Saturday, February 26, 2005

Quiet Saturday

The whole family is sick, Things One and Three have fevers, and we're all miserable. I was the only one to leave the house in the afternoon, to go on a Motrin run to the local drugstore. I saw two quite funny bumper stickers on the way to and back. Funny, I've never seen two really funny ones in the SAME day. They were as follows:

"Printers do it without Wrinkling the Sheets"

and my personal favorite:

Jesus Loves You. Everyone Else Thinks You're An A**hole.

Have a safe weekend everyone!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Game Over, Whew!

Except for the boxes I need to ship out to distant relatives, the whole yearly juggernaut that is The Girl Scout Cookie Selling Event has finally come to an end. We survived unscathed, and I was happy to do the dirty work for my daughter's well-being and general status as one of the highest sellers in her troop. (Of course having hubby take the order form to work and getting 70% of the sales was definitely a plus!)
So it's done, the 15 boxes we bought ourselves (don't ask) are languishing in the freezer in the garage, and they don't really call my name except between 3 and 5pm. But even if they did start calling my name, it's too damn cold to go the whole length of the sub-zero degree three car garage and back, just to eat cookies that literally supply one's allotment of fat for an entire month in one serving.
Then again, frozen Thin Mints are quite good...

*SMACK!* Okay. I'm fine now....
So, happily, that's where they'll stay for a while. I can't afford to have them around anyway, since my hubby pulled a mindscramble on me last night and decided that he wants to go to Disneyland for Spring Break, in ONE month. Guess I better get back on that elliptical machine and treadmill I was so gangbusters about the week before last. Can't falter now!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Cement Head

I am in the throes of a very nasty head cold. My husband got it yesterday, despite his liberal efforts with the Zycam and doses of Vitamin C.
This morning, at roughly 3am, he sat up in bed, announced that he couldn't breathe, and warned that he was about to go insane.
Now my husband is usually a workaholic Superman, but when he's sick, the cape and boots come off and he gets reduced to a superhero I refer to as Whining Man, who is incapable of leaving the sofa in front of the TV, and begs to be waited on hand and foot. It's almost like having a fourth child.
Of course in the spirit of wifely love I play along, because he's rarely sick and he has a major business trip next week, so we have to get him "healthy" for it. Let's just say I am SO looking forward to this weekend, catering to a sniffling, snorkeling, hacking slug. Especially since I am sick myself. Oh yipee, what joy.
(And yes, that would be sarcasm you're detecting.)

I guess one good thing that sprung from being awakened (very rudely I might add) at 3am, was that a new character popped into my head for my novel. My main heroine is very outspoken and cynical, and I realized that most seventeen year-old girls in 1890 were actually very submissive and quiet. She is NOT the norm. So I've decided that she is a product of her governess, Miss (so and so). Miss So-and-So is a forward-thinking, independent spinster, who raised my heroine and her brother from age six, and for ten years, molded them into little forward-thinking cynics like herself. When my heroine's mother discovered just exactly how forward-thinking Miss So-and-so really was, she dismissed her without hesitation.
So that is why my heroine is the way she is, and it makes sense now. I mulled the details over in my head from 3am to 6am. Maybe Advil Cold and Sinus stimulates the brain a little more than I thought?
Goodee, I'm going to go take some more. I have some serious writing to do today!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Out of the Dark Ages...

Well, I did it. I took the plunge and got high-speed internet. Now, I would be "off my head" with joy, if it actually worked.
I have spent the last two days on the phone with Time Warner and Netgear alternately, and they concluded that my modem is faulty and needs to be replaced, but this morning, it suddenly works. Everything works. So what do I do? Call them and tell them never mind? Or is this going to happen again? The service man should be here this afternoon and frankly, I'm stumped. I belong to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality, but who knows if tomorrow it will still work. Tempermental little thing.

In other news, people found my blog using the following searches: "Texas Soccer Mom," "Pajama Party Pullups" (I'm stumped over that one) "Naughty Soccer Mom" and "Bra Panty Slip Mommy Video." (I don't think I even want to ask.) O-Kay.

We're all sick at my house. My neighbor called and begged me to watch her daughter one afternoon (school was out early) and I said yes, and AFTER I said yes she said "Oh, by the way, she has a nasty cold so you might want to spray with Lysol."
Now, maybe I have a personal problem I need to sort out, but I think that was just plain rude. I mean, I would NEVER ask someone to watch my sick child, let alone get them to say yes and THEN divulge the illness.
But being the nice person I am (*cackle*) I bit down firmly on my tongue (don't know when I'll get the blood spots off my shirt) and told her it was OKAY.
Well, that was last Friday. Cut to today, and all three of my children have insufferable head colds/coughs, and now I am coming down with the dreaded scratchy throat as well. I guess that's what I get for being a nice person. Dammit.

I haven't worked on my novel in three whole days. That's got to be some sort of record for me. I guess I've just been too preoccupied with Life. As much as I hate to admit it, my writing always comes second. I have friends who tell me that writing should ALWAYS come first and that I should "assert myself" and have this "my way or the highway" attitude, and I'm sure that works for other writers...but not for me. I guess I just have a different view. If I have the two choices of writing, or spending fun time with my family, I'm almost always going to pick my family. Maybe that's why I will never be very successful in the writing world. I think if I were a single person with no kids, I could pull it off (not that other married women with kids can't make it work, but I'm talking about ME) but I will never have that situation, so I adapt as best I can. I've made the choice of being a full-time mother, and that means everything else has to be part-time.
Trust me, some days I don't want it that way, and I wish things could be different, but most days, I'm glad to be a big nobody because I am a somebody to one man and three adorable little kids. I'm their whole world. And that feels pretty dang important to me.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Where's My Time Machine?

I have decided that one of the hardest things about writing historical fiction is not the writing itself (that is the easy part) but the research about the Era I'm writing in. My current novel is definitely Victorian Time period, but in a masochistic move, I decided that my heroines had to journey to Egypt to solve the mystery of an ancient curse.
Only roughly 40% of the book takes place in London and Shropshire, the rest takes place in Cairo, the desert, the Nile, and Thebes.
Here's my problem. First, I have never been to Egypt. Secondly, I live in the present, so I have to know what Egypt was like in the year 1890. I think I have down what life was like in England in 1890, but Egypt is a whole other kettle of fish.

Here's where a Time Machine would come in handy. I mean, how fun would that be? I was thinking the other night of the things I would do with a time machine. First, I'd buy a period costume so I wouldn't do the whole "sore thumb sticking out" thing and then I'd hop in, and walk around London in 1890. Probably Hyde Park and Grosvenor Square, because my heroine has a house on Mount Street. THEN, I would transport myself to Cairo, (same year) and write down every smell, every sight, every feeling. I'd hire a dragoman for land, then a dahabeeyah and sail up the Nile, and see what my heroines would see.
But alas, I don't have a time machine. I have to rely on Google, Libraries, very friendly archives people, and very old books. But it's fun to dream!
Oh, and I just thought of another thing I'd do with my Time Machine, I'd fast forward to the year 2010 (I am hoping this is enough time) and I'd buy all seven Harry Potter books and the DVD movies to go with them.

Now that would be a treat!

Friday, February 18, 2005

A VERY Close Call...

My daughter, Thing One, recently turned seven. Thanks to my careful planning and seeming evidences of "proof" she still believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and lastly, The Tooth Fairy.
We had an extremely close call with the latter this morning. Thing One lost a tooth last night (my hubby usually does the pulling, but he's out of town so I got the honor) and my daughter excitedly put her tooth in the pocket of her "Tooth Pillow" and hung it by the door for easy access.
Now before you roll your eyes and fault me for letting her still believe, I assure you I have every intention of telling her the truth eventually. I figured once she lost all her teeth, we'd break the tragic news. Because once we do that, then the existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny will definitely come into question, and that thought terrifies me. I am like a She Bear, fiercely protecting the innocence of my little ones.
That said, I have to admit I BIG TIME screwed up last night. I worked on my novel into the wee hours of the morning, and collapsed into bed exhausted.
My daughter came into my room at 6:30 this morning, and sat on my bed, dumbstruck.
"Mom, the Tooth Fairy didn't come," she said dejectedly, and I instantly went into Panic Mode.

I had forgotten to do my Tooth Fairy Duties.

This never happens to me. I always remember. I didn't know what to say, so I said "she didn't?" and we went and inspected and of course the tooth was still there. I felt like absolute crap. In fact, looking at her sad eyes, I was actually thisclose to telling her that it was all a sham. But then I remember how my own mother broke it to me, so rudely and finally, by bringing out a small box and making me open it, and I stared, shell-shocked into the contents of the box. All the teeth I'd ever lost were in there, and I looked at Mom, and looked at the teeth, and I asked the question, and her answer was "no." Then I knew. I knew that the magic wasn't real and I was growing up. It was a traumatic moment, and one I'll never forget. Sort of like how people never forget what they were doing and where they were when Kennedy got shot.

I don't think I"m ready for my little girl to experience a letdown like that yet, so I asked her to go down and take the dog potty, and while she was outside I ran like the wind and stuck a few dollars in the pocket and took the tooth, and timed it so that I was still toasting bagels when she walked in, just like I'd been doing when she walked out. Then I told her to go get dressed before breakfast. She found the money, then she rationalized that she might have woken up a couple of times during the night and scared the Tooth Fairy off (since she can't be seen) and I had to laugh at the image of a puffy-eyed, sluggish Tooth Fairy, waiting patiently in a closet for the child to leave so she could do her last deed for the night, and retire to her little house somewhere in the stars.
The Magic is safe for now, but I know the time will be soon.
I'm really, really dreading that day.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Odds & Ends...

I saw The Notebook last night. Oh my heck. I think I lost roughly 40% of my body weight from bawling my eyes out. I also came to the conclusion that there is no way in heck my husband would sit down and watch a movie like this with me.
I always use his business trips as an opportunity to watch the films he would never watch with me, a.k.a. "chick flicks." Last trip it was Vanity Fair. (Quite a fun film since it is literally the same time period as my current novel I'm writing.)
Speaking of which, I went through all the drama of getting a synopsis to my agent a few weeks ago (he'd wanted a full, and I hadn't completely thought through the story) which I'd hurriedly thrown together, and NOW that I'm actually writing it, I have completely changed the ending, or at least, it's been screaming at me to be changed. I had a bout of writer's block yesterday, but then a little Maidens of the Celtic Harp inspired me to not only continue writing, but to completely change the ending. There's nothing like great writing music.

On the domestic front, I cleaned out three closets yesterday. I started with the dreaded Coat Closet (I should have ended with it, the process was so off-putting I nearly gave up and quit afterwards) and marveled at how many "onesies" we have, that were compacted into a colorful strata at least five inches thick on the floor of said coat closet. One red glove. One snow boot. One blue glove. One spiderman mitten. One glow-in-the-dark-design black glove, another single snow boot from yesteryear. It was a sad event. I had to throw them all away, because their mates are either lost, or lounging in the Lost-and-Found boxes of numerous institutions and businesses across Wisconsin.
Most dryers eat socks. I am convinced that school buses eat Winter gear. Oh well.
Next I moved on to the dreaded Utility Room closet. This is the lovely receptacle of all my "stuff" when I'm in a pickle. Pickle being defined as an unexpected visit from a guest, or anything that involves someone coming to the house without much notice at all. Whatever I'm working on, I throw it in the Utility Room Closet. If I'm folding a mountain of clean clothes, and the doorbell rings, I toss them into a big sheet and wrap them up like an over-sized Canneloni and toss them into the Utility Room Closet. Its become my saving Black Hole.
Problem is, sometimes I forget to take my stuff OUT of the closet, after the guests leave. This is embarrassingly horrid to admit, but one time I threw a dirty cooking pot in there, because I didn't want it sitting in my sink, and I FORGOT to get it out. I'm sure you can guess what happened. I can't help that I'm a forgetful person. Of course, it could have been worse. My mom has this trick of shoving dirty dishes into the oven if guests "pop over" and when I was first married, I did it as a last resort. Problem is, I forgot about the dishes later and turned the oven on to preheat for a pizza, melted and burned everything inside, and nearly burned down the apartment to boot.
(my husband has NEVER let me live it down, its been his "party story" for the last eight years)
Next was my master-bedroom walk-in closet, which I'm ashamed to admit, we haven't been able to "walk into" lately. What can I say, if you come to my house, it's deceptively clean, until you look into my closets! :-)
I'm actually tired after all that organizing. I've been eyeballing the garage all week, but I think that will have to wait until Spring. Too darn cold.
I think I'll run my errands instead and rent another "chick flick."
Can't hurt!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

From Social Butterfly to Hermit

I don't know what's come over me the last few years. I used to love to go out and socialize with other women and their kids, or go to dinner parties with my hubby, and THROW dinner parties and organize get-togethers and barbecues, you name it.
NOW, I don't seem to want to do any of that. I could chalk it up to a few things: A) it's an affected Writer Thing, or B) It's just Wisconsin and it's too damn cold to leave the house, or C) I am finally turning into my father. (a good man, but tends to be reclusive)
Lately, I've been thinking the Winter Blahs have a lot to do with it, but I've been having the "Winter Blahs" ever since we left Texas. So that has to be it.
I loved living in Texas. We lived in Houston for four years while Hubby went to Law School, and then lived for two years in Dallas, and I had so many friends with common interests and my kids had lots of friends and we were always warm, darn it all. I really catch myself missing it sometimes. So what it was searingly hot. So what if we could only play outside for ten minutes at a time during the months of June through September to avoid heat stroke and so what if my kids melted to the slide on the playground and needed rescuing.
Another minus: I have found that the people of Wisconsin are definitely not as friendly as in the South. And I find myself preferring to stay indoors and keep to myself a lot more. I am not sure exactly why this is. No one seems to have common interests with me anymore, (I guess what was common in Texas isn't so common here) and I have been feeling slightly lonely and isolated here. My agent wants me to get out more and join more writing groups for support, because as far as he's concerned I'm living in Midieval Siberia.
Perhaps I am. I need to "get out" more, but how?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Doomed Diet...

Note to self: Stop watching Reality TV
After last night's episode of The Bachelorette, I have decided that Reality TV has officially gotten "old" for me.
Let me just call it right now: Jen is going for Jerry. No surprise there. I called it from the first episode, when she panted after his retreating back like a dog after their first introduction. (just a small hint right there). It's been Jerry all along, and she has only been going through the motions with everyone else. This is the first Bachelor-type show where the final choice has been so painfully obvious from the beginning, it seems almost moot to watch the fluff in between the first and last episodes. So, I call it now: Jen will choose Jerry. Any takers?

Now about my diet. I have been working out and eating healthy, but I have also decided that the marketers at the candy companies are minions of Satan. Of course it doesn't help having three big "Candy Holidays" in a row, the Christmas stuff was barely off the shelves when the Valentine chocolates made their appearance; now yesterday I went to get some last minute Valentine candy and was greeted with an ENTIRE AISLE of Easter candy. (No Valentine candy in sight except for about five bags of waxy chocolate stuffed into a small end corner with all the gross kitschy pink mugs and teddy bears no one wants).
So, my diet is now doomed. I have to stare at delectable easter candy (DAMN the makers of Cadbury mini eggs, FIE on the makers of Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs!) for the next month and a half, and it doesn't seem fair. Why can't all the candy holidays be at the END of the year, when we're not approaching the ever-dreaded Swimsuit Season?

Oh well, at least I'm lucky. Swimsuit Season in Wisconsin only lasts about 10.5 days. Then the blizzards start again. Harumph.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Fly in the Ointment

I am NOT a big planner. Valentine's Day has always been my husband's territory up until now. This year, I decided to take matters into my own hands and be proactive, and PLAN a romantic dinner date. I called the swanky restaraunt, begged the Maitre d' for a favor (he was so AWESOME and got us in!) and then I proceeded to plan the evening, buy an outfit, get my hair done, etc.
Late last night I got a phone call, and the sitter (who I called several weeks before) cancelled with the flu.
I called the backup sitter. She'd been snatched up a few days before. I made several desperate phone calls (even promising to pay double) but to no avail. Every available sitter (even some of the ones I would drive 20 minutes away to pick up) was previously engaged to sit for someone else.
So, my lovely romantic evening plans went down the drain. I was upset about it last night, but this morning, after a pot of herbal tea and about a dozen mini Reeses Peanut Butter Hearts, things are feeling just fine. (I am beginning to suspect that Reeses Co. secretly inserts an ingredient into their peanut butter cups that makes unsuspecting consumers crave them constantly.)
So, we're opting for a night out with the kids. After all, we *love them too*. And after all again, there ARE three hundred and sixty-four other days to have a romantic dinner, right?

Darn it.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

An Out-of-character Rant...

WARNING: MAJOR RANT! Stop reading now while you have the chance!

You know when you have one of those days when something not particularly sensational irks the absoulute crap out of you? I had one a few days ago. Usually it takes a lot to make me mad or disgusted. That said...

I never watch MTV anymore. I think it was literally part of my daily diet when I was in middle school, but I outgrew it and moved on.
So, I was flipping channels the other night, and stumbled onto the show on MTV called “Newlyweds” which (as you all probably already know) chronicles daily snippets of life for married celebrities Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.

I only caught the last 15 minutes of the show (which I had never seen before previously) and by the time it was over I was so disgusted, I had to go brush my teeth. Now excuse me while I go write to the Pope and tell him why Nick Lachey is an excellent candidate for Sainthood...

Okay. I’m back now. The letter is in the mail.
Now, I don’t know Nick Lachey personally, and until a couple of nights ago, I had never seen his show “Newlyweds” or anything else that involved him. But after watching 15 minutes of that show, my blood was BOILING. Boiling I tell you. Why?

My hat is off to Mr. Lachey because he puts up with his out-of-touch-with-reality-prima donna wife, Jessica Simpson, THAT’S why. The poor guy. I have to give him big snaps because apparently he knew what he was getting into when he married her, and he still married her. So it must have been love, because if I pulled the materialistic crap on my husband that she does on him, I’d probably be a divorcee right now.

I had no opinion of Jessica Simpson before I watched that 15 minutes of her show. Now I am convinced that someone needs to hire a hit man to turn her over his knee and give her a good spanking, I mean, OH MY HELL!
On the part of the “Newlyweds” show that I watched, apparently Nick and Jessica were trying to train their new puppy, Daisy. (They had hired swanky in-home trainers to assist them of course) But that’s not what made me crazy. What made me crazy is this:

Daisy, as most puppies eventually do, was growing out of her carrier. Her Louis Vuitton Carrier. Now, I admit, Louis Vuitton has very nice stuff. But I just can’t see dropping six thousand dollars on a carrier for a dog. I mean, it’s a dog for hell's sake!
I watched, eyes bulging in disbelief as I heard and saw the conversation that ensued between the two of them: (not exact, I’m paraphrasing)

Jessica: Well, we need to get another carrier, and it HAS to be Louis Vuitton.”
Nick: (sounding disgusted) The dog isn’t going to know the difference between Louis Vuitton and something else!
Jessica: (in a whiny voice) Yes she will, she’s used to Louis Vuitton and she will know the difference. It's what she's used to. We have to go to Louis Vuitton!

So they enter the Louis Vuitton Store, and Nick says to her “go ahead, you’re in your element.” She proceeds to find a salesman (who I swear was slobbering at the prospect of waiting on them) and they find a larger carrier, (with an even heftier price tag) and of course, Jessica, clearly not one to go Half Way, must have a Louis Vuitton Leash and Dog collar to boot.
Cut to Nick, who is shaking his head and he says something like “It’s sad when the stuff for the dog costs more than the dog.”

I had to stop watching after that. I couldn’t believe how unbelievably materialistic and SPOILED Jessica Simpson is. GAG.
I will concede that my hubby and I can be materialistic at times too. We recently bought a very nice purebred puppy--but I WILL say that we tote him around in a $15 black carrier I got at Walmart. And guess what? He doesn't even care, because after all, he is JUST A DOG. Dogs do NOT know the difference between an over-priced carrier and a cheap one.
UGH. I guess I just need to get over it. But I will say I have no respect for Jessica Simpson. Heaven help her if she and her husband ever lost their money and had to live like normal people.

Nick, hang in there buddy, and best of luck with that spoiled rotten wife of yours, because you will NEED IT.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Little Bits of This and That...

Opting for a little bit of Brevity today--I wrote a long, convoluted blog yesterday and as soon as I hit "publish" I lost the whole darn thing. Disheartened, I said to heck with it and went about my day.
Yesterday I felt bad for my middle son. He's in Kindergarten, and he came home upset because some older boys on the bus were spitting on him. I swear, as a mother, my heart breaks when I hear about stuff like that. Thing Two is a bit "different" than the other kids (he has ADD) and I know that his behavior has gotten him ridiculed before. I am trying to help him be strong because until he either A) grows out of it (unlikely) or B) we put him on medication, he's going to continue to put people off with his behavior, and get teased by the other kids. His other siblings are ADD free and very outgoing and social--I can't help but feel like he got "shafted" with the bad genes from my side of the family. At least he knows he's loved. He has a heart of gold, beneath the rough exterior. Hopefully the boys will leave him alone today, or I'll have to say something. Unfortunately I can't be with him, at his side through every thing he does in life. Sometimes I wish I could.

On a lighter note, I am working away on my novel, and things seem to be flowing.

On yet another note: I watched "The Grudge" recently and I nearly peed my pants. I don't know if I will ever work up the courage to watch "Ju On" (the Japanese version). I love scary movies, but creepy movies always get to me, and The Grudge is certainly creepy.

Another note: someone found my blog by searching "Naughty Soccer Moms" and "Suburban Mom In Heat." Hmmm. 'Nuff said.

Apparently Desperate Housewives has set us suburban moms back into the Stone Ages. I have to laugh though. I would like to see the episode where one of the moms puts on about 20 pounds and goes to the supermarket with a "dirty hair day" ponytail, wearing decidedly unsexy shoes and sweats with dried cereal on them.
But alas, that will never happen. Who wants to see that?
It's probably for the best. We have to maintain our identity as Evil, Conniving, She-Bear Sex-addicted Fashion Plates who Rule The World with simpering Weenie Men at their sides.

I mean, that is, after all, the way it REALLY is in Suburbia--you know?


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Inspiration and Spam

Wednesdays are boring. At least for me. I don't run around so much because Thing Three only has preschool on Mondays and Tuesdays at this point.
Hubby is coming home tonight, I will be glad to get a restful night's sleep. I am worn out.
I was in such a slump yesterday, but one of my writer friends had some questions about stuff I LOVE to talk about, different Eras in England, like Georgian, Regency, Victorian, etc. It snapped me right out of it (thanks Michelle!) and actually got me a little enthused about my current WIP.(Work in Progress if you're wondering).

I figure I need to just start working on it. My problem is I'm so worried about not being "historically accurate" and I finally realized that I could literally kill myself trying to get every little detail right for the period I'm writing in. I just need to relax, and write the story, and I can go back and add the little things in that make it true, LATER. The story is what matters, and I need to get it out while it's fresh and percolating in my brain.
So, quiet day today, the only thing annoying me so far is all the bloody SPAM I've been getting lately. Today I had 78 emails, ALL devoted entirely on making my "manhood rock hard in 20 minutes--guaranteed." (*Lara rolls her eyes*)

I think all Spammers (when they die) should bypass the Pearly Gates and go directly to the special place reserved for them--

...several floors down.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Rant.

I feel yucky today. I think that the last four nights, going to bed at 2am has finally caught up with me. I feel like a zombie. I wish I could sleep when my hubby travels. Problem is, when he gets back from his trip completely exhausted, so am I, and we both just want to sleep. But I still have kids who need me, and the dog, house, etc. That's the only thing I envy him. He can come home from work, unwind and separate, but being a homemaker is 24/7, thankless, and exhausting.
Okay, rant over. I need to get my butt in gear here. I haven't done a smidge of writing (except this blog) for the last week. I've taken half-hearted stabs at research, but mostly I've surfed and Ebayed. Honestly, I wish I had the level of commitment and discipline some of my other writer friends have, who actually plan out how many words they'll write in a day, and take it so very seriously. Writing is like...eating for them.
I'm more of a recreational writer. I wish I wasn't. But my life SO gets in the way. My agent would be dismayed to know this, but I just can't seem to sit myself down and slap myself in the head.
But sometimes it goes the other way too. When I do get in a writing groove, I neglect everything around me, and my husband describes it as "falling into a deep dark hole" and I don't emerge except to do basic things like feed my family, get them ready for school, bed, etc. I HAVE TO FIND THE BALANCE and I am doing a rubbish job of it.
Today is one of those days where I want to toss up my hands in frustration and be done with it. I've lost the heart--at least for today.

Are all writers this manic depressive about writing? *wink*

Sunday, February 06, 2005


My hubby is out of town. Matter of fact, he's out of town a lot. Sometimes I feel like a single parent, and that can get discouraging. But it's his job, and we knew going in, that it would be like this.
That said, whenever Hubby is IN town, we usually exhaust ourselves on weekends, taking the kids here and there, and there's always a movie and dinner.
My problem is getting over the urge to stay home and do absolutely nothing (while the kids run wild) on Saturdays without Hubby. So, since I am very proud of myself, I'll state in my defense that I actually attempted to do a "family outing" yesterday, and dragged the kids to the Pettit Ice Arena.
I didn't have to drag my daughter and youngest son. They were enthused about the idea of going iceskating from the get go. My daughter's brownie troop would be there, so it was a good opportunity. My middle son, who is more inclined towards "intellectual pursuits" rather than athletic, promptly fell to the carpet and started groaning the moment I made the announcement. I didn't care. My kids are 7, 5, and 4, and NONE of them have ever been iceskating. So I decided it was time.
During our journey to the Ice Arena (in which my daughter felt compelled to pray at one point that "Mommy wouldn't get lost again on the freeway") I tried to formulate a plan as to how to go about supervising six pairs of arms and legs while only posessing two of my own. This was going to be interesting, to be sure.
We got to the arena, and there wasn't even one place to park. I am not joking when I say this. There was one parking spot, but it was several miles away from the main door and buried in four solid inches of slush. So I sat in my car and waited, until by some miracle a lady came out and pulled out of a parking spot only about a mile away, and I promptly pulled in.
We got inside, paid for our tickets, and in the course of the next 30 minutes we ran back and forth exchanging pairs of iceskates for bigger iceskates (note to self: figure skates run SMALL) and I had to lace up about 10 pairs total before we all had what we wanted.

We were ready to hit the ice. Little did I know that we would literally be hitting the ice, for the next two hours.
The next two hours were, without doubt, the longest of my life to date. I spent 10 minutes alone, just coaxing my middle son onto the ice, reassuring him that it wouldn't crack--and even if it did, it would not open up and swallow him into deep dark water.
My daughter, thankfully, had about a half dozen of her Brownie Troop girlfriends, willing to help out and determined that she would learn to skate. They were holding onto her arms, jacket, braids, etc., steadying her until she got the hang of it.
So I left her alone and focused on my two sons, who were doing literally everything on the ice except skating: Falling, twisting, crying, scrambling, beating the ice tearfully from a sitting position, etc..
Thankfully I have had some experience on the ice (just not since College-eek) and I didn't fall down. My chore was to crawl along at a snail's pace, holding up the collective weight of my two sons as they flailed their arms and legs. (I'm sure to onlookers it looked somewhat painfully like I was a fisherwoman clutching a dying octopus in each hand.)
After getting only halfway around the circle, my arms hurt, my legs hurt, my ankles really hurt, and my youngest son was so boiling mad that he couldn't get the hang of it, that he wanted nothing to do with me, and preferred to cling desperately to the side bumpers and hitch himself along.
My other son had me in a death-grip, wailing whenever I made any sudden movements. I was beginning to actually sweat from the exertion of holding him up, and cursing the fact that I had ever come here without my hubby, who would have been extremely useful to have on hand for this particular situation.
In the end, we made it twice around (I was beginning to get VERY mad at Red Jacket Man, who, while on hockey skates, started at one point skating in circles around us and smiling gleefully, as if rubbing in the fact that yes, he had passed us at least three dozen times already) and by the time we were finished, my children were sobbing, I was practically sobbing, and I had to fight the urge to rip my skates off and march off the ice with my hands in the air.

Of course in the car, on the way home, I heard the dreaded words:

Mom, that was fun, can we do it again next Saturday?


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Roswell Mania and Temptation.

I've done some silly things in my life--and very recently to boot.
I watched the show "Roswell" (First season only) when it was on television a few years ago, but I never watched another episode beyond that. No second season, no third (and sadly final) season. I was just too darn busy, and too upset that Liz and Max were not meant to be together. (yes, I'm a bit of a romantic).

So, for some weird reason, lately I've been wondering what exactly happened to the trio from the distant planet (which became a quartet--but with human love triangles or quadrangles or octagons--I couldn't keep track).
Thanks to the magic that is Ebay, I had seasons one and two delivered at my door for about half the price of current retail (I recommend mint: viewed once) and I started watching a few days ago. Problem is, Real Life happens when you want to be doing something else, and I could only squeeze in a few shows a day.
Then hubby left for a business trip yesterday, and as soon as I got the kids off to school, I was determined to watch as many episodes as I possibly could, since I had no appointments until 4pm.
So I watched. I became reacquainted with Liz and Maria and Max and Michael and Isabel (yes, even the then-scrawny Colin Hanks who looks like the perfect Hybrid between his parents) and all their angst and soap-operish problems. And I became hopelessly drawn in. Even during the "stupid" epidsodes, where I found myself uncomfortably fast-forwarding during the silly and slightly embarrassing dream sequences, etc.
Here's where Temptation comes in: my one goal during these nights without hubby was supposed to be filled with WRITING, and not VIEWING. But now, I am tempted to spend my nights watching until the end of Season Two (I've just begun it and it ain't looking pretty) or until my DVD player melts, whichever comes first.
So I have to decide if Writing is more important than Viewing.

Dilemma. And a bloody difficult one at that.

The unfortunate hitch in all this is that Roswell, Season Three has not been officially released in the U.S. and I believe it won't be until June this year. I have found TONS of copies on Ebay, but they have are all from places like Hong Kong and Macau (with Chinese characters on them and they claim to be same as U.S. version) and I am afraid that if I buy one I'll put it into my DVD player and get only squiggly lines. Ah, decisions, decisions. Do I keep watching? Or do I kick myself in the head and get writing?

To be honest, Jason Behr's shirtless torso might be the deciding factor.


Friday, February 04, 2005

Feeling almost normal today

Today started out a little stressful--it always is right before my hubby goes on a business trip. But he's on the plane by now and I have six days of insomnia ahead of me, so I should get a bit of writing done. *wink*
Today got better though, one of my writer friends sold her novel at auction (congrats Sara!) and news like that always makes my day.
It's funny, after every rejection I get, I do a little soul-searching and re-evaluating, and I always come up with the same conclusion: Writing is my life. There is no greater satisfaction for me (other than looking at my adorable children-heh heh) than to be able to create characters who live and breathe, and have a story to tell. I can create worlds with a simple pen and sheet of paper--there honestly isn't anything much better than that for me.

So I write. I write every day if I can. My novel, a journal, this blog--I will continue to write and write and someday, even if I don't have a novel for sale at Barnes & Noble, and just have a handful of hand-stapled novels to read to my grandkids, at least I got to do what I love to do, and that's write. So I'll keep going, and I'll keep writing, and who knows, maybe I'll get lucky down the road. I'm already lucky in so many ways--so I am content to be doing what I'm doing for now.
Just writing.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Sting of Rejection

I got a rejection yesterday from a big publisher. My agent sent me the email, and the editor had very nice things to say about my novel, but alas, once again, they were going to pass. But they reassured us that "someone else" would love it. They are right. This business is VERY subjective.

Problem is, we're running out of Someone Elses to submit it too.

So, I'm beginning to wonder, (since Hubby and I have this sickening urge to watch the prelims of American Idol in their entirety, wincing through to see when the next William Hung can be discovered) I just like another one of those clueless singers?
You know the ones. They appear before the judges, thinking they're "all that" and that they can whip James Brown's voice any day with their powerhouse voices (which they announce quite confidently to the judges) and the next thing you know they're attempting to sing, and the sound coming out is not unlike the sound a slowly-deflating balloon makes in its final death throes. Or a sound reminiscent of school days when the fingernails were drawn slowly down the chalkboard.

And these people think they can sing. They really, really have convinced themselves that they sound exactly like Patti LaBelle (when in actuality her dog could probably sing better).
These unfortunate souls have probably been surrounded by people and family their whole lives, who, thinking that lies are better than the alternative, have pumped them up and told them that their voices are "wonderful" and they really have talent.

Is this me? Am I some slowly-deflating balloon who really has a subnormal cookie-cutter writing style and despite the reassurances of my assorted family and close friends will NEVER publish a novel because frankly, I suck?

I am hoping I am not that deluded. All I can do is work harder and hone my craft. Mediocrity is a crime in this business, unless of course, you're a CELEBRITY but I-wont-get-going-on-that-subject-because-that-is-another-can-of-worms-entirely.
My loving mother (bless her) actually suggested I get "notorious" somehow first, and then, I'd get a publishing deal in a heartbeat, like all the celebrities do. Oh, sure. THAT will be easy. Since I would never do porn or act in front of a camera, I would have to resort to crime, and writing a novel in jail doesn't seem that appealing.

Looks like it's going to be the Nobodydom of being a stay-home-mom for me, for a while!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Taking out the Trash

Tuesdays are Trash Days here. I have undertaken the task of teaching my little ones how to "take out the trash." (Granted, its freezing cold outside and our driveway is enormously long, so I do the actual "taking out the trash" part, but I have placed them in charge of "Pre-taking-out-the-trash-duties.") This entails: grabbing a large black trash bag, and starting with the basement, all three children empty the trash from all four bathrooms and assorted rooms into the black trash bag, and tie it up neatly and deliver it to me. Things Three and Two hold the bag, while thing One empties the trash receptacle into it. Simple, right?

Apparently not.

Trash Day Activities are the only time when my children really get into it, and like savage animals, claw and fight and scream and growl at each other. My daughter complains that her brothers won't "help hold the bag" or they complain that she won't help them pick up the stuff that falls (ew, I wouldn't either) or they all proclaim mutiny and sit around in the bathroom calling each other nasty names until I either A) march in and swat their behinds or B) scream at them from two floors underneath and threaten them within an inch of their lives because my hands are full of either dishwater/bread dough/puppy drool, and I can't march in at the moment and swat their behinds.
This morning I could hardly get Thing Two to cooperate (he'd had a restless night and was tired to the point of lethargy) and Thing One was flat out refusing to pick up the used tissues around the trashcan (her brothers don't have very good aim as of yet) and Thing Three was calling everyone around him "Fartface" and I was about to shut them all in their rooms and do the deed myself.
But...I read somewhere that you have to let the kids do the chores, even if they do them in "their time" (as opposed to Impatient Mommy Time) because if you do everything yourself they will turn into lazy slobs who curse you when they're older because you never taught them to do anything for themselves and they need to hire out help to tie their shoes and make their beds.

So I suffered through another half-hour long process of complaints and name-calling and me interfering on four different occasions to tell them to "knock it off and hurry up," and it finally got done.

Whew. Now I must go back to bed...

On the research front--things are going swimmingly, I've been tearing through my 1902 Baedeker (I'm a little disappointed the words are in English, but all the maps of Cairo and Thebes and the Nile are in FRENCH, darn it) and my Amelia B. Edwards book 1000 MILES UP THE NILE. She chronicles her travels all over Egypt in 1889. And she describes them in minute detail.
She is one funny lady. One of my favorite passages so far:

"Lastly, there are the minor inconveniences of sun, sand, wind, and flies. The whole place radiates heat, and seems almost to radiate light. The glare from above and the glare from below alike are intolerable. Dazzled, blinded, unable to even look at his subject without the aid of smoke-coloured glasses, the sketcher, whose tent is pitched upon the sandslope over against the Great Temple, enjoys a foretaste of cremation."

Very witty. I think I would have liked to have met her. For now, I'll settle for reading her book.