That to me, is just… well, a bit silly. Who wants a cold or hot bum? Not only that, but what if you're in a car with a bunch of people and...Okay, scratch that question. Moving on…)

So, I like the car. Granted, it’s probably smarter than me (it has to be with all those technical gadgets and memory systems) so next time my daughter needs help with her math homework, I’ll direct her to the garage.
But first I’ll warn her about the Crotch Breezer.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Ah, Soccer, Soccer, Soccer...

Quote of the Day: Some people are like slinkeys; they don't really serve a purpose, but you can't help but laugh when one of them falls down the stairs.

It feels like an Eternity since I blogged last. I have shirked my blogger duty. What can I say? Life Happens. I have spent considerably less time on the computer lately and more time working on my house and paying attention to my kids.
It's tough to find that "balance" and I don't quite think I've mastered it yet. When I am true to my writing/surfing, my family suffers, and when I'm true to my family/house, my computer gets neglected. There was actually a layer of dust on it this morning, and that's something I haven't seen in a while.
Unfortunately, I am going on a mini-vacation this week, so my computer will be even MORE neglected. Be that as it may, here is a brief rundown of how all the first soccer games went on Saturday:

Thing One: Our only daughter, is seven years old. Her game was at 9am Saturday morning. The first game of the day.
She hasn't played a game since Fall (her teammates had other commitments, so there weren't enough girls to play indoor soccer) and their first game was against a team that had been playing indoor soccer ALL winter long, and had quite the advantage in my opinion. Thing One just stood there, looking like a deer in headlights when the game began, and finally, after I broke character and shouted "MOVE THING ONE!!!" from the sidelines she seemed to snap out of it and after that she was on fire. Her team ended up losing, but only by one goal. Way to go Thing One!

Thing Two: Our five-year old, who really wasn't "into" soccer last season, and who BEGGED me to sign him up again (I suspect it was because his younger brother might show him up) announced at 11:30 (five minutes before we arrived at his game field) that he "didn't want to play soccer and wanted to go home."
I thought to myself here we go again because last season I endured a child who, bless him, decided that he'd rather sit out and flirt with the girls on his team than play, and when he DID play, he had to be doing some disastrous "Lord of the Dance" parody at all times on the field instead of paying attention to where the ball was in play, or scoring a goal for the wrong team.
So, I gritted my teeth, and told him that if he didn't get his skinny butt out on that field, that I'd deny him any Gamecube time for a month.
Apparently that did it, because he snapped out of his slump almost immediately, and played a rousing game (in which he scored the first goal, and for HIS team!) until a blister forced him to be sidelined for the rest of the time. GO THING TWO! I think he has finally arrived.

Thing Three: Our four-year old, and last son. A.k.a. "The Bulldozer," this boy IS Sports. He wants to do it all, and he has boundless energy. His Peewee League game was the same time as his brother's (but at a different field) so I missed it. But I heard he did mostly well, except for the goal he scored for the other team. But hey, at least he had people cheering for him! Hubby said he was so excited (doing the Full Victory Dance and all) that he didn't have the heart to chide him for scoring for the opposing team. Go Thing Three!

Whew. Needless to say, it was a busy Saturday. I have hope that as the season progresses, it will become more "fun" to watch, and less painful, although our Saturdays will be completely full from here to end of June.

Such is the life of a Soccer Mom.

or Baseball Mom, or Softball Mom, or Football Mom, or Volleyball Mom.........

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Here We Go...

Quote of the Day: Life is like a luscious chocolate cake. Unfortunately, most of us are diabetic.

So I'm a little frustrated with my mediocre writing at the moment--nothing much I can do but try some "creativity boosters" (no, I am NOT referring to drugs) like movies, music, ANYTHING to stimulate what one of my writer friends refers to as "the Muse." I call her the Creativity Fairy and boy has she been avoiding me lately!

I just realized that I am going to start really despising Saturdays. What used to be a great day to sleep in, have a leisure breakfast and then hang out as a family, will now be known as the GO GO GO DAY.
I mean, all of our kids' (yes, all three of 'em) soccer games are on Saturday. For instance, this particular Saturday, Thing One has her game at 9am at a field across town--then we have to RUN LIKE HELL to the games of Things Two and Three, (which of course BOTH start at 11:30, but at opposite parks), so Hubby and I will have to do Rock/Paper/Scissors to see who gets whom and by the time we all traipse home, exhausted, it will have been five hours straight of Soccer.


I signed up for this?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Having a Reflective Day...

Quote of the Day: Never argue with an idiot, cause he'll bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.

I guess my day hasn't been so much reflective as it has been pensive. I have been thinking long and hard about what I need to do, as a writer, to get where I want.
My whole life, I've had this problem with "getting out there." I'm shy by nature with unfamiliar situations and people, and perhaps that's what's prevented me from really "going for it" in the Writing Industry.
I'm not sure what has happened to me. I used to be so vivacious and confident when I was younger. Maybe I need to "get out more," which can be difficult for a stay-home mom with little adult interaction. I've let myself get to the point where I am virtually "anti-social," and I don't like the way that feels. I need to meet new people and make new friends. I also need to get cracking SERIOUSLY with my writing, instead of the half-hearted stabs I have been attempting since the new year. WHAP! (Lara hits own head ferociously). SNAP OUT OF IT LARA!

Now, what to DO about it...

Friday, April 08, 2005


QUOTE OF THE DAY: I'm not speeding, Officer. I'm qualifying.

This morning was fun. Hubby’s birthday is today, so while he was in the shower getting ready for work I woke the kids up extra early (thank heaven they’re somewhat happy in the morning!) and we all waited on the bed to shout “Happy Birthday” with our homemade cards and our present when he came out.
As a gag, I wrapped up my brand-new hot pink and lime green gardening gloves ($1 at Target) in a box and we presented them to him, and after we’d all had a laugh at the “gag gift” my daughter brought out the real present: a new briefcase for work that he’d been wanting.
Then it was French toast sticks (a LOT easier than making the Real Thing) and orange juice for breakfast, and now he’s off to work. Hopefully he’s had a good start to the workday—and my fingers are crossed that he won’t be too embarrassed by the absurdly large lot of “Happy Birthday” balloons he’ll have delivered to his office a little later today…heh heh. *Lara rubs her hands together in fiendish glee*
Today should be fun. I cleaned my tail off all week to have the house spotless, and I got a sitter so we could have dinner and then catch “Sahara.” Hubby just finished reading the book (Clive Cussler—highly recommend) and so we’re fired up to see it.
I’m even debating whether or not to move all the patio furniture back out (ugh, HEAVY wrought-iron stuff) and the grill, because it officially looks like Spring is here to stay.
Fingers Crossed!

I am making a goal to get 500 words written every day. If I start small, I can meet my goals, and I'll gradually make my word counts bigger. I think the trick is to train myself to stay on a "writing schedule" since with all the spring sports starting up, I have to write out a complicated juggling schedule anyway. Might as well plan time for Writing, eh? *wink*

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A Taste of Summer (UGH!)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge. Others just gurgle.

I had a taste of Summer two days ago. I’m writing about it now because it’s still bothering me. Why, you ask? Because summers around my house can be, well, a bit…hectic. After school two days ago, the sun was out and it was almost 80 degrees, and I had no less than four neighbor kids over, (seven kids total) they all wanted snacks, one of them kept running home crying because she wasn’t getting “played with” evenly, and then she kept running back, only to run right home crying again (this happened several times before she finally had to go to soccer practice, thank HEAVEN) and add in one very excited puppy into the mix, and let’s just say I was VERY glad when it was suppertime and they all went home.

When I was growing up, my neighbor, (let’s call her “Shirley”) had the house that EVERYONE wanted to play at. Neighborhood kids flocked from far and near to play at Shirley’s house, because her (slightly spoiled) daughters had literally every girl toy known to man, she had the biggest house on the block (hence the coolest) and she had an unlimited supply of yummy snacks, which we asked for unabashedly the moment we got to her house, and then on the hour, every hour, afterward. And she would always give them to us.
We would play at her house literally all day long, and when we weren’t playing over, we’d hang on the fence dividing our yards and stare wistfully over into her backyard, regardless of who was over there or what was going on. (I’m still slightly mortified that my parents allowed this, perhaps they were busy cleaning or something and never noticed that their children were gaping over at Shirley’s Garden Party guests, like attention-starved urchins. Some of the guests even took pity on us and gave us food over the fence!)

...But I digress. Now it seems, I am paying for all the turmoil I put poor Shirley through, because my house seems to be the one the neighborhood kids want to play at, because we have a “fun” backyard, we’re centrally located in the neighborhood, and what can I say, my kids are cool! *wink*
But now, as I think hard and look back, Shirley always seemed to be annoyed and unsmiling, and last summer, it officially dawned on me why: we, the neighborhood kids, were eating her out of house and home. And we allowed her no privacy or solace. No wonder she seemed so cheerful when it was time to send us home!
I can relate to Shirley, because my house, at the height of the summer, can have up to NINE kids playing in the yard at once, and they ALL want snacks, they ALL want juice, and like Shirley, I’m too polite to tell them to get their skinny little butts home and bug their mommies (who are probably sitting blissfully on the sofa in their living rooms taking advantage of the silence I’m providing and watching Oprah) to give them a snack from their own cupboards.

Not that I’m bitter or anything, but I now KNOW why Shirley sometimes acted short with us, and I feel for her, because the torch has been passed. Now I’m Shirley. Guess it all boils down to Karma, What Goes Around Comes Around, you name it. But there it is.
It’s going to be a long, looooooong summer, to be sure.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Feeling Disgruntled...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: It's only funny till someone gets hurt... then it's hilarious.

Good News: My little nephew’s surgery went well—however the recovery part is not working out, because he wants to keep “playing” with his mouth and do all the things he’s NOT supposed to do. But he’s four. It’s going to be difficult. But thank Heaven he’s all right.

I’m feeling overwhelmed today. I have my hubby’s birthday on Friday, and I tried to plan this big event, but he put his back out so it looks like we’ll have a quiet evening at home. I had to cancel the sitter and the sushi reservations. But this way the kids can be more involved anyway. I’ll make it fun for them.

Now, as for my title, here's why I'm disgruntled: I actually had an acquaintance of mine tell me that she was disappointed that my blog was mostly about “me” and not more about world events, political consciousness, etc. I told her if she didn’t like it, then not to worry about reading it. I guess in a way, having a blog is selfish for me—I am so wrapped up in the news otherwise (I am absolutely addicted to the Fox News Channel) that it’s a relief to blog about my life, rather than who is debating who, and who has died, and which court scandal is happening now, etc. etc. I like to keep things light. I’m not one to push my opinions on people. Unless I feel very strongly about something. And even then, I like to keep my private life private.
So, if my blog seems selfishly about me, it’s only because I believe that is what a personal blog is for. (I know, I know, it seems slightly oxymoronish--since there's nothing "personal" about a WEB LOG!)
Perhaps I don’t have the most sensational life, but I’m not going to ramble on ad nauseum about my political beliefs or how I absolutely DETEST a certain celebrity or political figure, or the mass injustice there is in the world. There are a lot of bloggers out there who already cover all those things…and it works for them. My hat is off to them.
I prefer to keep it closer to home. Is that a crime?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Odds & Ends...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: One day your prince will come. For now, he just took a wrong turn, got lost, and is too stubborn to ask for directions...

My sister has been having man trouble. I feel for her. I ultimately prefer a good man over being single. I kissed a lot of frogs before I finally settled down—and even though my life resembles the song “1985” I still can claim some happiness!

On a weather note, I think we’ve finally seen the last of snow (now that I’ve actually said it, I expect the blizzard to hit momentarily) since it’s been sunny and almost 70 every day. My next rant is not for the weak of stomach, so if you’re prone to queasiness, DO NOT READ AHEAD or you’ll lose those crullers and coffee you just ingested…

I am amazed at how, now that the snow has melted, how much DOG POOP is on my grass! I mean, holy cripes! One tiny Cavalier puppy really had that much poop in him over the winter? (I couldn’t scoop it during the months of December through March because there was three feet of snow on the ground—so he just went and went and I lived on in ignorant bliss, not knowing what I was in for when all the snow actually went away).

Determined to tackle the task of scooping up yard poop, I armed myself with a scooper and shovel, and "went for it" yesterday. Let’s just say that I filled up roughly half of a large white kitchen trash bag (oh those poor trashmen are getting a treat this morning) and my arms are KILLING me. But I can happily say I now have a generally poop-free yard. WHEW!

I have to run to the cleaners now (no same-day cleaning after 8:30), but on a more sober note, my thoughts and prayers are with my little four-year old nephew, who is going into reconstructive surgery this morning. He was born with no upper lip at all, and after a few surgeries, this will be hopefully his last. Good luck little guy!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Vacation Finally Over!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Ever get the feeling that in life, when you’re finally holding all the cards, everyone else is playing Chess?

AT LAST! Whew! I thought I was going to go slightly crazy there for a while. Spring Break is over, the relatives and in-laws are all “flyed home” as my four-year old would say, and Life is generally back to normal. The visit from the relatives was actually OK. Aside from constantly having no hot water in the house and the consumption of enough “road-trip food” to sustain a small principality in France for an entire month, the visit went surprisingly well, and we only had to pry the four-year olds apart about 17 times, instead of the “around 50” times we were dreading. (and the seventeen times were a glitch-- due completely to the fact that we only own ONE Buzz Lightyear Super-sized Action Figure instead of two).

I have been struggling to get my “fixes” in since they’ve all gone. I have a couple of writing forums I frequent, and a news webpage I visit, email, assorted other websites, and of course, my novel-in-progress, which I have sorely neglected and would seriously get a lashing from my agent if he knew exactly how much I’ve neglected it.
So I’ve opted to go double-time on the writing--still at night though, the days are too full with Soccer practices starting up for all three kids. Egads...

I did get a chance to get some reading in, however, during all the road trips we made. I got in a little Clive Cussler (I've decided that his novels all suspiciously have similar plot elements) and finally finished the last of the Dan Browns (who CLEARLY has the same M.O. for all of his novels as well) and opted for a little light reading, specifically Harry Potter (I am currently reading Goblet of Fire, and will proceed with Order of the Phoenix just in time for HBP to come out)
...and I’ve decided that my favorite new word in the wide world, is…(drumroll please)…GIT.

It’s a fabulous word. Especially used in conjunction with other words. As in He’s a stupid Git. Or she’s a great blubbering Git, you know?
Too bad for me that “Git” didn’t exist in the time period I’m writing in, (1890) so my dorky characters get to be “ninnies” or “witless worms” instead of Gits. Darn it.

Well, time to get the kids off to school. I’ve got my pot of Postum, and I’ve even already had a shower today.

Yes, things are looking good…