Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tis the Season! (and Farewell!)

Well, here it is, my last post until Next Year. (Oooh, that sounds dramatic!)

I am off to brave the crowds at the airport (not to mention security--I always seem to get picked for the slightly embarrassing "in depth" search) and take part in the mandatory drama that surrounds my in-laws. But Hubby and I promised each other that we would turn our "join in the family drama" switches to hibernate mode for this trip and superglue a couple of smiles on our faces. Christmas is a time of joy, no matter what--and that's what we want. Some good old-fashioned joy, dangit. And now as we're about to embark on the plane, Thing Two got Thing One's diahrrea and Hubby has just come down with a spectacular head cold. FABULOUS timing, if you ask me.

And yes, I'm being snippy.

Hubby suggested I not take my laptop along this time. Which I find a bit strange because he usually insists I take it because 1) We could get robbed or 2) the house could burn down or 3) he might need a computer. But now that he has a Blackberry and I have a thumb drive, I don't feel the need to velcro the laptop to my thigh every vacation we take. In fact, it's sort of liberating, not having to lug the clunky thing through airport security and the airport itself.

So, I hope everyone has a wonderful, fantastic, fabulous (and not in the sarcastic sense) holiday, and a happy New Year--I plan on blogging again starting January 3rd. And I hope Santa brings you all what you wanted--I guess I need to go whisper in "Santa's" ear about what I want, because I sure haven't gotten around to it!

Cheers everyone! Be happy, be safe.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Wednesday, Part II:

I just got a gorgeous gift basket from my sister-in-law, from Lehi Rollermills. You can see it here. They make the BEST mixes!

ANYWAY...she ordered only one for me, and they sent me THREE!!! Ha ha ha!! This is highly reminiscent of my experience! Three lovely 20-pound boxes. I just got off the phone with her, and she's not quite sure what happened. Of course the honest thing to do would be to call the company and tell them their mistake. Because they only charged her for one.

Guess it boils down to whether I'm naughty or nice. *wink*

Countdown Begins...

I have officially 24 hours before we fly out for the Holidays--we won't be back until the 2nd of January--and BOY do I have a truckload of things to do. Lists and lists it seems.
I am excited for the holidays--mostly because it's not MY house we're going to be messing up! Ha ha!
I finally got my house top-to-bottom spotless and I'll be danged if it isn't staying that way. (**Lara stands at the foot of the stairs and yells at the top of her lungs ALL OF YOU COME AND PICK UP YOUR SOCKS AND SHOES AND COATS OFF THE ENTRYWAY FLOOR RIGHT NOW!!!**)
I'm a really good yeller. I don't like to yell, but sometimes I have to because who wants to run down two flights of stairs just to tell someone to come back upstairs and please flush their toilet?

So upon discovering said domestic offense, I stand in the spot where the reverberation and echo work most to my advantage, take a deep breath, and yell. It's much more fun. Especially when they all come running. This is one mom who never makes it past two when she has to count. Scurry scurry.

We had some of Hubby's old friends (and business partners--they're in footwear) over last night. Great guys. They own a bunch of successful companies and travel the globe, yet they're down to earth and lots of fun to laugh with. And dedicated to their families. We had a lovely couple of hours with them. I can't wait until we have more friends (we're still new--that's the only setback to moving) to hang out with. Sure, I'm making friends at my ward at church, (one nice thing about our faith--anywhere you go in the world you have an instant support system as soon as you find your church ward) but we are missing some of our friends from Wisconsin.

So I am getting ready to run around--my new friend S. and I got golf lesson packages for our husbands because EVERYONE golfs here and it's about time our hubbies learned. And I got a sweet set of clubs for hubby this Christmas, but I didn't want to lug them all over so I got them, took a polaroid of them with a big bow on the top, and stuck the pics and the golf lesson package inside a pack of new golfballs, and wrapped that to put under the tree. The golf clubs are stuffed inside my closet, behind all my skirts. He'll never find them. Ha! (And he doesn't read this blog so I'm not worried about spoiling the surprise.) But at least I dont' have to worry about shipping them this year.
And can I just say? I LOVE! In ONE hour I had all the Christmas presents bought and shipped for my kids...there was only one sold out item I had to go into a store and purchase, and that was it. SUPER EASY. Of course shipping them all BACK home will be fun...

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ah, The Holidays

Here I am, tapping my toes to a jazzy rendition of "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth"--which happens to be the hold music (estimated wait time--exceeding 20 minutes) for Kohl' So I thought I'd blog in the meantime.

So, a few days ago, Hubby and I decide to order a Kitchenaid Mixer for his mom at We tried to order it, but it said our Amex was "invalid." Hubby tried a few more times to order the item, and it said the same thing. So I tried a couple of times with my Target Visa (our one other credit card--for emergencies only) and it said the same thing about my card, so we knew it was just the website having technical difficulties. Of course Hubby kept trying to order the mixer every 15 minutes or so--he got the same error message, so we eventually gave up.

So Hubby called up and an operator helped him place the order. We were thinking "that's it, end of story."
Well, we called to verify the status of the order, and it turns out that we have EIGHT ORDERS for EIGHT KITCHENAID MIXERS at $250 each!!! We of course freaked out and called the customer service number, but it was on a loop so that if you actually got through there was a message that said "Thank you for calling Kohls. Goodbye." And HUNG UP ON US!!!

I don't think I've seen Hubby madder--(except maybe when I hit the side of the garage with his brand new black Lexus five years ago--leaving a white paint transfer on the front corner end that wouldn't come off) so I sort of backed away and went and tidied the kitchen.

So, he sent a scathing email to them, to which they replied this morning: "Sorry for the confusion--only one order was placed" etc. etc. ad nauseum, HOWEVER when I checked our credit cards lo and behold, they had been charged for all the charges.

SO, here I am, no longer tapping my toes, listening to "Oh Come all Ye Faithful" (THANKYOU KOHLS FOR AT LEAST NOT STOOPING TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!) and waiting, waiting and waiting to ask them why they lied.

This should be an interesting conversation.

But I am determined that today will be a BETTER day! I bought some finishing touches for our basement, which is turning into Hubby's retreat. We put in a bar and I am filling it with sports stuff. Hubby's favorite:

He's loving that one. That and a dartboard with an electronic "trash talking" feature that insults the dart thrower in a voice that sounds absurdly like one of Hubby's younger brothers--made us laugh for hours!

Well, I'm off to buy tons and tons of gift cards and such for Hubby's employees--he has a few too many people on his team, if you ask me! But it IS Christmas. A time for giving.

So, hopefully today will be good. I'll know when I get off the phone with (I'm still on hold by the way--now listening to "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)


Monday, December 19, 2005

Why Is It...

...that these things ALWAYS seem to happen right before you go on vacation? One of my ovens broke just as I needed to bake about 15 dozen Christmas cookies, I got a flat tire from pulling into my garage (calling card remnants of the construction workers I suppose--#@!*&!! NAILS) and I about passed out when they told me the cost for replacing ONE tire (AAACK!) and of course Thing One has had diahrrea for a week straight and I was chided by the nurse for giving her Ammodium because apparently it allows the virus to "fester" in the stomach rather than help. (Poor Thing One--she's been waking me up at 4am every morning crying because she's had to go to the bathroom ten times already).

AND--Hubby is in a wonky mood because he's on drugs for his chronic back pain. FUN for me. The doctors are baffled. So I think they're just throwing stuff at him to see if it works. UGH. Poor Hubby.

This morning Thing Three kicked Thing Two in the eye (not intentionally, thank heaven) and I have already had to give the little darling (this said with gritted teeth) about seven time-outs already and of course, in typical Lara Fashion, I (once again) missed the bottom step in the garage and fell into the freezer at 6am because I was nice enough to run and put gas in Hubby's car because he would have been late for a VERY important meeting, and I have ugly bruises on both shins. I came up with a new curse word too. (Actually it was more like a wail than a curse, but it had a satisfactory effect. I might have to use it again.)

Other than that, things are Spiffy. Just Spiffy. But I need some serious "me" time or I think I might be ready for the Men in White Coats soon.
I think I'll ditch the kids one afternoon and catch a matinee of Pride and Prejudice all by my onesy with a bucket of popcorn and a NON-diet on the edge, that's me!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Crazy Time

I think the month of December is like having a baby. You forget how painful it is until the next time it happens--and when you're in the middle of it you gasp: "I signed up for THIS?"

I honestly haven't written a word since before the move, and it looks like it will be 2006 before I begin to write again. Too many cookies to bake, parties to go to, gifts to buy and ship and just your average December craziness happening for me to get much of anything else done.

And of course this year we're going to the in-laws for Christmas. It's a little crazy. We're flying to Idaho for a few days, then to Washington for a few days, then back to Idaho for a few more days, then back to Colorado. I am going to be sick of airports by then, but it will be nice to see the family on both sides.

I have to run--I have one precious hour a day between 7am and 8am where I don't have to run around just quite yet, so that's the only time I can do things I want to do, like this blog, for instance.

Then the fun begins... *smirk*

Monday, December 12, 2005

I HAD a Shiny House...

Isn't it amazing the house clutter that accumulates over a weekend? Most of my morning will be spent "tidying up," I suspect. I just don't feel like cleaning during the weekend. If Hubby can lay around like a slug and watch sports, well, so can I! I did, however, manage to keep the kitchen clean. I can't cook in chaos. Although I will say that cooking at high altitudes kind of sucks. Our favorite family dishes have been turning out a bit "funny" every time. For instance, I made my scratch clam chowder last night. Usually, it is PERFECTION when I make it. Well, to my surprise, it turned out slightly "gluey." The family ate it up, but I noticed the change in the consistency. And the cake I baked I had to add extra flour, because I learned things don't set well in the oven when you're six thousand miles in the air! Ppphbbbbhhhbtttt.

We saw Narnia on Friday night. It was AMAZING. It was a tad violent (my kids were scrunched waaaaayyyyyy down in their seats during the war scenes) but it was all that I had hoped it would be.
I haven't read the Narnia Chronicles, but I DO have two brain cells to rub together, and I picked up almost immediately on C.S. Lewis's symbolism. Very interesting. Very cool, actually.
(Of course, like complete morons, we showed up at the movie theater 20 minutes early (we should have showed up at least 40) and the only seats were fourth row from the FRONT. Yikes. We learned our lesson with that one.)

Well, I need to go run around. Mondays are crazy for me. Every weekend I find myself saying "Oh I'll do it on Monday, I'll do it on Monday..." and when Monday comes I am ready to freak out because I've got such a laundry list of stuff to take care of, fires to put out, bills to pay, etc.

But that's what I get for being a procrastinator.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I Have a Shiny House

Ahhh, having a clean house. FINALLY.
"Julie" and I unpacked all the boxes (we had a panic moment when we were trying to figure out where to put all the stuff that filled the entire living room--you know, the odds-n-ends stuff that basically belongs NOWHERE.) but we got it knocked out.

I went and made a killing at Target and bought pictures and candles, etc. and Hubby loved it all when he got home from work. I said "great--so this means you won't be mad when you get the Amex bill!" :-)

This weekend should be fun. We're going to see Narnia (woo hoo!) with the kids on Saturday, and Hubby and I got a sitter and we'll go Christmas shopping Saturday night sans kids.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Whirlwind

You gotta hand it to my sister-in-law (for privacy's sake let's just call her "Julie").
Julie is staying with us until Friday night for the sole purpose of organizing and helping clean my house.
Well, she flew in last night and before we collapsed into bed at midnight, we (well, more like SHE) had completely cleaned and organized the master bedroom, Hubby's and my walk-in closets (we're talking MAJOR undertaking) the Master bathroom, the office, and six loads of laundry. Of course today we have about eight loads more, but we can do those as we clean.

So I've nicknamed Julie the "Whirlwind." She moves at the speed of sound (I think you can literally hear the sonic booms once in a while when she's working) and cleans everything in sight like the Speedy Cleaning Robot Machine she is.

I am starting to feel a little inadequate and inferior. She reassures me that it's an illness, and she is the worst person to set a standard by, because she's obsessed with cleaning, and cleaning quickly. (Apparently it's useless to compete with a person who has O.C.'s just not possible if you're...well, normal.)

So I am content to work at my "normal" pace while she runs circles around me and does a job in half an hour that would take me half a day. I'm very grateful to her, to be sure.

Okay but I'm still feeling a little dorky about it. She is making me look BAD...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bitter Cold

Okay, it's just a tad cold here today. My car said it was -5 when I took the kids to school. The radio said with wind chill it was -15. LOVELY.
I spent nearly 10 minutes stuffing Things 1 and 2 in layers with their down coats and boots and thick scarves and gloves and hats and ultra-reinforced super-duper-full-body-armor-shields, etc. (Thing Two was resisting the whole way, it was similar to trying to dress an angry octopus)and when I was finished they resembled large lumps rather than children. But I don't care. It's too damn cold.

Thing One saw "elf footprints" everywhere on the way to school and so we had some fun with that. (And no, Laura, I don't mind at all if you use that story--I'm sure it's been told before now!)
Luckily the school doesn't let them outside if it's colder than 20 degrees, so I didn't have to worry about them freezing their booties off during recess.

My sister-in-law is flying in today. Rather, I flew her in for two days to help me. She's extremely obsessive/compulsive about cleaning and organizing (we're talking crazy O.C. here) and she volunteered to come here to help me unpack and get organized. She said "give me two days and I'll have it done."
So, I am very excited. I'm sure Hubby wishes I was obsessive/compulsive about cleaning, but I take the "relaxed" approach, as in "I'll do it later." Hubby goes around picking up behind me usually, shaking his head and chanting under his breath: "Lara messes it up, Hubby cleans it up." And after ten years of marriage, I don't care.

I scored a MAJOR coup on Ebay the other night. I got a black-leather bound 1898 ten-volume set of the works of Guy De Maupassant. For EIGHT dollars. I dont' think anyone even bid against me. What a treasure. You know what they say: Another person's trash...

I also scored the 2-vhs set of Young Catherine starring Vanessa Redgrave and Julia Ormond as Catherine. It's one of those shows they had on TNT a hundred years ago that had me swooning as a teenager--I guess I am feeling nostalgic.

Unfortunately, I promised Hubby that I won't do any more Ebaying for a while--he says it's a bit much and I agree. But there are always BOOKSTORES!! BWA ha ha ha ha ha!!! I still haven't made it to the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover (it's FOUR miles from my house!) but I will. Next week maybe. Things have been so crazy here!

Wish me luck driving to the airport. I am what you would call "directionally challenged" so I need specific instructions if I'm going somewhere for the first time. Luckily we have mountains now. Mountains are always to the West...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Finished Memoirs of a Geisha last night. Couldn't put the durn thing down. It was so enthralling.
Of course now I have a sink full of dirty dishes and a sleep-deprived Hubby who goes around sarcastically grumbling "Just one more chapter, honey honest," under his breath--but it was worth it.

So, on to the Elves. Thing One (who is eight and actually has to defend her belief in Santa Claus to one or two of her classmates occasionally) is determined that we have Elves everywhere. This stems from a story Hubby told the kids a few years ago, about how an elite corp of Santa's Elves go around during the month of December leading up until Christmas Eve, spying on all children and reporting back to The Man whether they've been Naughty or Nice.

I thought the Elf story was ridiculous at the time, but it actually came in handy for when the kids were less than stellar on the behavior scale (I sure hope the Elves didn't see you stick your fingers in that cake Mommy made for tonight) etc..

Well, our kids (very excitedly) came and woke me up a few mornings ago, telling me that there were "Elf prints" in the snow. They dragged me down to the back windows of our house (the entire back half of our house is windows, we have a view of everything) and we could see "elf prints" everywhere, on the ground outside the windows (where they spy on kids) I told them and we could even see them on the roofs of nearby houses.
The kids have been on their best behavior lately, because they know for sure that Elves are spying on them. In fact, Thing Two has become a bit obsessed with being good for that reason.

Sure, I know it's bad, but we're having too much fun. I don't have the heart to tell them that we have some adventurous cats around the neighborhood. That would ruin the magic.

Thank heaven for the cats/Elves. They sure are making this holiday season fun.

Although Thing One is becoming VERY frustrated because she's always running around trying to catch an Elf in the act...

Monday, December 05, 2005



Now, on to other things...

I am mortified. MORTIFIED, I tell you. Why? First, let me preface this post by declaring that nothing, NOTHING like this has ever happened to me in private, let alone a public place.

Okay. So I'm at church yesterday with the family. I was dressed very nicely, and I have to say I'm hitting it off very well with the other ladies in my ward. So, at the end of church, everyone is crowded in the foyer, chatting and socializing and whatnot, and we finish our chatting and decide to head to the car.

So I'm walking down the hall with my eight-year old daughter next to me (Thing One) and my two sons in tow with Hubby leading the way. Well, we get to the most crowded part of the church, and suddenly, I feel this weird sensation around my ankles. I look down at my feet, and gasp, just as my daughter blurts out (of COURSE in a voice even louder than the rumble of the crowd): "Mom! What is that? IS THAT YOUR UNDERTHINGY???"

It was my slip. My very WHITE slip, and yes, folks, it had fallen down around my ankles.
The little voice in my head became an ear-shattering guttural scream of "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" and I bent down as quickly as I could, stepped out of the slip and stuffed it into my handbag.

I had three options at this point: A) Pray for a yawning chasm in the carpet to open up and swallow me whole or B) burst into tears or C) Pretend it never happened.

Naturally, I opted for C. I will say, however, that I have never seen Hubby quite that shade of pink before. I think I'll call it puce.

So, after we got into the car and sat staring for a few moments in stunned silence (yes, that really DID just happen in front of the entire congregation) I told him we could always move again and he agreed and said we'd just try and forget about it.

...Apparently "forgetting about it" involved calling up every relative Hubby had in the known universe and retelling, in dramatic fashion, the story of my unfortunate "wardrobe malfunction."

Sure, it's funny now, but it SURE wasn't funny then! Serves me right. I'll never wear a white slip with a black skirt and black stockings and shoes again. EVER.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Thing Three is a Ham

Quote of the Day: "In the sixties, normal people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal."--JC Mikesell

Ah, the woes of having a child who is a bona fide "ham." Everywhere I take him, he's performing for people. Whether it's using his "squeaky toy voice" to answer whenever someone tells me he's a cutie, or singing assorted songs at the top of his voice in the grocery cart to elicit comments from passersby, this kid was born to be on a stage.
Thing Three (who is four years old) has always attracted an audience--since he was a baby. I literally had people come up to me and compliment me on him. He has super blond hair and huge green eyes (he's a carbon copy of his daddy) and a little pug nose, and I'm not being biased here-- he's definitely a cute kid.
The only problem, is he's been told it so much, he's beginning to realize it. And he's acting accordingly. Which is, to be honest, highly annoying.

Now Thing Three (the only child I stayed home with, I worked with the other two) has always had a healthy dose of self-confidence. When he was three, we went through the "Exhibitionist Phase" (where whenever we had company over he would inevitably end up streaking in plain view of the guests in nothing but his birthday suit, and when caught, would begin to dance) and we went through the "baby voice" phase (where, whenever I'd get a compliment on his cuteness at a store or other public place, he'd lapse into this high-pitched baby voice and make cooing noises--UGH) and after the singing phase (he was so proud he learned the ABC song he'd sing it very loudly anywhere we went, apparently sotto voce wasn't in his repertoire) during which he literally had a fan club...well, now we've entered the "so-cute-and-bashful" phase.
Whenever someone compliments his cuteness, he now emits a high-pitched squeak and proceeds to hide behind my person. And he won't reappear, until the complimenter gives up or leaves.

I have to roll my eyes at this. Healthy dose of self-confidence or not, I don't want Thing Three to grow up to be arrogant and self-absorbed. He's always been the "leader" at his preschool, all the girls want to sit with him, all the boys want to play with him, and so far he hasn't suffered the pangs of social rejection. Someday it will happen, and I'm hoping sooner rather than later. He needs some good old fashioned teasing or outright rejection, so he'll be better rounded and have a better grasp on reality.

But for now, he's a cutie. I'm sure every family has a "ham" like this. Maybe I should find a "Mothers With Hams" club or something. I'm not sure what to do about him. He's a kid, for cripes sake--I don't want to shoot him down or undermine him in any way. But one day his cuteness will get old, and his eyes will be opened. That will be a sad day.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

#*&%!! CSI New York!!

I had a nightmare last night. I NEVER get them. Hubby and I watched CSI New York last night, and one of the sub-plots was a man who suffered from Hypergraphia, or the compulsion to write. (After he murdered the man his wife was having an affair with, he wrote an entire chapter on the corpse--ew!)

So, in my nightmare, I was writing (with a large black Sharpie) on my kids. Their faces, their arms and legs, and they were all crying because the ink was permanent. And I was telling them to suck it up because maybe they would walk by an editor who would read their faces (literally) and like my work and perhaps give me a call!
Walking human billboards, if you will.

OK, that is SO disturbing. I woke up from that one in a sweat, about 2am. I didn't bother telling my Hubby, who was busy in Dreamland.

Am I that desperate to sell a novel? They always say dreams are a manifestation of what our subconscious thinks. EEK.

I have decided that it is high time I put my office in order so I can resume working on my novel. I need to get it out. But I am disappointed in myself because I wanted to have it to my agent before the end of the year, and if I were to bust on it now, it would be crap. So I am shooting for early Spring. He hasn't given me a deadline, but I know I need to get cracking on it.

So, currently shaking the mental image of Sharpie-branded kids out of my head, and gearing up to head to World Market. They have an AMAZING imported gourmet food section, and I have a couple of Christmas boxes to send off.
Things 1 through 3 got to open the first window of their advent calendars today! How exciting.

Happy December everyone!

ps--check out my post today on the Scruffy Dog Review Blog...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


What is the DEAL with Colorado Registration? I registered both our cars yesterday, and it was FREAKING NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!
I was given the advice (by a long-time Denver resident who apparently has had Iowa license plates for twelve years) to just send in for my Wisconsin registration sticker (grand total: $57) and never get pulled over--but of course my anal hubby wouldn't hear of it.


I still have the itch to write. But no TIME. Angela had great advice yesterday, but I am one of those guilty-feeling people who hates to neglect stuff that needs to get done. I've always felt that I'm being selfish when I'm writing. (I know I'm NOT, but it's how I FEEL sometimes.)

And I have TONS I'd like to read too.

My current reading list:

1) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis (Can you believe I've never gotten around to reading this wonderful book? Egads!)

2) Rebel Angels, by Libba Bray

3) Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden

4) Giants, Monsters & Dragons, An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth by Carol Rose

Well, it's off to the races! December is such a crazy time--I hope I'll be able to enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I've Got the Itch...

I haven't written a word in over a month. I haven't been able to indulge in the Internet, either (one of my vices) and it's been pure torture.

I read my writer friend's blogs and they all talk about how their WIPs are coming along, and how many words they got out the other day, and I'm jealous. I still have a lot of unpacking to do, and heaven knows my To Do list is a mile long, but my fingers are itching to write, and I have half a mind to scrap some errands and sit down and do it.

I have so much inspiration around me, at present. I just saw the new Harry Potter and although the feel of the movie was a bit rushed and episodic for me (but I suppose it had to be or it would have been a six-hour long movie) it was amazing and fun. It has made me want to revisit old stomping grounds, like my Other World that I invented, and also I now have the desire to traipse through the ruins of Philae with my two turn-of-the-century heroines, which is a good thing, since my agent is waiting for new material from me.

But when to do it, when to do it. Certainly not now, because I have to run the kids to school and then the ADT guy is coming and then I have to get a new driver's license and run to the store and the dry cleaners and THEN I have to unpack some more.

But it's nice to know that my stories will always be here, waiting for me. Patiently.

Now I just need some patience...

Monday, November 28, 2005

All Calm on the Home Front...


I just pushed out the door with a stick...erm...I mean sent off the last of my Thanksgiving holiday relatives, and I will admit that despite several moments of chaos/major drama/contention/mortification, it was a lovely holiday.

We are settled nicely in our home in Colorado now. A home, which, up until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, more resembled a construction/war zone than a house.

I am actually sitting here a bit shell-shocked--It's just me and Thing Three in the house (and a few remaining boxes in my office). No construction workers. No plumbers. No dry-wallers. No tile-people. No granite people. No hardwood floor people. Nada. Just quiet, and the sound of Christmas music softly playing throughout the house.

I am sorry I have been a bad blogger. But honestly, I didn't have time to shower, let alone blog. (Not that I could have showered anyway, I had a toilet sitting inside MY bathroom shower--had to use one of the kids showers.)

I was busy trying to get the house in perfect condition for the holiday relatives, and our interior designer, Jody, (bless her heart) who had committed to a certain deadline, was definitely "held to it" by my Hubby and she was even helping me unpack boxes and hang pictures on the day before the deadline. Jody, Hubby and myself were working like dogs, and at any given time we had no less than 20 workers in the house. It was bedlam. It was chaos. It was horrible. But now it's done and now that we have a house we can live in, I have to say it's nice.

NOT NICE: Having to wait in long lines for my vehicle registration/drivers license because I waited until the end of November, decrusting my kids' noses every morning because they still aren't used to the dry climate (and for that matter, having to slather on lotion every half hour on any exposed skin parts) and having headaches from the OH MY HECK BRIGHT sunlight that kills your eyeballs if you don't have super-duper-made-of-lead sunglasses on. (What can I say, I now live in the Mile-high city now!) And boy, is it sure bright up here.

But we're here, and we're happy, and I am off my head with joy because I JUST discovered that I have The Tattered Cover only a few miles from my house, and I found it by accident while I was U-turning (and cursing simultaneously) because I missed my turn-off for the vehicle emissions testing center. So you can bet I will be paying that bookstore a visit tomorrow!

Well, time to feed the kiddo and organize some boxes! I am just glad to have some normalcy back in my life. I've sure missed this!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Okay. I SO hate my life right now.

I don't even have enough time to blog about why. How pathetic is that?

Sorry folks, you'll just have to bear with me on this one...


Friday, November 11, 2005

I'm BACK!! (Well, sort of...)

I have about 3.7 minutes to do this post, so I will just say that we are officially in Denver and all is well (if you can consider living in a half-finished-remodeled house well--I have a big hole where my kitchen is supposed to be and I have been going between the fridge in my garage and a microwave oven in my laundry room) and I promise to update everybody on Monday, November 14th.

So expect a big 'ole post sometime then. Right now I have to keep the kids off my newly-stained wood floors (they are off school today) and unpack about 7823,987 boxes upstairs, that I haven't been able to do, because I have been locked out of my house for four days straight while they did my wood floors.

Let me just say that the last few weeks have involved a lot of "rolling with the punches" and "creative living/cooking/breathing/etc." but in about two weeks it will all be over and we will have a shiny new house, and I will be able to get settled into a routine. Until then, AAAACK!! (insert gut-wrenching scream of frustration here) and I promise to post on Monday!

Have a safe weekend, all!


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Now I'm REALLY in Trouble...

Mommy, I love you.”

Four little words that now officially strike terror in my heart.

Thing Three (who is four years old) used to say it so sincerely, so wholeheartedly. I would look at his sweet angel face and gather him in my arms and tell him I loved him back, and I’d get a big hug in return, and the world was good.

NOW, “Mommy I Love You” is really CODE for: “Mommy, I accidentally got a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich caught in the DVD player,” or “Mommy I just fed your fish 50 pieces of fishie food and he ate every one of them," or "Mommy, I just caught the living room rug on fire.”

Variations of the above are “Mommy, I love you SO much!” (at which point I drop him immediately and go find the rubber gloves and the Lysol, readying myself for anything) and the ultimate dreaded phrase: “Mommy, did you know you are the BEST mom in the world?”

OK. I should not be reacting this way to a simple declaration of love! But when I walk into the kitchen and find the cookie jar on the floor, shattered into a zillion pieces and Thing Three (who has been hiding under the dining table until just then) comes out and says “Mommy, I love you!” HOW THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO REACT??!!

What’s sad is, I remember using the same offensive strategy on my own mother. I have a feeling she will think it is QUITE funny that Thing Three has discovered the “Mommy I Love You” tactic.
(In fact, most of the time it seems my mother is listening to my child woes with barely restrained glee. Or maybe it’s my imagination…hmmm…)

I have a feeling that someday, when my daughter is grown and calls me up and wails that her seven-year old is whining and telling her she will NOT wear her winter coat to school, etc. etc., I will have a big old grin on my face too.

What comes around, goes around. Apparently being a Grandparent is fun because you get to see your children’s children doing the same things to them that they did to you, and Revenge truly IS a dish best served cold.

Am I right or am I right?

My blog will be returning around the first week of November, after I’ve completed my move to Denver. Until then, be safe, be smart, have a Happy Halloween, and be good!


Friday, October 21, 2005

Drumroll Please...

I am SO there. I've set a goal for myself, and I'm going to start training as soon as I get unpacked. I have a whole year. You think I can do it? (Heh heh, FINISH, not win!)

In other news, I am sad to report that my Internet access will be unhooked early next week, for the move. I probably won't be up and running until the first week of November, so this blog obviously won't be updated either. I'm sure you'll all be crying in your pillows at night over it...

I am gettin excited, because November is around the corner and GUESS WHAT happens in November?

For one thing, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire comes out, as well as Pride and Prejudice, but I'm sorry, Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFayden will never hold a CANDLE to Ehle and Firth:

Nope. Not ever. They are absolutely perfect. Who else could make me watch six hours of a movie IN A ROW?

--Also in November, it's Thanksgiving, and I will have a house brimming full of family (15 people so far!) and that will be fun. Also Thing One gets baptized. Oh, and I will finally have a kitchen instead of a gutted hole between the living room and the breakfast room. Until then, I'll have a fridge and a microwave. I can do anything with a microwave. Should I be proud of that?

Gotta get cracking. I have five boxes of dishes to give to Goodwill and a load of stuff to take to the dump. I guess my big truck is good for something!

At the end of all this I am SO going to need a Spa Day...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Halloween is EVIL I Tell You...

...but not in the sense that its evil as in "Fruits of the Devil" evil, just in the sense that all that Halloween candy at hand is NOT helping my waistline. (Which is quickly becoming a waistcircle.)

I knew I shouldn't do it. I told myself I wasn't going to do it. But one visit to Target, and I folded. I bought Halloween candy, for a variety of reasons. Little did I know that I would find myself creeping back to the bowl again and again for more. So I developed a strategy:

Hide the candy high up or in a place hard to get to, thus reducing the frequency of sampling:
Due to inclement weather, hiding said candy on the roof just wouldn't work. I tried hiding it in the WAY TALL cabinet above my fridge, but nothing is as determined as a woman needing a chocolate fix.
Tried hiding it inside a box inside a box inside a sealed plastic container in the basement storage room (where Santa typically hides the presents) but I swear, during stressful moments those little mini-Snickers bars were calling my name.

So, now, there's only one option. Throw the dang candy away. We're not even going to be here for Halloween, so why did I buy it in the first place? As Napoleon Dynamite would say: "FREAKIN' IDIOT!" (Ok, so I was bored and watched Napoleon Dynamite last night. I needed a laugh because I was depressed that I ate so much chocolate.)

So I've round-filed the candy in the garbage. Thankfully, when it's surrounded by old bacon and bits of toast and dinner plate scrapings, it's not as appealing.

Check out my blog today on the Scruffy Dog Review Blog--on it I talk about my all-time favorite author, Jane Austen. Apparently, she's still "got it." Read the blog to find out why!

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

How Cool is This...

One of the posters at Backspace (a writing forum I lurk at) found an amazing site with a webcam set up at a pond in Africa--and during peak hours you can see Elephants, Zebras, etc. in realtime! Go here for the site. Thing Three and I saw a VERY big elephant today. Just be sure to note that Botswana is SEVEN hours ahead of Central time (where I'm at) so you have to get on in the morning for the peak action. How fun!

And here's a little "Knitting Joke" I heard, and decided to post it just for Karen: (It was originally a Dumbe Blonde Joke so I'll try to be as Politically Correct as possible while I'm at it):

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the (insert hair color of choice here) behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, "PULL OVER!"

"NO!" the (insert hair color of choice here) yelled back, "IT'S A SCARF!"

Heh heh. Feeling better today. The ears are unplugged. But I am still freaking out over all the things I have to do before the movers land next week. And it's Thing One's birthday on Wednesday. She's turning eight. That is such a big deal.

And I feel like a schmuck because if I threw a party for her on top of all the stuff I'm doing I would seriously need a RUBBER ROOM. I just can't handle that stress right now. I hope she'll forgive me. She'll have a party next year. But hey, she'll get presents from the family! (Isn't that the whole fun of birthdays anyway?)

K, I have to get back to de-junking!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

As the Wheel Turns...

Thing Three now has the lovely sickness. We went to the Doctor today and they put him on Zithromax, and gave me medicine for his nebulizer, because he's wheezing. Lovely. I just hope it clears up before next Friday, because we're on a plane to Denver!

My ears are still plugged. They're better, but I can only hear out of the left one. I am nervous about the plane thing. I am going to call and DEMAND better antibiotics if I don't feel better soon. For some reason I'm holding onto this illness and it's really rotten timing. Not to mention the fact that I have about 452903471 things to do before the move next week. It's starting to freak me out.

I think this is an official record for me. I haven't written a word for my novel-in-progress in over three weeks. And I feel like I've completely lost my groove. It's not a fun feeling, the sensation of being lost and adrift in a large ocean and not knowing if you have the energy to sink or swim.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Crankypants Post...

I woke up unable to hear in my right ear today. Off my head with joy about that one. I wonder how long I'll be partially deaf. Yesterday it was partially unable to breathe. Tomorrow I figure I'll have partial loss of feeling in my butt. Bring it on, baby bring it on, cause' I'm takin' the HEAVY stuff! (Antibiotics.)

In other news, apparently I should be extremely proud of the fact that I'm now sporting a TURQUOISE star next to my Ebay ID. Heck, I even received a congratulatory email from the Ebay people. It seems that when you get 100 Positive Feedback comments (or maybe it's just 100 comments) you get the star color changed to a lovely shade of Turqoise.

...Okay, that is either a "STOP SPENDING MONEY ON EBAY LARA!!" sign or its a "WAY TO GO LARA!!" sign--I haven't decided which.

--I'm happy to report that due to my excellent tutelage, my four-year old knows the difference between an Octagon and a Pentagon. HOWEVER, now, when we're driving and he sees a stop sign he points and yells (very excitedly) OCTAGON, MOM! I SEE AN OCTAGON!!! at which point I swerve to narrowly avoid the ditch, tree, mailbox, etc. that I nearly knock into from being scared spitless by his sudden outburst of the aforementioned.

Thankfully, not many road signs are in the shape of a Pentagon, these days. But there are plenty enough squares, rectangles, triangles and circles to keep me on my toes for now, and debate whether or not to sedate the little sweetie every time we get in the car.

Can I just rant about one more thing? MOVING. Rather, DE-JUNKING. That is the part that really sucks. I have half a mind to rent one of those construction-grade dumpsters (that you see by new construction houses) and throw all my s*** into it. I have furniture, matresses, old tables, trash, etc etc etc etc etc etc...and personally I'd rather not make ten trips to the local dump! I'll call my church to see if anyone wants it, but UGH on getting rid of it! I'm only one person! (With three munchkins, remember) and it's pretty hard to get this all done.

Okay, rant over. Man, I sure have lame posts when I'm sick. Maybe I'll be cheerful on Monday.

Unless I've lost partial feeling in my skull...

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Lara (a.k.a. the Sick Crankypants)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sick Sick Sick

Woke up last night nearly dead, and scared myself silly, so I went to the doctor (just got back) and discovered I have a nasty sinus infection, ear infection and da da da daaaaaa...Bronchitis.

Whew. I'm glad I went in. I usually have to be bleeding out my eyeballs before I see a doctor, but waking up in the middle of the night not able to breathe really freaked me out. (I've never had Asthma, and I must say I feel for those people, it's an AWFUL feeling, when you can't get enough air!) Actually I'm kind of "high" right now because I just took my inhaler and apparently it's got stimulants in it because I'm feeling VERY odd at the moment. Sort of like those study sessions at BYU when I took no-doz and pulled an all-nighter. Yeah, it sort of feels like that.

And oh, joy, my fingers are shaking. Whoopee!!! Excuse me while I go collect my wits and have some chicken-noodle soup. I guess I'll feel more like blogging tomorrow. I hope the adrenaline/buzz-thingy wears off soon...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I'm SUPPOSED to be Cleaning...

Movie Quote of the Day: "There is a Piper down, I repeat there is a Piper down"-- So I Married An Axe Murderer

Okay, so I hear from Hubby (who is working in Denver) that the two feet of snow they got yesterday has already melted, and it is nice and sunny. Whew. Strange weather. But I guess it doesn't matter, because he's in North Carolina the rest of the week and it's going to be mid-EIGHTIES. Poor Hubby. Too many climate changes, if you ask me.

I had another Accident-day yesterday. I closed my foot in the car door on the way out for a showing, I had a book fall on my head at Half-Price Books (gasp! Erm…well, yes, I went there for a fix, what can I say? I’m a weakling for books!) and I rolled my ankle on the last step on the basement stairs, and later at night sank down onto a VERY sharp toy truck hidden in the sofa cushions and spent 5 minutes dancing around in pain holding my derriere. (I SWEAR that bloody thing punctured me too!)

While digging through old boxes, I found one of Hubby’s old computer games, The Seventh Guest. So I put it in the computer, and played around with it after the kids were in bed. VERY creepy! Kinda stupid too, but REALLY fun. You can read about the game here. Apparently it was one of the pioneer games for CD Rom in the early 90’s. The music is WAY cool, too. Either that or I’m easily entertained.

I’m supposed to be working on the YA historical, but I don’t have the heart. (Shhhh! Don’t tell my agent!) After the rejection on the Anthology and butting heads with my agent on my latest novel, all I really wanted to do was sulk in front of the DVD player and work my way through a box of Godiva.
Since I'm not one to have Godiva on hand, I settled for a few trick-or-treat-sized boxes of Milk Duds and a DVD rental viewing of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" after the kids were in bed. Can I just say, I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG time? My stomach actually hurts this morning. Very, VERY clever movie!

I’m kind of out of it. My cold has settled into my lungs and I might need antibiotics. At least Thing Two seems to be out of the woods. And Things One and Three never even got sick, go figure. It's raining today, and I have a laundry list of things to do that is longer than my daughter's face when she has to do her chores.

So up and at 'em, I say. Here I go...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Challenge

Shakespearean Insult of the Day: Thou dissembling rude-growing wagtail!

Okay, I normally don't do stuff like this (please, I need to be blogging about the joys/woes of juggling children and a writing career and the drudgery of my life in general and my uneasiness about the state of our country, etc. etc.) HOWEVER-- Karen challenged me to do this on her blog, so I'm doing it. Here goes:

Three Names You Go By:
1. Lara-lu
2. Larva (but not since grade school)
3. Laranus (pronounced "La-RANUS"--Hubby calls me this to annoy me—typically I don’t answer and ignore him completely)

Three Parts of Your Heritage:
1. Irish
2. Russian
3. English
(Watch out folks--scary temper combination!)

Three Things That Scare You:
1. Any bug that crunches
2. Dark Water/being in or around water in the dark (I peed my pants over “Jaws”)
3. the thought of my children getting kidnapped

Three of Your Everyday Essentials:
1. Blistex
2. Sugarfree Chewing Gum
3. Laptop

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. Chocolate-brown Mossimo long-sleeved shirt from Target (I LOVE Target!)
2. Comfy tattered jeans
3. socks

Three of Your Favorite Bands or Musical Artists (at the moment):
1. Green Day
2. Gaelic Storm
3. Creedence Clearwater Revival

Three of Your Favorite Songs - at the moment:
1. Any song from the “Sahara” soundtrack
2. "Since you’ve been gone” (I know, how embarrassing)
3. Better Now (Collective Soul)

Three Things You Want in a Relationship (other than Real Love):
1. Laughter (gotta have that!)
2. Spooning
3. Intellectual discussion

Two Truths and a Lie (can you guess which is the lie???):
1. I can speak four languages fluently
2. I absolutely DETEST Jessica Simpson
3. I've been caught in a tornado that blew away half the department store I was in

Three PHYSICAL Things about the Opposite Sex that Appeal to You:
1. Eyes
2. Smile
3. Lips

Three of Your Favorite Hobbies:
1. Stamping
2. Baking
3. Watching Movies

Three Things You want to do really badly right now:
1. Get the “good” phone call from my agent.
2. Be done moving already
3. Have a Spa day

Three Places You Want to go on Vacation:
1. Turks & Caicos
2. Monaco
3. Bologna

Three Things You Want to Do Before You Die:
1. See my novels in print
2. Travel to England, Italy, Greece and Scotland
3. Run a marathon

Three Ways that you are stereotypically a Chick/Guy:
1. I like pretty, feminine things
2. I cry at the drop of a hat
3. I’m always the first to say “I’m sorry.”

Three things you do daily:
1. Deal with/play with/bark at my kids
2. Write in my journal (yes, really!)
3. Have a glass of orange juice. (I’m addicted to orange juice)

Three people I would like to see take this quiz:
1) Michelle
2) Devon (but only if she has time!)
3) Angela
4) Brenda
5) Ann
6) Georgie
7) Colin
8) Cassie
(Okay, so it’s more than three!!!)

And there you have it. Normal blogging will return tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Scruffy Dog Review!

I am happy, proud, exhilarated, etc. to announce that The Scruffy Dog Review is now up and running!
Started by my friend B.K. Birch, I am participating as an associate editor, along with Devon Ellington, Colin Galbraith, Michelle Miles, Angela Miller, Terri Dunham, E.L. Reedy, and Mark Vender, a talented group of individuals.
The SDR is now accepting submissions of poetry, short stories, articles, and book reviews. Visit the website for submission guidelines. The Scruffy Dog Review Blog can be found here, and the press release here. Go to the website and submit! And while you're at it, buy a hoodie!

Hooray for the Scruffy Dog Review!

In other news, my weekend started out roses, and turned out to be a big dirt sandwich. Hubby and I (and Thing Two) were sick with fevers and sore throats all weekend (we're still sick but life goes on) and we couldn't really enjoy anything. In fact, I'd just love to curl up in bed right now, but LIFE calls! We just had a house showing an hour ago and I piled my sick self and Thing Three into the soon-to-be-traded-down Expedition and disappeared for a while. I hope they LOVED the house! Waiting to hear from the realtor...(good news I hope!)

Bad weekend too because of all the devastation with the Earthquake. 30,000 people dead? Millions without homes? This is catastrophic, people. Signs of the times, I've heard people say. VERY scary. My thoughts are with those victims and their families.

Tomorrow's blog will be interesting...stay tuned for why!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Family Reunion

Hubby comes home today! Hubby comes home today!

(Now before you go and retch up your morning Wheaties, let me explain that Hubby has been gone for two weeks now, and aside from the sheer niceness factor of having him around, I am going to get a chance to escape and get some "me" time this weekend--ha ha!)
Granted, he's only here until Sunday afternoon, but the kids really need their dad. And so do I.

Okay, WHAT IS UP with the freezing temperatures? It's the low forties, and NO sun. Thing Two kept me up all night with vomiting and a hacking cough, I am praying he doesn't have the Flu. He doesn't have a fever so maybe he coughed hard enough to trigger the gag thing. He's sleeping now, I am keeping him home from school.

Of course I accidentally forgot to put the heat on "hold" so it was 68 degrees in the house when I woke up, shivering. Brrrrrrrrrr.
Thing One and I got into a major scuffle over her wearing her winter coat, as opposed to the light windbreaker she wanted to wear because big coats aren't "cool."
Well, I told her (in front of the neighbor friend who came over to wait for the bus with her) that if she didn't wear her winter coat I would strip her naked and make her wait for the bus in ONLY her Mary Janes and her backpack.

She wore the coat.
I swear, I don't know what her problem is! She is seven going on EIGHTEEN, apparently. Hmmph. I'm sorry, but I'm not taking crap like that from a seven year old. It's way too cold to wear some flimsy thing--and the wind makes it worse.

Okay I'm in a pissy mood now so I'd better go--I have to get the house clean before 10am! I hope we get some showings this weekend!

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Kids are funny little things. Especially mine. I think they are really beginning to miss their dad. (He's been working in Denver for two weeks, this is the longest they have gone without seeing him.)
Thing One had a meltdown last night. I was going to chalk it up to being tired, but I realized, she is dealing with a lot lately. We're moving, she realizes she'll most likely never see her friends again, we temporarily placed our dog with another family (for my own sanity--in my defense they have a cavalier puppy just like Hagan and he's happy as a clam with them) and she hasn't seen her dad for a long time.
Little girls are strange creatures. I swear sometimes Thing One seems manic depressive, but my pediatrician said that is just typical child behavior. She's very sensitive and emotional, but like her father, she holds it all in, so when she finally does crack, she CRACKS in grandois fashion.
I was full-on consoling her last night after her bath, and she soaked my shoulder with tears. I honestly have never seen her so upset. It all came out, and I think the move and everything is a lot to process for her.
Boys are easier. Her brothers stood around awkwardly, not understanding. Maybe they're just young enough to not be affected, but my nearly-eight year-old certainly was. She was a mess.

Today she seems fine, and last night was the first night she didn't have any bad dreams. I think she needed to let all her feelings out.

It's amazing to me, how kids deal with things. Another thing about kids, they are resilient, flexible and tolerant, much more so than we give them credit for.
Hubby is coming home this weekend, so that should help. We sure have missed him.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Links Schmlinks

Shakespearean Insult of the Day: Thou loggerheaded flap-mouthed pumpion!

First off, I'd like to link to my friend Devon, who has launched a new website, called Circadian Poems. Great stuff, definitely worth the visit!

Next I've found a a blog close to my heart: belonging to the Tudor History Website.

And that's it for links today--life has been a little crazy! We were supposed to move THIS week, but it turns out that the school in Denver will be on a track break for two weeks when we get there, so it made no sense to haul the kids there only to have them twiddle their thumbs for two weeks. So, we're staying here until the 28th of October. Then the kids can start school on the 31st with the rest of their classes.
So, I get to be a single mom for three more weeks. Hey, I've handled two already, what's three more?
Good news: I am VERY excited because a writer friend of mine has invited me to be on the staff of her next project, which I will announce on October 10th. All I can say for now is its going to be a blast! I am very excited to be a part of it. More will be forthcoming on this subject you'll have to wait until the 10th!

I am patting myself on the back, no gratuitous trips to Half-Price Books in a whole WEEK and a HALF! (This is huge, people.) Why? Because I have decided to exercise some self-control. (Ahem, well, the real reason is I have to buy a bigger bookcase before I can buy more books!)

ANYWAY, so I am trying to be good, and staying away from that temptation. Which is good. Once I get obsessed with something, I go and go until I've got everything I can possibly get. (Just ask my hubby about all the stamp sets, quilting supplies, scrapbooking materials, transferware and calligraphy sets that I have, and haven't touched or used in over a year...)

I need to have a garage sale.

On the writing front, I told my agent that I would focus solely on the YA historical. I might be able to get some in on it before the move, but hopefully I'll have a completed manuscript before the new year. At least I know he's excited about the idea. And I'm going to start submitting my mystery novel to editors on my own, but I'll be honest, I combed through about 200 publishers and found NINE (yes, NINE) who accept un-agented submissions. That really gives me terrible odds.

I think my odds would be better if I just threw it in the drawer...but that's another subject entirely.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tuesday, Part II

Yup, here is a pic of me as Countess Olivia in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." (See previous blog)I had the coolest hairstyle, piled high with ringlets spiraling down, and this dress is my "wedding dress" for the last scene. I had this way huge hat too, but took it off after the show.
Our director felt that our costumes should be from the Regency Era, instead of Shakespeare's time. It really came off well. It was the first play in which I felt like a pampered star! I even had my own makeup/hair person, and they made my costumes just for me!

OK, Memory Lane Trip #5634359 over...

My Obsession with Tudor England

Shakespearean Insult of the Day: Thou paunchy bat-fowling clotpole!

I had a lot of fun with this one. Lately I have been cleaning out nine years of accumulated boxes in the cavernous storage room in my basement. I mean, we're talking HUGE. Like, you know how in that Indiana Jones movie, where, at the end, they tuck the Ark of the Covenant away in that storehouse that has about ten million other boxes in it?

That's the scope and size of my basement storage room, it seems.

During my un-boxing and de-junking, I came across this photo. It's me, in college (I think I was 20 at the time) and I was in a play at the college, Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." I was the Countess Olivia.
I grew up in Theatre and had tons of plays and musicals under my belt, but I have to say, THIS particular play was the hardest I've ever done. Shakespeare doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, unless you're British. And there is very little intrinsic in the script, so you have to "make up" all the actions. It was the most challenging, but the most fun, once it came together. In fact, I adopted a British accent for the production. Everyone else did. It was way cool.

So, after my cruise down memory lane, I had to stop and think: I have always loved Tudor England, and everything about it. Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, Henry the Eighth (I didn't love him but he's definitely an interesting character) Henry's wives, Francis Drake, all the things I love about England encompass Tudor times.

So, I'm wondering, how in the heck did I get into all that? Where did it start? When? It's strange, but I honestly can't remember. So, for now, I'll settle for being a hopeless Anglophile. AND plan my trip to London, etc..because I am SO going there one day...

Friday, September 30, 2005

My Writing Fantasies...

Quote of the Day (Stolen from Michelle's Blog) : "If the Doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster."--Isaac Asimov

I had a writing fantasy when I was a teenager--that I would get a phone call from Steven Spielberg, at my house, and it would go something like this:

Lara: Hello?

SS: Hello. I'm looking for Lara So-and-so.

Lara: This is she.

SS: Hi, Lara, this is Steven Spielberg

Lara: Very funny.

SS: No, seriously, this is really him. I am calling because I read your novel, and I am really interested in making it into a movie."

Lara: (long pause of stupefied silence) Are you kidding me?

SS: No. I overheard my wife reading your novel to my daughter, and I started to get some really great ideas. I'd like to fly you out to meet with me in L.A. so we can go over details and discuss it. Does next Thursday work for you?

Lara: Um...

SS: Don't worry, I'll pay for everything. You just bring yourself, and your novel. I want to buy the rights from you for a LOT of money, I promise. But of course, you could have a part in writing the screenplay for the movie.

Lara: Holy Crap, are you serious?

SS: Very serious.

Lara: (unintelligible screaming) OH MY HECK YEAH! (more unintelligible screaming)

So, that has always been my writing fantasy. But now, it's changed slightly. Since I can't seem to get said novel sold, my new fantasy is that I visit New York with my Hubby on one of his business trips.
During the elevator ride up in my swanky hotel, the elevator gets stuck, and its just me and a man I don't know.
We realize that we are stuck and we sit down to wait it out, and he asks me what I do for a living, and I tell him I'm a writer. The man asks me what I write, and I tell him I write Young Adult fiction, and he seems interested. He asks me to tell him about my stories, because, after all, we seem to have nowhere to go at the moment.

So I tell him all about the plots of my novels, and he seems to really like my ideas. After three hours of him getting details out of me, the elevator power suddenly resumes, and the door opens to my floor. He thanks me for "entertaining him" during our elevator experience, and tells me that he's an editor, and he really would like me to drop by his office with my manuscripts, because he thinks I have some really original ideas, and he'd like to read them.

I pause, blocking the elevator door from shutting, apologize and ask him "What is your name again?"
He removes his glasses and cleans them. "My name is Arthur. Arthur Levine. You can call me Art."
I stand there, temporarily immobilized. "Yeah, sure, I'd be happy to do that," I finally manage.

So, there you have it-- my new-and-improved writing fantasy. I'm sure every writer has 'em. So, what's your story?

Time to enter the real world...*sigh* Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Yesterday pretty much sucked.

I have been a faxing/FedExing/phone-calling/errand-running/paperwork sorting/info. gathering maniac for the last ten days, but it's all done now, and we close on our house in Denver tomorrow.

Now, I hope we can sell our house here, in Wisconsin.
Hubby was talking about the odd weather in Denver, 92 degrees one day, 57 the next--a lovely little recipe for getting sick. I bought him vitamins before he left so I told him to take them and eat right and he should be ok.
Here it was 48 degrees last time I checked. BRRRRR! I had a small battle with Thing One today over wearing her winter coat, the little turkey seemed to think that it was "uncool" to wear coats yet. Thank Heaven Thing Two doesn't care what he wears. Boys are definitely easier in that department.
Of course, victory was mine when she came running in from the bus stop out of breath and said "Okay, Mommy, you were right, it's COLD! I need my gloves too!"

I stayed up until wee hours of the morning and finished "Lost." Now I kind of wish I had at least taped the first few episodes of season 2, so I could catch up. Darn it. Oh well. That's what I get for coming late to the party.

I am going to take a nap today. It's just me and Thing Three and he's still sick, so we're finishing lunch and it's officially Nap Time. I can't wait! All this lack of sleep has finally caught up to me...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Onslaught Begins...

Apparently, my kids will be missed. Thing One told me that no less than three girls in her second-grade class burst into tears when it was announced that she was moving soon, and suddenly all these little friends of Things Two and Three are coming over all the time for "last hurrahs" and playdates before we set off for Denver.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm a pretty spontaneous person. Usually when Hubby comes home, he likes to relax and unwind, and chaos (aka having half the neighborhood kids over) makes him crazy, and he can't handle it. He always asks me to send them all home when he arrives.
Now that he's in Denver, we are having kids over for dinner nearly every night, and playing until dark. My kids are loving it. I just wish it was possible when hubby WAS here. He likes his quiet, I guess. The difference between us is I am so used to chaos I can "tune it out," whereas for him it makes him a nervous wreck.

Oh well.

I haven't had time to breathe let alone write (as you can tell from yesterday's post) and we actually have a couple who viewed our house last night for over an hour (picture me in the Expedition with the kids--with Burger King spread out on their laps, with the bloody dog too, in the back, cruising covertly around the neighborhood in circles because they were supposed to be viewing from 7pm to 7:30, and they didn't leave until EIGHT) at one point Thing One groaned "Mommy, can't you call our house and tell them to leave already?"

According to our realtor, they loved our house and want to buy it, but they have to sell their house first, so that is a problem. I am not getting my hopes up. But it would be nice!

I am trying to use all the stuff up out of my freezers. Tonight it's the less-than-healthy fare of hotdogs and oven-baked tater tots. But I AM making them eat zuchini. (he he he he he he hehe)

Gotta run. Time to feed the brood. Hubby is meeting the interior designer at the house tonight (in Denver). Pray/channel/chant/whatever for me. I am nervous about what they'll do to it...


Monday, September 26, 2005

Overwhelming Monday...

Quote of the Day: "He who trains his tongue to quote the learned sages, will be known far and wide as a smart ass."-- Howard Kandel

On my To Do List today:

1) Clean the house spotless for any possible showings
2) Go to the cleaners
3) Go to the bank
4) Go look at paint colors
5) Grocery Store Trip
6) Call and attempt to get kids enrolled in school in Denver
7) Call relo people about household goods move
8) Buy presents at Toys R Us for birthday parties
9) Call and find out where I can take golf lessons in Denver (Ok, our new house is on the street that lines the golf course--and I have to learn how to
10) Take Hagan to the vet
11) Call about Relo stuff
12) Call interior designer
13) Return overdue books to library
14) Return overdue movies to video store
15) Go to the bank
16) Mail a package
17) Freak out as to whether or not my agent has read my novel already! (Wait some more?)
18) Fedex important papers
19) Fax data for relo
20) Make assorted phone calls about denver info.
21) Vacuum and dust the upstairs blinds (I did all the downstairs ones yesterday)
22) Tend Thing Three who has had diahrrea since yesterday

23) Sit and stare bug-eyed at a blank wall and drum my lips with one finger...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Saying Goodbye...

Today was a little strange. Apparently it was announced at church that Hubby and I are moving, (I only went the last hour because I had to teach the lesson and Thing Three was having SERIOUS diarrhea problems) because I had everyone coming up to me and asking me where we were moving to. It sort of caught me off guard, because generally, people don't speak to me at church.
I guess that's my fault, I never felt like I fit in there, and we never really tried. I guess I was too caught up in my own life and my own things, to care much.
But now, Hubby is in Denver to stay, and the kids and I will be joining him in a couple of weeks.

It has been an emotional weekend. We went to dinner downtown Friday night (my mom would be proud--I actually got a sitter) with a bunch of Hubby's business friends, and our good friend Stephanie. It was so much fun, gorging ourselves and laughing and re-living all our best/happiest/most embarrassing moments, and of course, at the end, there was a lot of crying and hugging. Such a bittersweet farewell. Bitter because we are leaving good friends behind--true friends, and sweet because we are getting a fresh start in a place we already love and are very excited about.

I admit I have been a VERY bad blogger. I still haven't had time to write, but now that things have calmed down somewhat, I will definitely be better. Hey, I might even regain my sense of humor! I seem to have lost it the last few weeks. I dont know how long I will last, having to keep my house spotless every minute of the day (for those "Hi-this-is-so-and-so-realtor-and-we'd-like-to-show-your-house-in-20-minutes" calls) and having Hubby be in charge of all the re-designing aspects of the new house in Denver (we can't seem to agree on decor, he likes Cherry, I like Maple; he likes dark granite, I like SEMI-dark granite, etc...thank HEAVEN we at least agree on stainless steel appliances! UGH!) and a plethora of other things that are irking me, but as B.K. so truly put it: I will get through this.

It's all a matter of leaving my comfort zone. I am comfortable. I need to get uncomfortable, or I'll never grow, I'll never go anywhere, and I'll stay where I am, in my own little rut. Gotta get out; gotta get moving.
Hey, at least I have one thing to look forward to: I bought the Season One DVD set of "LOST" because (and DON'T freak out) I never saw even one episode last season, so I am going to watch two a night until I've knocked 'em all out. Then when the Season 2 DVD comes out, I'll watch THAT, and so on. So, I'll always be a season behind, but better late than never, I always say.

Hope everyone is having a safe weekend, my thoughts are with those who were affected by Rita, and those who are still suffering from Katrina.

Cheers everyone,


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Where's the Joy?

I'm all for change. Change can be a good thing. However, the timing of the change can also be a bad thing.
I find myself getting crankier and crankier lately, and I finally figured out why. I am comfortable here. I know where everything is, my kids have GREAT teachers, I finally got the freeway system down (I am Directionally Challenged) and there are even new people in my church who are actually calling me up and wanting to do stuff with me.

And we're leaving. So, yes, timing can make change either good, or rotten.

I discovered the reason I'm cranky is because I haven't had time to pause and breathe, much less write. No journal entries, no blogging (I am supposed to be getting the kids ready for school right now but I'm stealing ten minutes to write this entry) and certainly no writing. Writing is my life blood. It calms me. It is therapeutic. Now that I don't have time to write, I am in full Stress Mode.

One of my dear friends said that when "writers get stressed, they go buy books."
Let me tell you, I went out of my way yesterday when I was supposed to be picking out paint colors and made a killing at the local Half-price Books.
I haven't had time to write, or read, two of my passions. Now it's all about phone calls, faxing, internet research (on schools, etc) picking out decor, keeping my house pristine and spotless for those BUTTHEAD realtors who like to call and ask for a showing "in ten minutes" etc...ON TOP of my regular routine.

Hence, I'm a total crankypants. Not to mention the fact that Hubby will be leaving this weekend to start work in Denver and I will be a totally ALONE crankypants.

Heaven help me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I HATE Cleaning!!!!!

Hate hate hate!!! BLEAH. Ppphbbbbhhhtttttt.

We listed our house today, and the realtor was over, and OH JOY she mentioned that my closets needed to be in "pristine" shape, because darn it (Lara slaps knee) prospective buyers ALWAYS LOOK IN THE CLOSETS. (Insert wretching noises here.)

I know this is true because I, myself, looked in every closet in every one of the ninety-six (or so it seemed) houses we looked at and walked through last weekend.

But, on the good news front, we made an offer on the house we liked yesterday and they accepted the offer today! Hooray! No counter! They are probably ready to zing out of there. We'll be closing on Sep. 30th so it looks like it will be adios Wisconsin for me very soon. :-(

Even BETTER news: My agent is reading my novel sometime this week--he told me that he was initially disappointed that I hadn't finished the historical, but he's ok with it. So, fingers crossed that he likes this one!

OK, enough internet playing. I have to go muck out Thing Two's closet...


ps--sidenote to Karen: I have to disagree--cleaning out the inside of my microwave DEFINITELY qualifies you for Sainthood... :-)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Denver Bound!

I haven't been able to write for a while, because Hubby has just accepted a job in Denver and things have been a little "tumultuous" with the whole relocation/house-hunting/getting ready to list OUR house thing.

But I'm back (thanks to Derek and Karen, who, without their kindess my trip out would not have been possible, and who both need to be elevated to SAINTHOOD for watching our rambunctious children for an entire weekend) and looking forward to the move. We found a great house in Lone Tree, and you can see the mountains. I haven't lived near mountains in nine years, so this will be fun. Very inspirational for the Writing Thing.

Speaking of which, my agent wasn't very happy with my story, so I guess you can't win 'em all. I am disappointed, but I guess I'll shelve it for now and work on the historical he was expecting. I can't help it if I got a little "sidetracked."

It's raining pretty hard this morning, I think we're going to officially see some Fall colors soon here. I never thought I would find myself saying this, but I will miss Wisconsin. It does have some good points. (Housing, for one. For the price of my house, I discovered that I can afford a chicken coop in one of the Elite Areas of Denver. (and yes, I am serious.)

I have to get my house in "sparkling condition" for the potential buyers now, so, gotta run, but I'll write more tomorrow.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Edits Complete!

(I literally laughed until I cried over this one)
The Good News: I am happy to say, that after weeks of intense editing, the novel is ready to be shipped off to my agent. Cross your fingers for me that he likes it--he'll have it sometime next week.

The Bad News: I have found that my life, as of late, has been plunged into turmoil. I can't really go into detail about it here yet (since this IS a public forum) but when I am at liberty to do so, I will come forth with the details. As of now, this blog will not be resuming until everything gets cleared up. Hopefully that will not be long. Trust me, I MISS BLOGGING and will resume as soon as is humanly possible... Cheers everyone!


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Closed Down for Editing...

I have to focus ENTIRELY on editing this novel, if I'm to get it to my agent the first week in September. So this blog will be closed down until I'm finished. Hopefully it won't be long! Until then, Enjoy The Scenery! (Not mine, your OWN) I'll be back as soon as I can...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Quote of the day: "You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance." ~Franklin P. Jones

It's officially that time, folks! Thing One has a pre-season Soccer tournament this Saturday, and Thing Three has his first game. VERY exciting.
Thing Two opted not to play soccer this season. I told him if he really didn't want to, I wouldn't force him. He's our cerebral one, anyway. But we need to find another sport for him to get into--hopefully he'll express some interest. He's never been very "athletically inclined" (I guess that's my side of the family) and I feel like a bad mom--I should have made him do soccer, so at least he'd be doing something. It's hard when you want your kid to like sports, and they resist.

I LOVED sports when I was younger. I love them now, too, but I was never any good at them because I never got signed up for them--hence no practice. My parents both worked and my mom didn't have time to drive me around. I guess that's why I am adamant that my kids at least get to try the sports they express an interest in. And if they hate them, fine, at least they had some exposure. And if they love them, great. Thing Three will be our little athlete. Thing One is a hybrid--she enjoys sports but she also enjoys school. It's funny how my boys are polar opposites, and my one girl is smack dab in the middle. Interesting.

Hubby was out of town last night, and I did something incredibly stupid. I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. and watched the entire 2-CD set of Pride and Prejudice, the Colin Firth version. *sigh*
I think it is truly one of the most romantic stories ever written, and I love watching it on film. *sigh again*
Now I'm incredibly tired and have a headache, but I need to do some cleaning. My wood floors are starting to look neglected, and I need to start helping Thing Three brush up on his alphabet and numbers before Preschool starts!

My writer friend B.K. --her kids have already started school. I'm highly jealous. Mine don't start until Sept. 1st. The days can't come soon enough! FALL IS COMING!!!

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Bees Knees

Quote of the Day: "Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

We finally had a cold front come in, it seems. Thank heaven. I love those cool Autumn mornings, when the school year begins and the kiddos get to wait for the bus, and it's crisp outside. Then the leaves turn, and its beautiful for about 2 weeks, and then we usually get a strong wind and the next morning all the trees are bare and their leaves have all blown into the next state, but I digress...I LOVE Fall!

First, can I tell you how excited I am to see this movie: GO HERE for a preview of "Pride and Prejudice"--too bad I have to wait until mid November--yummy yummy yummy. I love Jane Austen films, and this one promises to be a good one.

Okay, on to my story: Sunday morning, Thing One and I decided to go for a 2-mile walk before Church. So, we set out, and enjoyed the breeze and the pretty scenery, and halfway home, she told me that a yellow jacket (or a bee, we couldn't tell) was in my hair.
So, I shook out my hair, and she (being seven years old) started screaming and telling me that it was now IN my hair, at which point I unclipped my hair and started whipping my hair around in some absurd parody of a Breck Girl Commercial, to try and scare the yellow jacket/bee/whatever away. But she screamed that he had now lodged himself on my neck, and I had no choice... but to start doing my "Bug Dance." This is a dance I do in the hope that the bug will be thrown off. It's not intentional, it was dubbed my "bug dance" by a high school friend, (and she told me it was so entertaining to watch that she was going to charge admission, but that's another story).

Let me just preface by saying that I do NOT like bugs. You could seriously "do me in" mentally if you held a cockroach up to my face, or a spider--and the fear of being stung by bees is right up there with dark moldy basements and my fear of Clowns (which I will NOT discuss here).
I have had two embarrassing occasions where I have had to do my "bug dance" in public, and yesterday made three.

I started doing my "Bug Dance", which is a hybrid mix of Belly Dancing/Russian Folk Dance/Irish Jigging, (lets just say I look like a possessed Spastic when I do it) and Thing One (who was in hysterics at this point) managed to tell me that I now had TWO bees dive-bombing me simultaneously, and that was my cue to stop dancing in place and start RUNNING while doing the Bug Dance.

Of course, at this point a truck drove by and the driver had the audacity to ask me if I was OK, and I told him (while swatting furiously at the air around me and still doing my Breck Girl Imitation) that I had a bunch of bees on me and the git actually suggested that I hold still.
Hold still for what? To let them do their businesss on me? Sting me? WHAT? They weren't leaving me alone! At this point a third bee started targeting Thing One, and she ran screaming down the street and I decided to run after her. Maybe we could outrun the bees.

They seemed to give up after half a block, and Thing One and I were both sweaty and flustered. What had made the bees Blitzkrieg attack us like that? We continued on our walk, and I kid you not, I had at least four more bees take an interest in me on the way home.

We figured out that running only made them follow us faster, but the Bug Dance worked every time. And now that I've totally made a fool out of myself by even admitting to the bug dance, I think I'll just file it all away and leave with the burning question:

What made us so interesting to the bees yesterday? Apparently, they like sweat, and we had definitely worked a nice sheen up, walking in the sun. So that explained why they were dive-bombing the back of my neck. But I'm still a bit mortified, because all my neighbors probably think I've got Schizoid tendencies, and they probably think it's genetic because my daughter and I were both behaving the same way.

...Or they could just think we both have shiny, beautiful, bouncy Breck hair...

Friday, August 19, 2005

10 Things I Love and Hate

Movie Quote of the Day: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”—Han Solo, Star Wars

First off, Congratulations to Michelle Miles for finishing her KIC Romance Serial, Scars of Yesterday. You can view the press release here.

Now, as part of a challenge thrown out by Michelle the other day, I am going to list 10 things that I love. So here goes:

(Now, I’m not going to name OBVIOUS things, like my children, Hubby, dog, house, etc. I am also going to not name the romantic things that I like, because, well, that’s personal, and this is the Internet. I am going to name things people wouldn’t generally know about me—so don’t be appalled that my children and Hubby aren’t on this list.)

1) I love it when the sun is shining brightly, but it’s raining at the same time.
2) I love it when I get sucked into the story I’m writing, and I’m in my own world, and nothing else exists for that space of time.
3) I love warm, fresh baked bread (with margarine—GOSH I love that)
4) I love sleeping. I have come to appreciate sleep, because of the lack therof, since I’ve had kids. Sleep RULES. And did I say I have a VERY comfy bed? Ahhhh.
5) I love History. Give me antiques, books on long-ago civilizations, anything that has to do with archaeology, anthropology, Things of the Past, etc. I would never want to live in the Past (too crude for this Technology Girl) but I love to read about and study it. Right now I’m obsessed with Ancient Egypt, and the Tudor/Stuart Periods.
6) Jane Austen Books, Movies, etc. Anything about Jane Austen. She’s my Girl.
7) Really really really REALLY good music. Of course it depends on my mood at the time what that particular music is, but I would die without music.
8) Shopping. At the risk of being a cliché—I love shopping. Craft Stores, Department stores, Target, EBAY, and I especially LOVE BOOKSTORES. I could spend hours in them. Half-Price Books, Barnes & Noble, Borders. I even love going to the Grocery store. (That’s considered “shopping” too, isn’t it?) It’s good therapy.
9) Hugs. I LOVE hugs. From my kids, my husband, people I know well. There’s something about the power of touch that really cures the cold pricklies in people. No one can have too many hugs.
10) Learning new things. I think it’s important to try new things, and learn new things. Being “set in your ways” is boring. You should be open to experiencing the good things in life, like learning to knit a sweater, or climb a 500-foot cliff, or make a really yummy Thai meal. Well-rounded people learn new things, as often as they can.

And for fun, here are a few things I HATE:

1) People who use other people
2) Slow put-put drivers in BIG cars so you can’t get around them.
3) Cleaning toilets.
4) Ignorance
5) Apathy
6) Kids with boogers in their noses. (I am a control freak about this—I have removed boogers from my daughter’s nose with tweezers before. Is that bad?)
7) Rudeness
8) My mother’s carrot and potato and hamburger casserole that she made me choke down when I was a kid. BARF. Those slimy potatoes haunt my dreams.
9) People who talk during the movie. (I actually have feelings of violence towards them)
10) Rejections from Editors who say they really like the story, and hope they’re not making a mistake in rejecting it. (So DON’T!)

And that's it! Of course there's more, but I got in the highlights. What a fun idea. Thanks Mik!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tastes like Chicken...

Quote of the Day: "In America there are two classes of travel - first class, and with children."~Robert Benchley

It’s funny, how one seemingly “normal” thing for an adult, can be disgusting, terrifying, etc. for a child.

Case in point: Hubby and I brought home some Sushi the other night, and we were happily eating our Calamari Salads (the kiddos were eating Sloppy Joes because, frankly, they think Sushi is something you find on the bottom of the shower mat when you pull it up) and Thing Three wandered over and asked me what I was eating. I told him it was “salad” and did he want a bite?
He looked skeptically at my salad of lightly battered Squid and greens and cherry tomatoes, and nodded his head. So I put one in his mouth, and he chewed it, and said it tasted good. So, naturally Things One and Two meandered over, asking if THEY could have a taste. I obliged them, and they all said it tasted good. Then Thing One asked what the little round things were, and I told her. I guess I didn’t expect the reaction I got:


Thing Two: (Spitting noises, alternating with screams of horror) AUWGH!!!

Thing Three: --Well, he didn’t say anything because he had already run to the bathroom and was busy making retching noises and spitting half-chewed squid pieces into the toilet.

Somewhat surprised by their reactions, Hubby sternly told the kids to come back and have another taste of his salad, (because he won't have "wimpy" children, no sir) provoking a literal stampede of screaming and crying all the way up the stairs.
So, he ran up the stairs after them with a forkful of the stuff, for sheer torture purposes. (Okay, I am a cruel parent, I was laughing my head off, and so was he) But I will say it was slightly reminiscent of my childhood, when my dad used to gleefully chase us around the house with a squished spider on a tissue--I don't think I've quite ever recovered.) Needless to say I was very surprised at their reaction!
What resulted: Thing One screaming like she was being murdered, Thing Two locking his door and barricading it with assorted items like luggage, his dresser, etc. and Thing Three (our brave, fearless one) stood defiantly at the top of the steps and said “No Daddy, I don’t want any more!”

We found this highly amusing. Before they knew what Calamari Salad was, it seemed fine. Thing One even confessed afterwards that it “tasted like chicken” and what she found repugnant about it was the fact that it was SQUID. That did it for her. Just knowing what it was.

So, I have learned that next time I want the kids to try something new, I won’t be telling them what it is until AFTER they’ve cleaned their plates.

*Snort* Kids.

Oh, and here is a pic of the most Gutless Turd known to Man:

You're lookin' at him. Cavies are apparently afraid of everything. At least mine is. (The whole Stringing-bells-on-the-back-door-to-alert-us-he-has-to-poop-thing DID NOT go over well yesterday. He was terrified of the bells. Wouldn’t go near ‘em. Nope. No way. I could have coated them in bacon and turkey and hung them out of a side of beef. Wouldn't have done a damn bit of good. He still wouldn't have gone near them. He ran over to his bed to escape, where I shot this pic.) But I still wuv him.

Pics of My Jogging Route...

First off--here is a pic of the pathetic tree in front of my house. We planted this tree two summers ago. My whole neighborhood is like this. I have dubbed them "toothpick" trees. It's a fairly new neighborhood...(no laughing allowed!)

And here are the trees one neighborhood over: *sigh*

And here are the pics of my AWESOME jogging park that I mentioned before. This is a view of the footbridge, and you can see the trail...

The trail again...going into the trees...

Here's the lake. (It has been going down--we haven't had rain for a bit):

Another shot:

And back out to the street:

And that's it! It was overcast this morning and it looks like rain today--so the lake might fill up more. But I love that this spot is only 1/2 mile from my house! I would have posted these sooner but do you know how #&**!! HARD IT IS TO JOG WITH A CAMERA???

(I'm allergic to Fanny Packs so I guess it's my own fault--I break out in hives at the "thought" of wearing one...) ;-)