052 - Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep

I really need some. I usually fall asleep with the television on, but last night there was a thunderstorm, so I turned the tv off because I wanted to hear the rain. The last time I looked at the clock, it was after two... my mind wouldn't shut down... that's why the tv stays on. Today Kristy's a sleepy girl who talks about herself in third person... that can't be good...

If it wasn't such an icky job, I would become a plumber. Twenty minutes... two guys... $140 (goodbye Oklahoma City, I miss you already). But both my toilets flush a lot faster, and no water comes out what I will now refer to by its semi-correct name - the cleanout something-or-other. Even the water from the bathtub drains more quickly. And I just got a call from the plumber. He usually he comes out himself, this time two of his helpers came out instead... he said next time it happens I should call the city, because the clog was near the main and it would be their responsibility to fix it... and they'll repair it, not just clean it out... for free. I appreciate his honesty, that's why I continue to use him.

I finally went next door and checked out the flipper house. I wish I had seen it before he started so I could make a true comparison, but I have to say, it looks really good. He's painted all the walls, remodeled both bathrooms and the kitchen (only thing I would change is to put a bigger bathtub in, cuz I luvs me some bubble baths and those tiny little ones just don't cut it), put in new windows and doors, and new fixtures. I really like the doors they added... they installed a back door to replace the side door, they walled up the side door so they have more wall space, and they replaced the windows that face the courtyard with a sliding glass door - which makes a hell of a lot more sense. They treated for termites, repaired the foundation, redid part of the ceiling where there was water damage, poured patios and repaired holes in the drywall, and next week they're going to put in the flooring. It looks downright homey, but good gravy that's a ton of work!

He also said there were mice everywhere when they first went in, so I correctly guessed where my two houseguests came from last winter. Luckily I have a cat who rid me of the problem before it became a problem. Two mice, two days... one dead mousey and one lucky one that I took pity on and tossed out the door on the condition that he tell his friends to stay the hell away from my house... seems to have worked. They were cute... but they were mice.

The contractor is such a nice guy. He's Brazilian and has been doing remodels since he was nine years old (with his dad). He offered to show me some of the other houses he's working on, apparently he works for these people regularly; after this house he has another one to work on. I don't know if I'll take him up on the offer... he's nice, but I don't know him so I don't trust him, and in all seriousness, looking at pretty new houses always makes me dissatisfied with what I have... even though I love my house, despite all the damn money it's cost me this year... Guess it depends on where the houses are.

He told me I should have about 5 years left on my roof, and gave me a couple of tips to help prolong it. He was going to give me a huge bucket of paint that he didn't use, and said when he went onto the roof tomorrow, he'd clean mine off where the pine needles have collected. If he follows through, he will have already done more for me than any of my ex-boyfriends... Either I need to flirt my butt off and snag this guy, or I need to keep this in mind next time I get into a relationship... I like it when guys do things for me! I'm the Queen High Mistress of the Universe - I deserve it, right? Right!


051 - The return of Job

Yesterday I did diddly-squat.

Okay, not true. Not exactly. I made another disappointing recipe out of the Cook Yourself Thin cookbook... so far I've made four recipes... so far all four have sucked. This one actually made me want to vomit... and I'm not kidding.

I ended up surfing the net to find suppliers and information on how to make lotions, bath salts, and bath bomb fizzies. I tend to like scents that aren't readily available mass market, and I like the idea of controlling the ingredients that go into it, so -- if nothing else -- I would like to try it out as a hobby. But I would like it even better if I could turn it into a business. All of those things should have a decent shelf life, and I know there's a market there if you do it right. I'm thinking that if I do pursue it... a lot of people might get lotion for Christmas this year... I'm sorry, but things are tight right now and they'll just have to understand. More on that later. *

Funny thing happened while I was researching, I found several really interesting sites that were completely unrelated... that's how I think the internet contributes to short attention spans and ADD... you never finish anything because you're constantly distracted by other things. Information overload... but some good can come out of it, like angryalien.com... that's good stuff...

So, accordingly, I updated my Random Stuff page to add the pages that I really liked, and then I realized categories were beginning to reveal themselves and I reorganized the page to reflect that. Got to check 'sense of accomplishment' off my daily list. J/K.

One really cool website I found was The Simple Dollar. I like the way the guy writes, and the information is helpful, too. I quickly got addicted and spent no less than two hours reading his blogs and following links. Another is a website that my cousin, Beth introduced me to a few years back, Pioneer Woman. She's hilarious, but my favorite part of her website is that she includes yummy recipes, and she takes pictures of each stage in the process so you can see it (and I reiterate that she's hilarious). I want to be her when I grow up. There are a couple of others, but those are my two favorites at the moment. Check out the revamped Random page if you're interested.

So I am, once again, considering the name change to Job. I have a new home repair issue to contend with:

Exhibit# 1 - My toilet tank has been refilling itself on a fairly regular basis for the past month or so. I thought it was a leaky seal and was going to go get a part to fix it... eventually. My spidey senses weren't tingling. They were just mildly irritated at the fact that I would have to make a trip to Home Depot, because I still don't know where they moved to and I suspect it's the hellish high traffic area down the road that's going to cause me a lot of unnecessary stress. I hate playing dodgeball, especially with my car.

Exhibit# 2 - The last couple of weeks there has been a whine coming from my kitchen faucet when I turn it on... I remember that sound calmly being referred to as 'air in the line.' Eh, there wasn't a sense of urgency... it sounded like something that would eventually work itself out. The spidey senses didn't give a crap.

Exhibit# 3 - The last couple of days as the water was draining from my bathtub, there was a horrific, guttural sound originating from my kitchen sink (scary if you're not expecting it and haven't yet identified where it's coming from). Now... my spidey senses are a little freaked out by the gurgling, but they still weren't catching on to the urgency of the situation.

I'm going to sue my spidey senses for negligence. It was all starting to add up but I was oblivious because a few months back they worked on the water lines and some of that same shit happened.

Where it started to get ugly was (Exhibit# 4) when I opened my blinds this morning and saw the water coming up out of the pipe outside my master bedroom. Two things became apparent to me at that point - 1) the toilet had just been flushed, and 2) there was toilet paper on the ground surrounding the puddle that was forming around this geyser... and it was unrelated to the spirited game of pass the plunger we played last weekend.


So I called my insurance company and filed a claim. I'm assuming this has something to do with my foundation repair, and I'm hoping it's covered. It occurred to me to wonder if, since I have three different policies (homeowner's, windstorm and flood), do I also have three deductibles? I've already met my windstorm deductible, so do I also have to meet the homeowner's deductible, too? If the answer if yes, then S of a B... that sucks.

And I think I actually shot my own self in the foot... I stopped donating to charities because I don't have the extra dough, but I did still attempt to do a good deed by starting the coupon exchange, and then this happens... Gawd... can you imagine what would have happened if I had gotten around to volunteering to work with Habitat for Humanity??? Hopefully this link between good deeds and bad luck will fade by the end of the year and I can get back to being a good person again... I really want to eventually do H for H...

So I'm thinking that with the gig having been pushed out a week, and this new development, that's God's way of telling me to forget about Oklahoma. I think it's also his way of telling me to sell all that shit I bought on EBay (and Cook Yourself Thin) last year, back to people on EBay... instead of letting it sit in my closet of shame, unused, gathering dust and guilt.

Or maybe Suze Orman put a whammy on me for not having an emergency fund...

Or maybe should have the house exorcised...

So this is my parting nugget of wisdom... if you don't own a house... if you're thinking it's a good investment... that you get tax breaks... that you build equity... IT'S A LIE, PEOPLE!!! DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!!! YOU WILL NEVER GET OUT OF IT, WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT, AND WHEN YOU ADD UP EVERYTHING YOU'VE SPENT IT WILL SICKEN YOU!!!Okay... I feel better now...


050 - The 50th post

Original title, eh? lol

It's amazing the things you can learn on YouTube. Seriously. A whole new world has been opened up for me. I had gotten all excited about the loose mineral eyeshadows I found on Etsy, so I went on YouTube to learn what they meant when they said you could use them wet to create a "foiled" look. I suspected it meant you could somehow make the eyeshadow look shiny, like foil (I was right).

While on that quest, I ran across a video of someone mixing their own mineral makeup, and I followed a link to a place where you can buy your own raw materials. That was so exciting to me... the ability to mix my own eyeshadows, create my own colors, control the ingredients that go into them. So I went a little crazy, but I put a limit on myself and moved a lot into my wish list. In the back of my mind I'm hoping I can get good at it, figure out how to balance rich color with adhesion but still have something that glides on smoothly, and maybe I can sell it. I also found soap and candle making supplies, which has always interested me, too (but I'm not ready to take that plunge).


Then I went back to YouTube and found videos on how to create your own mixing medium, which allows you to use eyeshadow as liner. I found videos on how to press your loose mineral eyeshadow so you can put them into compacts (and where to buy the compacts and pans)... how to make your own pans for the eyeshadow to go into if you don't want to buy them... all kinds of neat stuff.

Pretty much anything you want to know... someone out there knows it and it's probably on YouTube. What floors me are all the young girls who somehow have this knowledge! I was always fascinated by makeup, mom and dad would do their grocery shopping and I would spend the whole time in the makeup aisle. I didn't know much aside from what I read in magazines, but these little girls know how to do all kinds of things. I don't know where they learned it.

My mom didn't really wear makeup, so she didn't pass much on -- in fact, I'm kinda proud to say that I convinced her to let me do her makeup once and she actually liked it, so from that point on she started wearing it that way. I also learned from watching other women put their makeup on, and reading books. It's fascinating to me, because everyone does it differently. I've learned that the key is blending to avoid harsh lines, and I've learned about contouring. Makeup can do a lot for you.

So today I got a YouTube subscription update, scanned through what interested me and watched a couple of videos. I've posted about Kandee before, she had several new videos so I watched a couple, and then afterward they post 2-3 add'l videos as teasers, and they kind of cycle through, and I ran across this one of her sharing her life story. It's incredibly sad but also very uplifting. I find it amazing that she can remain so positive in the face of that much adversity. So here it is, it's kind of long, but doesn't seem that way as you watch it.

P.S. I know how she felt when she says, 'and ten people watched my video!' I feel the same way when I see the numbers climb. I haven't reached 1,000 yet, but frankly I'm surprised that I have over 700 hits.


049 - My oh my...

I'm fascinated by HBO's Real Sex. There are so many weird fetishes out there that I never conceived of. I never realized I was so vanilla.

But the whole time I'm watching, I'm thinking... where do these people come from? How do they find each other? Even more perplexing, how does a television show know to find them in order to do a segment about them? Take the horse people for example.

I imagine it going down this way:

Two strangers at a race track, casting furtive glances at one another.

Person 1: I love horses...

Person 2: Me, too. They're so strong and graceful.

Person 1: Fast, too.

Person 2: Yeah.

Person 1: You see that one there? Look at that shiny coat! I wish my hair were that shiny.

Person 2: You should buy some mane and tail shampoo... I use it by the case.

Person 1: You do have nice hair...

Awkward silence. Eyes dart around nervously.

Person 1: Hey... speaking of horses... you know what I like to do? I like to put on a skimpy leather outfit, stick a bit in my mouth and prance around like a horse. Do you ever do that?

Person 2: Actually... I do. And sometimes I make my boyfriend chase me around the house with a riding crop.

Person 1: Fun!

Person 2: I also have my own saddle.

Person 1: Get out of town -- I thought I was the only one!

They share a laugh, the tension quickly dissipating. They don't notice the stranger who has paused to listen in on their conversation.

Person 3: Excuse me... I don't mean to interrupt, but did I hear you correctly? You like to pretend that you're a horse?

Person 1 prepares to scold him about butting in on people's private conversation. Person 3, sensing imminent danger, quickly clarifies.

Person 3: Allow me to introduce myself... my name is John... but my horse name is Thunder. (he paws at the ground)

They attempt to grasp the impossibility of three people who love to play horsie, all ending up in the same room.

Person 1: Wild!

Person 2: Hey -- crazy idea -- why don't we get together next weekend and have a chariot race?

Person 3: I'll bring apples!

Person 1: I'll bring carrots!

Person 2 whinnies in excitement.

I'm not judging... what happens in the privacy of one's bedroom and all... I just can't fathom the conversation that brings this up in the first place. I can't figure out how they get from point A (revelation) to point B (large gathering of horse people, none of whom think this behavior is the least bit strange). To each their own. (Ha! I said bit! Sorry, puns crop up in my blogs from time to time, it's a curse I'm saddled with, sometimes it's a stall tactic... but hay... somebody bale me out!)

Now the baby people, on the other hand... the baby people are downright disturbing...

Haircut came out good... I think. I never know for sure until I wash it and style it myself (and don't worry Brian, the front is still long, I told him I was trying to grow it out and he listened). For tonight, I've locked the scissors away and I'm going to veg out and watch the lightning storm (or flash photography) outside. I was a good girl and did my treadmill all week, so I get tonight off.

BTW, at work, we get 'lightning alerts.' They send a mass email out to let people know that there might be lightning somewhere in a six mile radius. I await, with dread, the day that they lock the building down and won't let us leave until the danger has passed...

I wonder what would have happened if the pioneers had gotten lightning alerts...


048 - Mooyuck

I was all excited about Mooyah Burger... I made the arduous drive down the area's most congested street -- I even had to get my ass out of the car because there's no drivethru... It seemed so promising... line after line of catchphrases: "fresh-meat-never-frozen", "choose-your-own-toppings", "all-toppings-included-in-the-price", "real ice cream". I was salivating something fierce. The decor was cool... sort of retro with red floors, and an industrial-type ceiling where you see the ductwork. Fingers were crossed. Outlook good.

Got home and tore into the bag... The fries were tasty. The shake was tasty. The burger... not so much... I couldn't taste the beef or the bun, all I tasted was the mooyah sauce, the tomatoes and the pickles (and the lingering scent of lettuce, which I picked off, because I forgot to tell them that I don't like it on my burger). It probably sounds like a flavor explosion, but overall it was fairly bland. Disappointment set in. I have to work extra hard on the treadmill tonight and I didn't even enjoy my splurge... Suck-o-rama. Turns out that the best thing about Mooyah Burger is that it reminds me of Mooby's and that reminds me of Kevin Smith. Yea for Kevin Smith!

So last night I made it about 3/4 of the way through The Devil's Rejects before I gave up. I didn't even chicken out, I just got tired of watching impossible situation after impossible situation. The characters were so unlikeable that I didn't even flinch when the torture started... the kind of people they were... I just couldn't find it within myself to feel sorry for them. I have an evil side (that I supress) and it was pleased, because they deserved it. To summarize... huge fan of Zombie's music, but his movies? Not so much. I tried though, I really did.

Real world observation... it's amusing to watch a power struggle between polite people.

My trip to OK got delayed by a week. I did manage to find a discount on the hotel room... airfare is still the same. Pretty sure I'm still going to do it, but now it's looking a smidge less likely (more time to talk myself out of it). I'm a little like that girl in Serendipity... I look for signs, and when things start to get complicated... I start to wonder if that's not the universe's way of telling me to back off. Maybe that's silly, but I've already copped to being a silly girl.

So I'm fairly convinced that there's someone out there who has nothing better to do than follow me around and sabotage my chances of having a love life. Not literally, I hope, but I'm running out of explanations as to why things always look so promising and suddenly take a nose dive. Maybe that person is me? I am, after all, the common denominator. I dunno. Maybe things were never that promising, I just chose to wear the rose-colored glasses. This afternoon I imagined two characters having a conversation. One of them recognizes that she's alone, but says she's given up. The other person calls her out on it, says surely she hasn't given up. She asks what it matters -- whether she tries or whether she doesn't, the outcome is the same. That's kind of how I feel.

Refer back to the flowchart.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut. Was supposed to be today, but my stylist got sick. STRESS!!! And that means no happy hour, because I'm getting my hair cut instead... Maybe I'll try to put another HH together next Friday. Last one was fun... small and relaxed... the kind I like... no drama, just fun.


047 - Purple is pretty

I warn you now -- I don't have much to blog about, so read on, but prepare to be fairly unimpressed. I also caution you that I'm feeling rambly today (those of you who know me are already cringing)...

I have been on a quest to find the perfect purple eyeshadow, and I think I may have found it... Goddess Minerals Plum Passion. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous color, and it's only $4. I'm loving the loose mineral eyeshadow, you can make it as dark or as light as you like. (I did mention that makeup is my latest obsession, right?) So far all of the samples I've gotten have been amazing, so sparkly and pretty and girly (Euphoric Dysphoria and Pink Quartz Minerals). While I'm gushing about makeup, Kat Von D's eyeshadow is awesome! I treated myself to it when a friend gave me an e-gift certificate to Sephora... it's the best.

Moving (randomly) on... I can't remember the magic I worked when I did it, but I somehow set up a search on Google and it automatically scans the web for the words 'query shark.' Sometimes it means that the Query Shark has eviscerated another query letter (which is what I'm hoping for), sometimes it means she was mentioned in someone's blog, other times it's just a blog about a shark (it apparently searches for each word independently). Today I ran across an author who is in the same boat as I am, more or less. She posted her query letter, mentioned Query Shark, and asked for opinions. I commented on it... I hope she doesn't take offense at some random stranger offering suggestions. I didn't go into the meat of the letter because I'm not an expert on what agents want so I don't feel like I'd be doing her any favors, I just pointed out some things I do feel confident about.

I'm trying to reach out and meet people in the writing community...

A friend also put me in touch with Rachel Brady, a friend of hers who recently got published. I felt a little awkward emailing her, but I also didn't want to let the opportunity pass me by. I didn't expect her to get back to me for a while, if ever. She was soooooooooooo nice, she even suggested that we meet for lunch, so I'm looking forward to that. It's good to meet someone who knows what this process feels like. Here's her website: http://www.rachelbrady.net/, her book sounds really interesting, so next time I place an order I will add hers to the list.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut by a new stylist. I'm skeered. Hair makes such a difference in how you look and it's hard to trust someone new with it. This one comes with high recommendations, so my fingers are crossed -- but I'm still nervous. I want a reverse angle bob like I already have - BUT - I want to keep it long, and I want layers and I want long, angled bangs -- the kind where they hold your hair and let the scissors slide down it. That doesn't sound impossible, does it???

And oh gawd... The Devil's Rejects is on IFC in a few minutes... that means it won't cost me anything (except my sanity) so I know I'm going to try to watch it while the opportunity is available. I also know it's a bad, bad idea but oh how I love Rob Zombie... He's an amazing artist and his concerts are so much fun. At this point in my life there are very few bands I care to see live anymore: Static-X, Rob Zombie, Metallica, and Papa Roach. If Alice in Chains comes to town I'll probably go see them, too. I saw Jerry Cantrell once, but I missed out on the old Alice because Layne Staley o.d.'d when they were supposed to come through. I have to say, I'm loving the new songs.

So back to Rob... (I warned you about the rambling)

I attempted to watch House of 1,000 Corpses once. I made it 30-45 minutes in, right up until the axe came out. Problem is, I had seen some clips as he played the song in concert, so I had an idea what to expect. I never made it to the part where the guy had scissors sticking out of his face.

I had two nightmares about the movie before I ever saw it. In one, Viggo Mortensen and I were on a bus full of guys at a bachelor party (and in all weirdness, I was a guy). These strippers in American flag bikinis were coming down the aisle asking everyone to drop their car keys into a plastic bucket, telling them that they didn't want anyone to drive home drunk. But Viggo and I smelled a rat, so we stuck our hands into the bucket and moves some keys around, but kept ours because we knew that they were really collecting keys so that once the violence started, no one could get away.

Second dream was me at a Rob Zombie concert. Everyone else was oblivious, but I saw the strange looking people shutting and locking the doors. I saw the guy with the axe and the manacles. A few other people did, too, but they thought it was all part of the show... and it was, sort of... except that we were also a part of the 'show.' They were going to kill us all. I started to leave but couldn't get through the crowd and I don't remember all of it, but I think we ended up on some remote island somewhere and I did escape, or I woke up...

My dreams are always incredibly vivid. I feel things... like the sensation of my teeth as I spit out the pieces when they fall out. I smell things... unfortunately it's usually during the nasty bathroom dream -- but once it was lemon dish soap and that was a nice change. Everything is in color, I don't ever remember a black and white dream. I write songs sometimes, though I can't remember them very well when I wake up. If I could design the houses that I see in my dreams, I swear I'd be rich. A lot of my dreams are repetitive, and I can remember dreams I had years and years ago. Sometimes I seriously wonder if they're dreams at all, or if I have another life on some alternate plane of existence. I think that's why I wake up tired all the time.

I just saw a commercial for a new Tim Burton movie, 9 it looks good... It took me a while to get onboard with his movies, but I really like the sets he uses and it doesn't hurt that every single movie is scored by Danny Elfman. I heart Danny Elfman even more than I heart Rob Zombie. His music is so incredibly delicate... and then it's powerful... and evocative... and angelic... and twisted... Batman is still my favorite score, but I love them all. I'm still amazed as I watch the opening sequence to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, how he managed to capture a word: industrial.

Okay... enough blogging... I'm going to attempt to watch this movie... (funny how I had nothing to blog about and this is probably my longest blog ever... EEK!)


046 - Ooooooooooooo-klahoma...

I've decided to be spontaneous. I have a friend who plays at Michael Murphy's in Oklahoma City, and next month I'm going to go see him play. Okay... maybe knowing that it's a month out isn't exactly spontaneous, but the decision to go was - and I'm proud of me. Let me have my moment.

I used to play the clarinet in high school, and I was good enough that I made it into the symphonic band. Every year we took a trip, kind of the way I take my vacations now... one year it was a local trip, the following year it would be someplace far away. Each year we had to hoof it around our neighborhoods, knock on people's doors and ask them to buy crap so that we could fund our trip. Luckily I always managed to pay for my trip without getting abducted by a pedophile.

Anyway, I loved band trips, they were fun. I miss the experience of going out of town in a group and getting crazy (though the definition of 'crazy' has greatly changed in the last several years). I hadn't done it in a long, long time until one of my friends got married in St. Louis a couple of years ago. It reminded me how much fun it can be to hang out with the same people in a different environment. This group will be a little bit of a stretch for me because I don't know everyone, but I'm trying to open myself up to new experiences.

I'd never thought about Oklahoma very much... not to visit... just to pass through. It's one of those states that doesn't seem to come up in conversation... not like New York or California. Well baby, they've been keeping secrets, because I was looking at the tourism website and it looks awesome! Besides Michael Murphy's, they have a dadgum river walk, just like San Antonio, but they call theirs Brick Town! And while I'm there, I am going to try to make it out to see the Survivor Tree. So I'm very much looking forward to this because I know it's going to be a blast!

Last night's hour on the treadmill seemed longer than the night before, but I did it - and I burned 100 more calories to boot. And I'm going to do it again tonight. So far, so good on the soda, too. It feels good to commit to something and not talk myself out of it. I'm pretty weak willed most of the time, but I'm also ornery. I'm an exercise in frustration is what I am!

Oh, and since I added the Survivor Tree to my bucket list, I forgot that watching a shuttle launch was also supposed to be on there. I want to do that next year.


045 - The agony and the irony

I love the taste of lobster, but I find myself conflicted over the fact that they're boiled, or sometimes steamed, while they're still alive. I absolutely won't cook them for myself. You can't convince me that a lobster can't feel pain.

I once saw a show that I thought I was really going to like. It was this snarky old English lady who went to people's homes and taught them how to cook -- but if they didn't catch on quickly enough, she bonked them over the head with a cookbook. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?

It was.

Until she broke out the langoustines.

She proceeded to talk about how to cook them, while a voiceover tells me that, "the langoustines have been chilled to make them sleepy." My spidey senses begin to tingle. She picks up a langoustine... and violently rips it in half... head in one hand, tail in the other. It was still alive. She tells the women they can't feel it, but there on the counter is another langoustine, and he knows his number is up, because he's bucking like a little bronco... before she reaches out and rips him in half, too. I felt a tear slide down my cheek and I quickly flipped the channel.

I'm not gonna judge, I just don't know how other people do it. I'm too sympathetic. I always say that if I had to kill the cow myself, I'd be a vegetarian, but as long as it comes in the little packages at the grocery store, I will buy it. So I already know I'm a hypocrite, but at least I feel a little guilty about it. Saturday I felt a little ironic as I sat there, thinking how violent the movie was, as a hook ripped through the flesh of this guy's leg... and I sat there on the sofa, shredding up a rotisserie chicken...

I was watching A Lyon in the Kitchen as I ate dinner, that's where all the lobster talk came from. I like watching him cook, he's so easy going, and the food is so simple, but it looks delicious because it's incredibly fresh (in that way that only television food prepared by a professional chef seems to be). That would be nice, but I don't have the time, the money or the resources to get produce that fresh. I do visit a local market from time to time, but it's rare enough that it feels like a special treat. Mostly I rely on the grocery store down the street, and it's hit or miss. I didn't realize how much I missed really fresh produce until I cut into some fresh green beans a few months ago. The smell reminded me of my grandparents... both sets had their own gardens, and we used to sit around snapping the ends off of the green beans and peeling off the string that runs down the middle (we called them string beans).

So I'm upping the ante this week. One soda a day, and a full hour on the treadmill. This weight is coming off dammit! I did see a little more weight loss with the approach I took last week, but my time is growing short if I want to look good in the pics from Scotland. Only 63 more days... close enough that I can call it two months! Woo-hoo!


044 - Fun with toilet paper

I'm sure my neighbors hate me. Ah well.

Dinner was a success, the Tyler Florence chicken enchilada recipe was really good, and much more authentic than the recipe I was originally going to make. The margaritas were tasty. Sue Beth's sopapilla cheesecake totally rocked. Most of all, the guests were awesome. Nothing like a quick game of Dirty Minds to get everyone acquainated. Although I think pass the plunger probably brought us even closer, lol. That was really fun. More fun to watch really; I seem to have a real talent for PTP so it was over much too quickly... it's much more entertaining to watch people struggle.

The night got even better when Mike sat down at the piano and Cade began to sing. They're both incredibly talented, I can't even put it into words. Seems like Mike can play damn near anything, and Cade has an amazing voice... not only that, but he puts everything he's got into the song. And they're hilarious... I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Didn't realize it, but Dawn can belt out a tune, too! Hell, I even sang a little (in the background).

So today I have to clean up the aftermath. That's the part I hate. Cheese is delicious, but it leaves a huge mess that's not so appealing.

And here I go again... SyFy... House of the Dead 2... not only gory, but rife with zombies - which I already know I can't watch. So far it seems to be okay, and I'm going to be cleaning up as I watch it, so my focus won't be completely on the television. Zombies and demons scare the crap out of me, I usually go out of my way to avoid watching movies if I know either of the two will be a central focus. I know it seems like zombies should be fairly benign... they (usually) move slowly, and don't have any real brain power... but there's something about the idea of a virtually unstoppable eating machine... one of your own kind who has turned against you... the idea of one bite quickly becoming a pandemic, because with zombies it's really a numbers game, one isn't really much of a threat unless it takes you by surprise... but an army of zombies? Baaaaaaaaad news. I dunno, it just really messes with my head. One of my friends has a theory that either zombies or SkyNet are going to take over the world... if it's SkyNet I'll stand and fight with him... if it's zombies... I'll probably just take the cyanide capsule!

See No Evil didn't last long. The guy threw a chain with a hook on the end of it, it got caught in the guy's leg, and he drug him off somewhere... I changed the channel. I didn't want to know what happened next. I think they put the most gruesome deaths at the very beginning of a movie, to get their point across, then the rest of the deaths are fairly quick... until the end, where there's an equally gruesome (but much more dramatic) death scene. That last death scene pretty much makes or breaks the movie... too long and dramatic and it becomes tiresome and unbelievable... too short and people feel gypped. It's a fine line.

I'm tired because I was up until almost 4 am... and I feel like being lazy, but there are things to be done, so I'm gonna get off my butt and go do them. Hope everyone had a great weekend, I'm going to go enjoy what's left of mine!


043 - SyFy

Nothing like the SyFy channel if you want to watch something mindless... rife with bad acting, lame special effects, and flimsy plot lines that are completely beyond the realm of possibility. I don't know why I watch them. And believe me - I really wish I could come up with an answer. Only thing I can think is that I'm testing my endurance like I did with The Haunting in Connecticut. How long can I watch before I chicken out? Usually not long, because the other thing about SyFy movies is that they are usually spectacularly gory, and I don't like gore.

This one, called See No Evil, is already making me edgy because the guy apparently gouges peoples eyes out. I got a taste of the aftermath before the credits rolled, which was bad enough, I just hope they don't show it happening because I don't want to watch that. But I tell myself that it's TV-14... how bad can it get? (I'm so naive)

I don't understand the name change from "SciFi" to "SyFy" except that it goes hand in hand with the dumbing down of our language to a bunch of acronyms that masquerade as conversation. This is what the people behind the magic had to say: "If you ask people their default perceptions of Sci Fi, they list space, aliens and the future,” he added. “That didn’t capture the full landscape of fantasy entertainment: the paranormal, the supernatural, action and adventure, superheroes.”

M'kay. First time I saw it on my channel guide I thought the system got hacked by an idiot, but whatever.

Today is one of those 'take it easy' days where I pamper myself while I wait for the fun to start. I'll take my time getting ready and then I'll crank up the happy tunes while I take care of putting the food together. I enjoy days like today and I know tonight will be a blast whether we actually play pass-the-plunger or not (yeah... a bunch of people running toward each other with plungers between their legs... I have visions of Anton Merriweather... and interesting sihlouettes like the ones from Austin Powers). All in all, it's shaping up to be a great weekend (except that my alleriges seem to be acting up). Hope yours is, too. =)


042 - Food prepper

Phew! The green sauce, chimmicurri, and the salsa for the enchiladas are done. All I have to do tomorrow is a little minor prep, assemble the enchiladas, pop them into the oven, and chill out with a margarita while I wait for my guests to arrive. I'm using a Tyler Florence recipe and it's kinda cool because it uses a rotisserie chicken... I don't have to cook it, it's done. It's kind of unnerving though, because I didn't try it before hand to see if it's any good, and I usually like to know. I'm trying to take a more relaxed approach to life. It's completely against my nature. =)

There is a spectacular thunderstorm going on outside. I love it. It's been going on for hours now, off and on. I love the sound of the thunder as it rumbles and shakes the house. I love the flashes of lightning that streak across the sky. I love the rain. Thunderstorms are awesome.

I'm worried about the dog though. A cute little doggie greeted me earlier this afternoon. It came right up to me, I gave it some attention and it tried to follow me into the house. I always worry about animals, whether they have a home or not. It didn't look emaciated, and it had a bobbed tail, so I'm guessing it does, but it was shaking. I'm a softie. It's how I ended up with my cats.

I am so torn. I just finished Frostbite, the second in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Meade. It's YA, but it's pretty good. So now I am ready for a new book, and I have three books, by three of my favorite authors, and I don't know which to read first.

First there is Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy. She has this amazing ability to introduce several characters that seem completely unrelated, yet by the end of the book, they all come together with some common theme. Her stories are a little sad sometimes though... okay most of the time. Her most famous book is probably, A Circle of Friends, because it eventually became a movie with Minnie Driver and Chris O'Donnell.

Then there's South of Broad by Pat Conroy. He is one of the best storytellers I think I have ever had the pleasure to read. Most of his books incorporate some aspect of his own life, most especially his childhood in South Carolina. He's the reason I want to go there someday and visit. His most famous book is probably, The Prince of Tides which became a movie starring Nick Nolte and Barbara Streisand.

Finally, The Law of Nines, by Terry Goodkind. He wrote The Sword of Truth series, which I absolutely love. It was turned into a television series called The Legend of the Seeker, directed by Samuel Raimi, and I happen to like it a lot. Kahlan kicks ass! This book is a little different, but I'm looking forward to it. I think I am going to read it first, but it really is a tossup.

And, speaking of the Seeker, I found a promo for season 2!


041 - Bucket List

My bucket list, still a WIP (that's writer lingo for 'work in progress,' she said snark-astically):

  • Ride a horse
  • Skiing
  • Ice skating
  • Sleigh ride
  • Grand Canyon or any of the other national parks (American Orient Express?)
  • Go to Maine
  • Take a windjammer cruise
  • Go to New York
  • See Niagra Falls
  • Go to South Carolina
  • Ride a train
  • Go to England
  • Go to Italy
  • Go to Greece
  • Go to Germany
  • Go to New Zealand
  • Go to Australia
  • Go to France
  • Take a helicopter ride
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Go white water rafting
  • Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
  • Get Harley Quinn tattoo
  • Visit dude ranch
  • Pet a wolf
  • Parasailing
  • Canoing
  • Wine tour
  • Take a cruise
  • See the sequoias
  • Play golf
  • Go to Washington DC
  • Daytona
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Olympics


040 - Learning

The house is clean. At least until the dust settles and the cats shed all over the rugs. It's almost embarassing how accomplished I feel once I've cleaned the house. And how much better it makes me feel. Clutter makes me antsy. I sound obsessive, don't I? I promise you, I'm not. I've pared down in the last few years and that's made it easier for me to give the appearance of order. Cleaning the house pays off quickly because it really doesn't take very long. Just don't look in the closets.

Today I was thinking about the upcoming dinner party. It made me think of my friend Christa, who used to throw the best parties. She made it seem effortless. Whether it was really the case or just the appearance she gave, she didn't seem to sweat the small stuff. The atmosphere was relaxed, the food was delicious and everyone had a good time. Most of the time she'd still be cooking when people arrived, or maybe that was because I always arrived a little early. She helped me grow in more ways than she'll probably ever know. I never had the courage to dance in front of other people until Christa coaxed me onto the dance floor; literally and metaphorically.

I love to cook. I love to have friends over. Unlike Christa, it does make me anxious. I think it's because, until recently, I was too focused on 'the rules.' The way I grew up was... mom invited people over... they showed up... we ate. There was a lot of stress involved in the preparation because everything had to be perfect. I'm trying really hard to break the cycle. To relax. Eventually I'd love to invite people over and still be getting things ready when they show up. Maybe even involve them in the process. I think that cooking with other people is fun. Right now though, I try to have it all done before they arrive, because I don't want them to see me freaking out. I'm getting there. I don't feel the same tension I did about the last dinner party. I'm still a work in progress. Until recently I was so afraid to screw up that I never invited people over at all... not for dinner anyway.

As you can tell, I do a lot of introspection... I like to understand why people act the way they do, even myself... maybe especially myself. Sometimes I worry that it makes me sound pathetic because I admit to all my neuroses, but mostly I think that a lot of people have the same questions, the same hangups, the same doubts, and they appreciate when other people admit to them. I always do, it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only one.

Yesterday I fell off the wagon. I had two sodas because I thought the carbonation might make me feel better. Being nauseous, I also didn't hop on the treadmill. I did stick to the food part, and being queasy certainly helped me cut calories. Tonight I'm back on the horse, one soda, stuck with the food, and I'm about to hop on the treadmill and burn some calories. Crisis averted. =)


039 - Sick, sick, sick

My tummy hurts. I got up this morning and there was a tight feeling under my ribcage and I had a slight sense of vertigo. I always feel guilty about taking off work, especially since I've been out more than usual to meet repairmen at the house, so I stuck it out for three hours before I came home. Then I slept. Then I ate. Then I regretted it for a while.

At the moment I feel a little better. It comes and goes. I hope that by tonight it's gone altogether.

I was going to print out the snail mail queries and get going on that, but ultimately realized that I need to revamp my query letter first (pun intended). I've gotten four rejections from this latest batch of queries. Most were form rejections, one was a rather snarky, "Alas,this is not for us. SO sorry." And maybe that was sincere, but as a smartass, I sense one of my own (and I don't appreciate it).

In the meantime I finished incorporating more edits last night, so I printed another proof. I talked to another writer yesterday and she brought up the issue of backstory, so I need to really take a look at that. My first couple of chapters take place in the past, but it's hard to chop them up and sprinkle them throughout the story without making it feel disjointed... and I can't get rid of them altogether because there are things in there that play into this book and the next. I tried not to include extraneous information. I've read articles that claim backstory slows the reader down, I'm not sure it's always wrong to do it though. There are a lot of 'rules' out there, it's hard to know which ones are musts and which are preferences.

It is incredibly difficult to write because there will always be flaws in your story, and the flaws will vary according to the person reading it. You have to choose when to make changes and when to stick to your guns. The goal is to end up with something better, something you feel comfortable with. So I'll save it to a new file and see what happens.

So to summarize: Today, not a great day. It is raining, and that's good. We need it, and I like it... rain makes me happy. But I don't like feeling like crap. And I don't like rejection. Blogs can't always be happy. =)


A moment of whining and then I'm going to take a bubble bath and go to bed...

I've been wallowing for the past couple of hours. I attempted to edit, to incorporate the back story, and it turned into a massacre. I gave up, because every line I read made me cringe, suddenly everything I had written sucked. It was one of those days. I've had them before, and they pass, but they're painful. It's like getting my hair cut... I should lock the scissors up when I get home... and on days like today I should not touch my novel.

The revised query letter that I was so proud of was slashed to pieces in the Absolute Write forum (despite my whining I am thankful to complete strangers for sharing their knowledge and trying to help me better my letter, and they were nice about it). The good news is that I may be closer to having a synopsis written than I thought... I'm just that much further away from a query letter. I am thoroughly disheartened. And overwhelmed by it all. I feel like a complete and utter failure. A spectacular failure. And I feel naive because I felt pretty good about what I was doing. Now I wonder if I've totally shot myself in the foot by sending out query letters when I'm so obviously unprepared.

I know writers are supposed to have thick skins, but I don't. Not all of the time. Definitely not today. My head isn't in the right place for this and I'm overly sensitive because I don't feel well. Everything's so jumbled up that my head feels foggy and I'm mentally restless. Tomorrow will be better... I'll get back on track, I just need to get through today first.


038 - Why I never throw anything away

I take a break from writing... to write... god I'm an addict - somebody call Intervention and give them their most boring show ever.

Wanna hear a secret? I made a baby last night. Yep. On Bebo. She's adorable. Her name is Penelope and she's just a joy to have around... already sleeping through the night... never makes a fuss. In fact, most of the time she just sits there and stares at me with her big, green, anime eyes. She never blinks... or moves for that matter... Penelope's kind of boring, actually. Truth be told, I worry about Penelope's development. She doesn't seem to take an interest in much of anything (not even my best material) and I don't know what's become of her dirty diapers... because I haven't been disposing of them... Hope she's not eating them, but if she is... that might explain why her eyes are so big... Gah, that went downhill fast...

Day two - success. One soda, all food from the book, and in a couple of hours I will get on the treamill. Baby steps.

So... as I was editing, I remembered that I was going to talk about one very important thing I learned during the process of writing this book - never throw anything I've written away. I used to delete, delete, delete, and I can't tell you how many times I ended up regretting it. Just because something doesn't work in one place doesn't mean it's worthless - maybe you can change it up and move it to another location in the story, or it might generate an idea that you can run with, or it might even be useful... in a different story. And sometimes, well, it's just crap. But crap can be useful too - it might make you laugh, or you can look back on it and pat yourself on the back because hey - at least you don't write crap like that anymore. Or now you recognize crap when you see it. So now if I cut a sentence or paragraph from my story, I don't just delete it; I move it to my s-crap file in case I want to recycle it.

It's come in handy quite a few times.

For example, I wrote this a few months before I ever got started on this book, then I changed it up and used it in chapter one. Originally it was an exercise to describe how it felt to lose someone and have to host their funeral, especially when you have mixed emotions about the people involved, including the deceased (thanks to Hallmark channel for the inspiration). I'm always pushing myself to write something that people can feel, as if they're experiencing it for themselves, so that's what I was going for here... visceral.

I'm posting it as I originally wrote it, warts and all. Yes, I realize it's not perfect. I wrote it and walked away from it until I cannibalized pieces of it for Born on a Day When the Sun Didn't Shine. So to clarify, this hasn't been edited and I am aware that it's not my best effort.


The following material is copyrighted by Kristy Hutchison:

Here I stand, the focal point of a line that seems to stretch on for eternity. He had been loved, and he would be missed. That's what they tell me. Each of them puts it a different way, but it all boils down to the same thing.

It's awkward to stand here and talk to people I barely know, to accept their condolences on my loss when all I want to do is curl into a ball and disappear. Why should I be subjected to this public spectacle? It feels more like a social event than a viewing. They aren't here for me, they're here for him... and that bastard, he isn't here for me now either. I feel so angry, and so ashamed at myself for being angry. But I have to put on my thankful face... thank you for coming out, thank you for your kind words, thank you for the broccoli casserole.

How much longer can this possibly go on? I forgot to eat breakfast; I don't want to faint in front of him. I need to sit. Or cut my feet off so they won't throb anymore.

God. Why have I been so reliant on him? I don't even know where we keep our money. Where's the insurance policy? He never told me where the safety deposit box was. Come to think of it, I don't know much about anything really. This is just beginning and I'm already overwhelmed.

"Those flowers are from me... they were his favorite." Does she really think I care about flowers right now? Okay she does... and why shouldn't I? She went to all the effort of reaching into the cooler to grab them. But god, they're putrid, she must have spent a whole five bucks on them – if she spent more she got ripped off. They're beautiful, thank you.

I think I see the end of the line. Finally. This is almost over. "We'll drop by later to bring the side dishes." Who is she? "And don't worry dear, we'll stay to help clean up - you shouldn't have to worry about that at a time like this." She's right. I shouldn't have to worry about entertaining at a time like this. I haven't even cleaned the house since it happened. I'll be mortified if anyone wanders into the guest room.

If only he had family. If only he hadn't alienated mine. Might be easier if I didn't have to shoulder the burden of his memory for all of these people. They're starting to cluster now, tell stories about him. Some people are crying, but there are pockets of laughter, too. It doesn't seem right, the laughter. I bet they're telling the chicken story again. They always tell the chicken story. When my time comes I hope I've contributed more to the world than a bad chicken story that isn't even funny unless you were there.

"I always liked him in that suit." Thank you, I bought it two days ago, you have an excellent memory. "He looks so natural, they did a good job." Well yes... except for the orange tint to his skin and... is that mascara? "If you need anything don't hesitate to call us." I don't think you mean that... because I don't actually have your number.

"I'm sorry for your loss." Oh God. I can't believe she's here. She's got a lot of nerve to walk up and try to give me a hug. After fifteen years of marriage I knew something was up, but I hadn't thought it'd be her. If he was going to cheat on me I'd hoped it would be out of vanity, some pretty young thing I couldn't possibly compete against with my saggy ass and age spots. Some silly twit with nothing going on upstairs who couldn't hold his attention so he'd get bored and come home, chastened. But there's nothing remotely attractive about the old bag in front of me except for her Cadillac. I've never seen her this close up before. Gads, she looks like she's wearing a wig and I think she took a bath in Chanel No. 5. There's nothing more embarrassing than being left for an ugly woman... except, I suppose, being left for a man.

I was actually planning to leave him before they found the brain tumor, but by then I was stuck. I hate myself for admitting this, but I mostly stayed because it would look callous if I walked away. People would judge me because I abandoned him. They never liked me so the fact that he was stepping out on me wouldn't matter to them. In fact it would probably end up being my fault, in the final analysis it would be me who drove him to it. They're judging me even now. I can hear their whispers, they think I'm a snob. "Unfriendly" is the word they used. I guess next time I'll try to smile and tell knock-knock jokes so they'll like me.

I don't know what I'm going to do now that he's gone. I'm scared. I've never been alone before. Now I have to fumble my way through life like a newborn. I'm not equipped for this.


037 - Pay attention

The agent giveth me hope... and the agent taketh it away. This morning I was elated to see that another agent wanted me to send a sample chapter, but I felt the impending hand of doom when she also stated that she wasn't sure if my book was right for her. She said she'd read it right away and get back to me. True to her word, within two hours my once-high-hopes were dashed. I would be crushed, but I have a lot of irons in the fire, and it's a very subjective business.

Not going to linger on it. In fact, I'm going to continue to make edits tonight, and hopefully print a hard copy so that I can read the whole thing through next week, one with all the changes incorporated into it. Yesterday I sent out 35 more queries, and received no rejection from the agency who requested the full. No news is good news... unless they tell you that no news is bad news. *pulls hair in frustration* There are about fifteen more agencies I will approach once I print the query letters out (snail mail only), and another twenty that I can contact once I write a synopsis... I'm really hung up on the synopsis but there's an agent that I really like on that list, so I need to do it for her... lol

I finally joined a writer's group (of sorts), a site called Absolute Write that I've been using to get agent information in cases where the agency doesn't appear to have a website. So far people have been friendly and I've run across a couple of interesting author websites. It's intimidating to read other people's work, because I have a tendency to make comparisons to my own writing. My writing tends to be pretty simple, no epic battles or complex worlds, mine's more relationship-based and internal. Thank god there's a market for that, and hopefully there's room in it for me!.

..I don't know how many times I have to find myself in the middle of making dinner only to find that I'm missing a key ingredient before I start to pay attention to the frickin' recipe. I got Monterey Jack instead of Mozzarella... no big deal... but I totally overlooked the riccota. I don't know if this is going to work out or not, but there's an interesting substitute (no amounts specified so I winged it) of cream cheese, egg and parmesan. Dinner's in the oven now... we shall see. Casseroles tend to be pretty forgiving.

This week I've decided to test my willpower, and yeah--go ahead and laugh at how pathetic I am... I intended to cut back from three sodas a day, to one. I ended up cutting back from three to... two. Yes, it's still progress, but I didn't meet my goal. So this week I'm going to adhere to it, and I'm going to cook meals from Cook Yourself Thin, and I'm going to hop on the treadmill every day and burn at least 250 calories. If I don't see a difference this week, no matter where you live, you will hear my scream. I figure it's six days. If I can't last for six days then what does that say about me?

And you'll be happy to know that I survived the night, in fact, 30 minutes after finishing the movie I was in bed asleep. I am a badass! lol


036 - Good Idea, Bad Idea

I used to watch Animaniacs and they had a segment called "Good Idea / Bad Idea." It was always pretty entertaining. One day I came up with my own suggestion:

Good idea: In order to relax yourself as you're giving a speech, imagine your audience in their underwear.

Bad idea: In order to relax yourself as you're giving a speech, imagine yourself in your underwear.

Well here's another bad idea - knowing you're a chickenshit, and attempting to watch The Haunting in Connecticut... alone... in the dark... because your cousin, who actually likes horror movies, said she's now afraid of monsters under the bed and had to sleep with the light on after she watched it (I'm paraphrasing), all because you've been watching Paranormal State with no problem and want to prove that you're a badass and can't be shaken when it comes to the ghosties. So here I am, writing this blog as I watch so that I don't flee the couch and go hide under the covers...

I'm going to share something morbid with you... my grandmother used to take pictures of people in their coffins. I never understood it. My mom eventually forbade it as being, not only embarassing, but taboo (was gonna say 'mortifying' but realized it was a poor choice of words). People have pretty strong feelings about that kind of photography. But... I think I get it. At least I get where it comes from. It was tradition, though not one I suspect my grandmother was involved in since we aren't British and she wasn't alive during the Victorian era.

My first introduction to this practice was during a screening of The Others. I think they called it a Book of the Dead... pictures of corpses dressed up and posed like they were sleeping. The Haunting in Connecticut started the credits rolling with more pictures of the dead lying in state... not in a book, but in framed photographs. According to my brief foray onto the web, the practice was called memento mori. You can read about it here if you wish to.

I guess in my own way, I inherited that same morbid gene. I like old graveyards. I like them because they're peaceful, and the gravestones are usually pretty artistic. My favorite graveyard is in Metarie, Louisiana. There you can find all kinds of fascinating structures because they have to bury their dead above ground. I would like to go back again now that I have a digital camera and take better photos. I have a healthy respect for the dead, I try not to bother them, I hope they won't bother me. Guess I'll test that theory when I go to the Greyfriar's Cemetery in Scotland and face the MacKenzie poltergeist.

Crap, I'm out of things to talk about, and I'm only halfway through the movie... I guess it's alright, it looks like the ghost wants help of some kind, so maybe there will be a happy ending?

I'm so gullible.

So... um... The Others... One of my favorite movies. Very well done, suspenseful and poignant. Love the atmosphere that was created, and the twist at the end. Music was great, too... Very Alfred Hitchcock. (I get the 'monster under the bed' comment now... I'd like to say that I'm smart enough not to reach under there, but I would also like to say that when I hear unexpected noises, I don't investigate them)

I think if I lived in this house, I'd move already...

Oh - and Badoo was a Ba-Don't (ba-dum-dum). After 23 instances of the same conversation (he says, "hello," I say "hello" and then I wait for intelligent conversation to ensue... and I wait... and I wait... and it's like that scene in The Sweetest Thing where Christina Applegate is flirting with a guy and all they say to each other is "What's up?"...[insert smile]..."What's up with you?"...[insert coquettish look]..."What's up with you?"...[twirl hair]...); I simply gave up. The true epiphany came after I accidentally clicked on someone's profile and suddenly noticed that everyone had a tag line. One of the taglines was "wants to practice kissing on a girl," and that was actually one of the better ones.

In hindsight I probably should have kept my profile up because it was sure to give me something to write about if I ever get stuck for ideas...

035 - Big pimpin'

Last night I had a dream that I put myself in cryostasis until I could find the right guy. It was up to my friends and family to screen my potential boyfriends so that I wouldn't waste all my vital years while I waited for Mr. Right to come along and sweep me off my feet. Then, even in my dream I started finding the flaws in the plan... if I slept through twenty years, I'd have nothing to talk about, nothing in common with these romeos. Would I have to wake up and be refrozen each time it didn't work out? Why not just have an arranged marriage? See? Even though my dreams are in color, there are always shades of grey.

I did a search on search engine optimization, to try and figure out how to get my website out there. Six hundred hits ain't bad, but I'm primarily swimming in the same pool and I want more exposure (careful what you ask for Kristy). I found all kinds of social networking sites, and that's apparently key to getting my name to come up on a Google search... as is linking... So I'm now a member of Badoo, Digg, Bebo, del.icio.us, and Live Journal. I'm juggling here... Truth be told I'll probably never log into these accounts after I slap my URL on them and it feels a little dirty. Heh Heh... I like it!

So now I can segue into my experiences on Badoo... I chose to sign up on Badoo because the Wiki I read claims there are 37 million members and it's popular across Europe. I thought to myself - 'I too would like to be popular in Europe! Sign me up!' Well, I am stunned. Ten minutes after registering on Badoo and I'm talking to thirteen guys (I keep updating the number). I never get this much action! It's a little awkward though, because I can't chitchat with people I don't know unless they bring me something to work with. Whether there's attraction there or not, I'm willing to chat. No harm in it, although there is certainly an air of menace that puts my shields on high... I hear my mother's voice telling me that everyone I meet on the internet is a maniac who wants to stuff me in a van and do horrible things to me... and the guy who 'wants to talk to girls about sex' just might be... he just might be...

So I'm sitting here talking to guys in Arizona, Illinois, Florida, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, and Italy... and 90% of the first contacts say, 'Hi.' So I say, 'Hi.' Or they say 'Hola' and I say 'Hi' because it's important to establish that I can't converse en espanol. I know I'm being nitpicky, but if you're going to initiate the contact, please bring something to the table... look at my profile and comment on something so that I have somewhere to go! Or say something zany and I'll play along. 'Hi' doesn't help me... True to the stereotype (and in this case it's a good one), the Italian man was very flattering, he seemed to want nothing more than to say, 'hello, you're pretty.'

This is going to be a train wreck, I can tell.


034 - Dress up

My samples from Pink Quartz Minerals showed up in the mail today... so pretty... four tiny little plastic vials of shimmery red eyeshadows and one small baggie of a gorgeous shimmery gold. Makeup is my latest addiction, I'm actually ashamed at how many eyeshadows I own, and I just bought more today... (samples from sellers on Etsy! cheap and fun and it keeps me out of trouble because the alternative is Ulta or Sephora or CVS...) So I went online to get inspiration from Makeup Geek, because she tends to do looks that have more impact than my other two faves, Lauren Luke and Kandee Johnson, and I'm still trying to put together a look for Samhein (Halloween). I don't know why, but I have gotten sucked in to these tutorials. My inner Barbie has only recently come out, but now that she's out, she's out with a vengeance.

Incidentally, and I probably shouldn't admit this because I know all books start with disclaimers that any resemblance to real people is purely circumstantial, but I loosely based my character Lauren on the Lauren who does the makeup tutorials. I guess it's not surprising... I observe people every day and over time the character traits find their way into my writing. She just has this every-girl personality that you can't help but like, she seems so genuine and... likeable. I don't know her, never met her, haven't spoken to or corresponded with her, so the character is only a representation... my interpretation... and I'm sure when all is said in done it really does bear no reselmblance to the real person... it's based on her vivaciousness and openness and how comfortable she seems to be in her own skin. I was happy when one of my friends said they loved her in the book. So. Not actually Lauren, but yes, based on Lauren. And the fact that she's also named Lauren? I actually had a character named Lauren in my screenplay, so I wanted to give her a second chance.

This morning one of my friends returned my manuscript with her suggested edits (and no, I haven't gone psycho - I'm still marvelling at the cool binder it's in). Throughout this process it has been so interesting to see what other people think as they read my story, what they key into. Almost everyone brings something different to the table. I love to read the comments... "No!" or "Gag" or "I love this!" or "You switched metric systems." My mom thought the scene in the hardware store went on a little too long, just prior to that, one of my friends told me he loved the scene in the hardware store. You can't please everyone I guess, but I like that I'm not getting too many people pointing out the same issues. Most of what I see is positive feedback, and questions that make me rethink how I worded something.

Tonight I spoke to one of the friends who is coming to Scotland with me, and he asked me if I would help out with a press release for a charity event that his Harley chapter is putting together. Awesome! I love this guy (and the cherry on top is that his wife is incredible, too). Our friendship was forged in a non-traditional manner, one not likely to have lasted for this long: I met him over the telephone at my last job... over ten years ago... egads! I worked as a buyer supporting the western region of a major telecommunications company, and he was one of the project managers I frequently worked with. We developed a rapport and over time became friends... he's a hell of a guy. As luck would have it, I had a relative living in the same general vicinity, so I got to meet up with he and his wife a couple of times, and we now have this great, almost famial relationship. I guess my point is, you never know who is going to come into your life, or where they'll pop up, but sometimes you get lucky. I feel lucky anyway. Most of the time (gotta keep him grounded).

Spent my lunch hour looking up more agents. I added about 25 to my list, and unless the whole winery thing works out for tomorrow... which is not looking promising... I'll spend a good portion of my day sending out more queries and working on the book (my friend had some valid suggestions so I want to go back tomorrow and implement some of them). My enthusiasm is back now that I've gotten a positive response from an agent, and I know better than to put all of my eggs in that one basket; it's not a yes yet (but it's not a no... it's like purgatory...).

So that was my day. Oh - that, and the bathrooms were out of order for over half the day, so I had to walk half way to Albequerque to pee. Fun! Sometimes I think other people must have way more exciting lives than I do... Oh, and I take far too much joy in puns... a friend of mine is an electrician and he was getting worked up over something so I got to tell him not to blow a fuse... I slay me.

Now I'm going to get off the computer, lie back on the sofa, and watch A Haunting... and possibly freak myself out so that I will have problems falling asleep... even though I'm completely wiped out... I don't know why I do this to myself, but the paranormal fascinates me. If they had a paranormal channel I'd be watching that puppy all day long... as long as the shows were worth watching... and okay, honestly most of them are crap... Paranormal State, on the other hand... that's one of my faves...

...and before I start to ramble again... I'm getting off this crazy thing!


033 - I got a nibble!

First - a couple of random thoughts:

1. The frozen dinner I had for lunch puported to contain chicken and stuffing with mashed potatoes. What I found inside the box were two strips of chicken sitting atop a pile of soggy croutons smothered in gravy. Ah those crazy marketers... you're a wily bunch who rule the world with your versions of the truth... lol

2. This morning as I drove into work, a security guard - who I've never seen before - said, "welcome back!"... How did he know I was out yesterday?...

On to the nibbling...

Yesterday I sent out several more query letters. It was a matter of getting off my duff, delving deeper into the database and taking more chances (primarily broadening the search parameters from 'paranormal romance' to 'women's fiction' and 'commercial fiction')....and it might just pay off! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

This afternoon I checked my email and the dread filled me... a response... if I opened it would it tell me that they appreciated my submission but it was a pass... or... *click* ... would they?... *gasp* ... did they just?... OMG, they did! They just requested the full manuscript! Someone wants to read my story! Someone that I don't know!!! Someone who knows publishers!

For those of you who write, you know how monumental this feels... It's not a rejection. It's not a yes, but it's closer to a yes than I was yesterday... and they requested a full, not a partial. It's step 0.5 in the process of getting published, but it's a step that I've certainly never taken before. It's exhilerating and terrifying, because now it's real, now I have a shot - and I'm a perfectionist, so I don't know if I'm ready. After the immediate thrill, there was horror: Did I sell myself short? Is it the best it can be? Did I edit it as much as it needs to be edited? Should I have waited for all of my proofers to finish it first? Did I jump the gun? The only solution I could come up with was to trust that I have put a lot of effort into it, and hope that they like it despite its flaws.

I'm open to criticism. I know a lot of people say that and don't necessarily mean it, but I am. I'm proud of what I've written, but I recognize that there's always room for improvement, and I am definitely willing to listen to the professionals. As I've gotten copies back from my proofers, my thought process has been to:

-- Immediately recognize the critque as valid and make the change (spelling, grammar, things out of sequence, comments that strike a chord)

-- Take the critque into consideration and decide whether I agree with it or not, and if not, I wait to see if more than one person brings up the same issue (grey area)

-- Completely ignore it as irrelevant (something I intentionally wrote to be ambiguous, something that will play into the second book)

Typically I toggle between the first two. I don't get upset with the person for being honest, because I'm asking them for honesty (I do request that they be nice about it though). I don't take it personally, even though it's sometimes difficult, because it is all a matter of opinion and there's no point in getting upset about it. I'll tell you something - being a proofreader takes guts, and I am humbled that my friends agreed to do it, that they trust me not to become irrational!

I know just about diddly about agents (with regard to who the best one is). I read their profiles and usually try to find a sentence that jumps out at me... loves a good vampire story... enjoys finding new talent... really likes a hero with a sense of humor... something that resonates with me. I sort of judge them the way they judge me, to see if I think we're a good fit. I honestly don't know who I'll end up with, only that I will know when it feels right, and that will be the perfect agent... for me.

To put a perfect cap on the day - it looks like it might rain! We need rain... but... yesterday it looked like it was going to rain, too... and it did a lot of grumbling, but not much raining... Right now the sky is a very, very dark grey... Eh, I have pizza coming (the world's best pizza)... and if it rains, I'll feel bad that the poor delivery guy had to get out in it to deliver my food... so it's definitely going to rain... because I feel too good right now and I need to be taken down a peg (kidding... I don't really, I'm humble I swear!).

Oh yeah... I hear the sweet, sweet sound of heavy drops hitting the concrete (and just in time for the pizza guy, as I predicted)...


032 - Just because you're plastic doesn't mean you look like Barbie

Ran across an interesting article on how NYC is dealing with its increasing homeless population. Sounds like a decent idea to me, but I do see where the critics are coming from when they say that it doesn't address the underlying issues. It's like a bandaid. It's easy to suggest that families should pitch in and help their own, but that's too simple because it doesn't take into account that some of these people might not have families, they may have drug problems, they may have mental issues, their families might not have the means to help, etc. But to the critics, I ask - is it really up to the city of NY to address the underlying causes? Whose responsibility is it?

It's hard for me to say because I have always been torn when it comes to the issue of helping people (one of the things that intrigued me about Atlas Shrugged). The majority of my makeup is inclined to want to help people who have fallen on hard times, but there's a part of me that bristles at the expectation of it. And the pessimist in me chimes in that some of those people don't actually want help, they just want a free ride in life and they play on people's sympathies. It's hard to know who deserves help and who's just taking advantage, who can be helped and who's hopeless. The problem is too complex.

So on to lighter fare...

I watch tv when I work out on the treadmill (I bought my own because it was $15 less than a year's membership to the gym). Most of the time I watch fluff, because I can't always hear everything, and I'm only half paying attention... it's not the time to watch something I'm truly interested in. That being said... last night I watched Addicted to Beauty. Just what the world needs, another plastic surgery show. A particularly scary one I might add... they make it seem as if you need plastic surgery to look beautiful, when in fact, three of the women on there look downright malformed. Have I mentioned my extreme distaste for lip plumping?

During the course of the show, the owner of the place called everyone into her office to discuss their appearance, and she actually suggested that one of the girls should fix her teeth, told her that she would have had her teeth fixed before she got the breast augmentation if it had been her. She needs to look in the damn mirror before she starts making suggestions. She's a couple of surgeries away from looking like that cat woman. If all that didn't turn my stomach, there's this game on the website to show you exactly how imperfect they think you are.

This article pretty much summarizes my own opinions of the show, except that the reporter thinks the 'game' is cool... Let's call a spade a spade... it's not a game, it's a marketing tool designed to play on your insecurities. If I learned anything from last night's show, it's that they are there to sell you something whether you need it or not (big part of the show was centered around a sales contest).

So after my workout I felt like crap - not about my appearance - I was really queasy, and it stuck with me all night. It was touch and go a couple of times, and I'm not sure I wouldn't have felt better if I had puked... I feel better but I don't want to upset the apple cart by trying to do too much. I'm at home now, watching Ex-Treme Dating... there's not much on and I don't feel like doing anything more than sitting on my butt, so it might be time for a Gilmore Girls marathon (god how I miss that show).

Ah well, this too shall pass. ;)


031 - The Coupon Fairy

I like to clip coupons. I don't necessarily always remember to use them, but it's cathartic for me to sit down with a stack of coupons and cut them out. I think maybe it's like a grownup version of what I used to do as a kid... and kinda like doing dishes (yes, I actually enjoy washing dishes) it keeps my mind occupied and relaxes me. Yes I do know that makes me weird... I won't fight you on that.

I used to only clip the coupons I planned to use, and the rest went into the trash. This week I decided to clip them all and bring the extras to work, someone may as well make use of them. I guess I've been brainwashed about recycling, or maybe it's the economy, but I was feeling nice (it happens to even the worst of us). So I put the coupons into a coffee cup in the break room, but didn't really tell many people about it, just 2 or 3. Lo and behold, this morning there were more coupons on my desk... the Coupon Fairy came... none of the the people who knew what I was doing claim to have put the insert on my desk so I don't know where it came from. Kinda cool. I'm um... gonna start the same thing but with money, so feel free to drop off any unwanted currency, Currency Fairy!

I'm currently reading You Have To Kiss A Lot of Frogs - if I thought I had some dating disasters, the main character in this novel puts me to shame. Each chapter is basically about a different relationship (and I use the term 'relationship' loosely), why it didn't work out, what she was thinking as it was happening... It's good to know that I'm not the only one who's had some of these experiences, that someone else has made the same mistakes as I have. I don't have an extensive history because I pretty much know early on whether I'm interested or not, and I don't waste anyone's time if I'm not. I'm also just not the girl that guys randomly approach in the freezer section of the grocery store, or if they do, I clearly don't know the signals to send to get me from 'hi' to 'yes, I'd love to go out with you sometime.' No one believes this, because I put on 'the Kristy show' when I'm feeling anxious, but I'm extremely shy. When it comes to putting myself out there, it has to come from the other person first.

I was once told by a friend that I don't want to date, I want an instant relationship. I couldn't argue the point because I hate all of the awkwardness in the beginning and I don't know how to muddle through it. I really don't like to date, or at least what I perceive dating to be. I don't like the games or the uncertainty. And I'm not innately curious, so I don't have questions at the ready, I have to take the conversation as it comes and rely heavily on the other person to help me out. It means that I can't talk to just anyone, I need the other person to have some snap, to say the thing that leads to the next thing so that the conversation feels (oh how I hate this term) organic. I like conversations that are like a ping-pong match... you... me... you... me... you... I don't like boorish people who always bring the conversation back around to themselves. I don't like talking to people who can't respect my opinion, whether they agree with it or not. I also don't like talking to people who always agree with me, because that's no fun either. People who interrupt me, or can't focus for two seconds really annoy me -the ones who, in the middle of your sentence, call out to someone and then apologize for it just before they do it again; the people who are always looking for the next best thing. I'm a complicated beast, but I'm so, so simple.

Ah well, time to hit the treadmill. It's kind of a sad goal, but I'm going to try to run at 5 mph for 5 minutes straight on a 2% incline (and then alternate running and walking atfor the rest of the 30 mins). Baby steps. I'm not actually tired after 2 minutes, I'm not even breathing heavy, I'm just starting to think that I don't like to run... Dangit, I'm a total social handicap - I don't like coffee, tea, or beer, and now this...


030 - Life without internet

Life without an internet connection pretty much sucks... I never realize how reliant I am upon technology until I have to go without... I was trying to buy international currency for my upcoming trip to Scotland, but I didn't have the phone number... because that's on the internet. I wanted to call Comcast to find out why I didn't have an internet connection, but that phone number? Also on the internet. I found an old bill (because I'm nothing if not resourceful... and yes, I'm kidding about that being a resourceful thing to do), which had the number on it. I called, only to find out that there was indeed an outage in my area, and technicians had been dispatched... they were already aware of the issue thankyouverymuch. I need an outgoing message like that at work... something that gets to the point and tells people to leave me alone, but said in such a way as to imply that I'm being helpful by not taking their call...

So today I want to talk about 'the ick.''

The ick' is a feeling that you get in your gut when someone is creepy - and you can't necessarily put into words why you feel this way - but you immediately want to run the other way (thanks to my cousin, Jamie, for letting me in on the terminology). Today I met someone who gave me 'the ick.' It had a lot to do with the way they presented themselves; this person bordered on grotesque. That said, sometimes even very good looking people also give me 'the ick,' it all depends on the situation. And there's more to life than being really, really, incredibly good looking (thank god, or I'd be screwed).

It's odd really, how a person could look so completely different if they only made minor changes in their appearance. Have you ever watched one of those geeks-get-the-girl reality shows? Neither have I. But for the sake of argument let's say you got really bored one night and decided to watch just one episode... Me too! Okay, so you understand where I'm coming from. Something as simple as a hairstyle can make a major improvement in the way someone looks, or clothes that fit (my albatross), or the right makeup. Hair though, that's pretty paramount. It's the difference between Kristen Stewart in The Cake Eaters or The Runaways, and Kristen Stewart at the MTV Movie Awards (yes I watched it... I'm a Twilight addict and they were premiering the new trailer - what's it to you?). And Joan Jett rocked that hair by the way... it's just not for everyone...

I'm going to share something pretty mind blowing with you. This is Kandee Johnson, one of the links on my new random stuff page. Sure, she's attractive without makeup (and I applaud her for going in front of the camera with no makeup on), but after she's done, she's an absolute bombshell. It's almost unfair that women get to play around with makeup, because guys (typically) don't, and that means guys are judged on their natural appearance (gasp!)... they have to actually be good looking... we can fudge it until you wake up next to us one morning and wonder who the hell that hag in your bed is... and what did she do with the hot chick?

Last but not least, since I had a raging hangover this weekend, I used the time to consolidate some of my pages in an effort to de-clutter the website a little. The Scotland page now includes the pics and video that used to be on a separate page, I updated the Ireland page, I deleted the sketches and put them with my research, I consolidated my sample chapters and poems, and I added the aforementioned random stuff page which is chock full of things that are really cool; I also added two more recipes. Like I said on my home page, I will try to continually update things to keep it interesting for those poor souls who stumble across my website while they're looking for something else. =)


029 - Urine trouble

Last night as I lay in bed I watched Taboo on the National Geographic Channel. I really wish I hadn't, but it sounded innocent enough, it was entitled "Healers," and was going to focus on alternative healing practices... Then came the urine part... One of the guys they profiled claims that since things come full circle, you should drink your own urine to derive the health benefits of something that came from your own body. He drinks a glass of fresh urine every morning and claims it's beneficial in fighting everything from cancer to the common cold. Even more amazing, he has people coming to him to learn the practice. Even though they seem to be as repulsed by it as I am, he bangs on the drums, it relaxes them, and they do it. Pretty magical drums.

I'm thinking they can't be that smart to begin with, because... what's to learn?

Step 1 - pee in a cup

Step 2 - drink it...

Step 3 - barf into toilet

Step 4 - flush

...or just take the shortcut and pee directly into the toilet and flush. My stomach began to churn as I watched him put a glass of yellow liquid to his lips. The only reason I didn't barf is that I convinced myself that it was beer.

This is an interesting article on the subject. I'm not convinced, so don't expect to find me walking around in the mornings with a cup of it in my hands, it feels icky enough when I have to carry the cup with my own urine sample in it at the doctor's office. I can't imagine starting my day that way (or any part of my day for that matter). From a practical standpoint I wonder about bacteria, because when you're giving a urine sample they tell you: "To perform this test, first urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl to clear the urethra of any contaminants. Then, collect a sample of urine in a clean or sterile container. About 1 - 2 ounces of urine is needed for a test. Remove the container from the urine stream without stopping the flow. You may finish urinating into the toilet bowl. Take the sample to the lab."

I suppose in some respects, this is ancient medicine. They claim that people in India and China, as well as native American indians, did it and some still do it, but back in the day they also did several other things that weren't terribly smart. And they thought the Earth was flat.

In Jean Auel's Earth's Children series, Ayla used urine to bleach leather... that I can understand, it's still kinda gross, but it was also kind of smart especially since there was no scientific basis for it at the time. And astronauts do essentially drink their own urine - but it's been filtered and treated and turned back into water... it's not fresh from the tap, so to speak. I might still have issues putting that cup to my mouth, but it's definitely not the same as what they were showcasing last night. I know that your own urine is sterile; I know that because when I got my navel pierced I was given a generic sheet that included cleaning instructions for genital piercings (something else I don't understand, but is somehow less startling to me than this drinking thing). That said, there are lots of sterile things you don't want to ingest, like isopropyl alcohol.

I guess whatever works... I don't think it's illegal (although it might be), it's just disgusting. Personally, I have no wish to get to know my bodily wastes any better than I have to; if it were up to me I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom at all (and neither would my cats). I would have to be in dire straights to drink urine... pretty dire indeed.

And since I always get those random thoughts going through my head, I'll share the two that popped in as I watched the guy down a cup: What does his breath smell like? Would anyone kiss him knowing what he just put into his mouth?