September 30, 2009

SUCH a muffin.


My one-year-old niece, Cadence. I just saw her this weekend for the first time since she turned 1 (about two months ago), and she's walking! It's amazing to watch her changing from a baby to a little girl. :)

I dare you to tell me she isn't adorable.

DARE YOU.


September 29, 2009

"In a hoodie? Really?"


I love Monica -- I mean, Courteney Cox.

My loyalty to Friends means I'm honor-bound to check out anything its alums attempt to do. (With the possible exception of Matt LeBlanc. Yikes.)

With that in mind, I just checked out Cougartown on Ye Olde DVR. It was...pretty good, actually. Trying WAY too hard to be edgy. Over-acted. Dialogue was a little forced. But: I see promise.

And, it's better than 90 percent of the new stuff I'm seeing on TV these days. (Not including Glee, of course. HEART.)

So yay, Monica. :)

September 26, 2009

Pupdate: Where is she?


"Where is she?" This phrase is very important in our house.

For our two boxers, Bubba and Murray, it means Mommy is somewhere in the house, and it's their sworn duty to find her before...um...something bad happens? I'm sucked into an alternate universe? Attacked by marauding gypsies?

Who knows what goes on in their tiny (albeit loving and loyal) minds?

When I get home from work, my husband T. hides the dogs in our bedroom while I hide. Then he gets them all in a froth by asking them, "Where is she? Where is she?" This whips them (particularly Murray, who is a total mama's boy) into a FRENZY of jumping and freaking out, because somehow they know this means, "Mommy's home, and it's our sworn duty to find her IMMEDIATELY."

Once I'm hidden, T. releases the hounds, as it were, and there is much galloping, even more whining and audible groans of frustration (again: Murray) as they attempt to find me.

This may be a good time to mention that our dogs are not the smartest. I mean, listen: They're cute. They're ADORABLE. And I love them. I would probably take a bullet for either one of them, and I'm not even exaggerating. They're family. But they aren't going to be herding sheep or competing in agility courses anytime soon, if you know what I mean.

(This is probably also a good time to mention that both dogs are...um...how shall I say this as to not hurt their sensitive canine sensibilities...chunky. OK, they're both fat. I readily admit that this is our fault, not theirs. We share our food with them from time to time, and we don't take them out to really run around as much as we should. We're trying to remedy the latter, but, as it turns out, dogs are much like people -- if they're used to sitting around, sleeping and being lazy, it's really, REALLY hard to convince them that running around outside after a ball is a good idea. You don't see a lot of people on The Biggest Loser who are fresh off an NBA career. I'm just saying.)

Anyway: Our dogs = not so smart. At least not when it comes down to figuring out where their mommy has hidden in their relatively small living environment. I mean, #1, there are only so many places you can hide a person-sized object in our house. And #2, THEY'RE DOGS. Aren't they supposed to have a fantastic sense of smell? I am the person they smell the second-most often!

So I spend a lot of time waiting behind doors, in closets and under sheets and blankets, listening to them gallop and whine and get progressively more frenzied trying (and failing) to find me. I won't pretend this isn't hilarious; there's a reason this is our favorite pastime. But seriously: Once I was just STANDING IN A CORNER facing away from them. Just standing there. Not covered by anything. And they still couldn't find me until T. practically took their faces and pointed them toward my back.

But when they finally do find me...I'll be honest. It's simultaenously hysterically funny, endearing...and mortally terrifying.

This is primarily because Murray weighs upward of 120 pounds. And he isn't shy about throwing those 120 pounds around with wild abandon if it means he can get closer to my face, the better to shower me with smooches while knocking my lights out. The dog has a giant head, is what I'm saying. And he knows how to use it to knock anything aside (furniture, body parts, etc.) he sees as a roadblock to my face. Sometimes he just head-butts me into submission to make it easier to climb onto my lap (remember: 120 pounds), pin me down and smooch me with abandon.

Bottom line: The dogs are chunks and not so bright. But man, do they love us. :)

I can't help it

Yesterday, a song came on the radio while I was driving and -- I admit it -- I started jamming along with it before I registered what I was actually listening to.

Complete with head-bopping, shoulder shimmying (as much as is safely possible while driving) and even some of the white man's overbite. (You know what that is. Come on. Yes, you do. Even these guys do.)

The song in question includes a lot of "ha-haaa, ha-haaa" and "uh, uh" vocal stylings. It was super cool in 1998. It inspired a dance move for about...five minutes. :)

Give up?

See for yourself.

Don't judge. I saw your head bopping around when you thought no one was looking.

September 23, 2009

Writing update

(So I'm thinking of posting writing updates every Monday, and I actually wrote this one on Monday, but I'm still figuring out this posting thing. So this one's a little late. Gimme a break, OK?)

I've finished my fourth story! Just one more to go. Woohoo!

However.

I've heard some preliminary feedback that the stories are too long for the age range I was initially considering (agest 3-5) and probably even too cumbersome for K-2.

So now I'm left wondering how to proceed. I have four stories that I'm really happy with, but they may not be marketable. Do I change my approach entirely, go back to square one and rewrite the stories to more closely "match" an age range? Do I just keep going, do what I want and to hell with the publishers?

Right now I'm leaning toward a compromise. I like the stories the way they are, and since the first phase of this project is to just WRITE the stories for myself and my family, I'm going to keep them as-is. But, as an experiment, I'm going to try creating a 3-5ish version of one of the stories I've written so far. Just to see how it turns out.

Maybe I can create several different lines of the stories, for all different age ranges. :) And after that, I'll take over the WORLD!

OK, 'til next week...

September 17, 2009

Soapbox Theatre: Episode 1

I'll try not to make a habit of this (because, truthfully, I hate politics and only know enough to be dangerous, anyway), but every once in awhile I hear about something that annoys me enough to talk about it. When I do, I've decided to call it:



My political views (such as they are; I'm not what anyone would call overly involved in anything more political than American Idol) generally tend to skew toward the conservative (albeit moderately conservative).

Growing up, this was because my parents' views skewed that way. My father was and still is a pretty staunch Republican; my entire family is devoutly religious. I emulated and mimicked what I knew.

In college, they were all over the place. I think this is pretty normal, right? You're in college, away from your family and everything you've grown up with, away from all the same ideologies you've always heard and believed to be true. It's your first taste of independence. Of course you're going to be all over the map, and most of the time the mantra is, "Eh. Whatever."

As a voting, working, tax-paying adult, my views tend to depend on how individual situations affect me directly. And most of the time, in my view, more government usually does not equal better.

We have a governing body for a reason: To keep society as a whole in some semblence of order, to establish laws that give us bodily protection, to give us guidelines. But when the governing body starts to tell us what we can and cannot say, especially to elected officials, I think they're overstepping the bounds of the authority we've given them.

A lot of people are saying a LOT of things about health care right now. I won't even pretend to be well-read enough to have an educated opinion about this -- my parents and my husband know far more about it than I do. But I do know this: I want to know that I'm allowed to say what I think about it, no matter who likes or doesn't like what I have to say.

South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson called President Obama a liar after he said he wouldn't extend healthcare to illegal immigrants. Now the House has released a primer that says its members are no longer allowed to call the President a liar, a hypocrite or cowardly (the latter for vetoing a bill).

Calling the President or any other House official a nitwit is apparently still cool, though, for some inexplicable reason (yes, the primer actually uses the word "netwit"; I believe the full term it uses is "half-baked nitwit," in fact). You can also call him a disgrace.

So it may seem like semantics. But calling someone a liar or a hypocrite is pretty direct. Calling someone a nitwit just makes YOU sound silly.

Yelling out "You lie!" in the middle of the President's speech was rude and disrespectful. It was inappropriate for the forum. (And, it's important to note, the rules in the primer only apply to House members, and only when the House is in session.)

But, as a good friend of mine is always saying, it's the principle of the thing. You'd hope that someone like Rep. Wilson would know enough to be respectful and hold his tongue until a more inappropriate moment, or to express his dissent in a more respectful manner. But do we have to go so far as to BAN the practice of calling out the President if someone really believes he's being dishonest or hypocritical?

And when are these restrictions going to seep out from behind the House walls and start applying to us?

I don't want a governing body that isn't beholden to the people it represents. We need to be able to tell our representatives that they're doing a great job, or that they're a big bunch of liars. And not allowing a member of the House (and maybe, someday, you or me) to speak out when we believe they're doing something we don't agree with or we think it's in our best interest... That scares me. That's a right I don't want to give up.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't think the President or anyone else in the government is necessarily out to get the rest of us. But it does worry me when I hear about things like this, about people being so willing to give up a right like free speech (even though this is just a tiny piece of that) in the name of being "appropriate."

Now, please, someone help me off this soapbox so I can go back to watching mindless television, before I actually break a sweat.

Aw. Patrick Swayze.


So Patrick Swayze died this week.

His career was...weird. His roles were...diverse. Um, yeah. He dressed in drag alongsize Wesley Snipes (who makes arguably the ugliest woman in the known universe), kissed a woman from inside Whoopi Goldberg's body (ew), was a rough-edged badass in a leather jacket who...taught ballroom dancing, and played a character named Velvet Larry who -- well, does it matter? HIS NAME WAS VELVET LARRY.

But he really seemed like a great guy, and even though he had such a rough time there toward the end, it really seemed like he was trying his best to stay positive, keep going.

And I'm not going to lie: Whoever dreamed up the idea of a badass in a leather jacked who teaches ballroom dancing (however implausible it may be) is a genius who knows exactly what preteen girls (excuse me..."tween"; EW) will eat up with a spoon. I am decidedly average in this regard. I believe it goes without saying that I have, at many times during my adult life, said (with complete abandon), "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" (of course), "I carried a watermelon?" and, of course, the always popular, "You're WILD!!!" followed by uproarious laughter for no apparent reason.

(Brief sidebar: Who wrote the crappy dialogue for that movie? And how did they make it so memorable? "You're wild"? Could be the worst line of movie dialogue ever. And yet I will probably say it until the day I die and I scare the crap out of my Hospice nurse by waking out of my living coma and shouting, "You're WILD!" in her unsuspecting face.)

See what Patrick Swayze has done to me?

Aw. Patrick Swayze. You WERE wild. And I would carry a watermelon for you.

September 10, 2009

What I hope to accomplish...

Other than limiting my usage of both ellipses and em dashes (not likely to be very successful in these ventures--I use both heavily...), one of the primary things I'd like to accomplish with this blog is to talk about my other writing projects. And, hopefully, use it as a way to keep motivating myself to keep working on them.

I'm in the process of writing a series of children's books based on stories my father used to tell me when I was little. As of right now, I have three stories written, and I want to write two more. Then, I'd like to polish them, get someone to illustrate them (NOT me -- that would be an unmitigated disaster) and explore self-publication and/or look into how one gets a literary agent.

Although I've been a writer all my life, I'm feeling a bit nervous about this particular venture. While my early writing entirely centered around the fictional short story (which is essentially what these children's books amount to), I've spent my entire career writing for newspapers and corporate marketing materials and websites.

In short: I'm sort-of-not-a-little-bit worrying that I've lost my fiction/creative thang, as it were.

It still feels like it comes naturally...but I'm not sure. I have some great friends (including Two Pretzels; thank you!) who have agreed to read the stories from the perspective of a writer and a parent. I know their feedback will be invaluable. I'm also trying to identify some other outlets/sources for feedback, both online and offline.

My biggest enemy right now is time. I work full-time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter, I'm married and have two dogs. I'm busy, and I jealously guard my time.

That's why I'm hoping this blog will help me stay motivated. I'll feel compelled to post some kind of update, which I'm hoping will goose me into staying on schedule.

In addition to writing about my writing (and hopefully not boring any readers to tears in the process), I'll also post about my dogs (they're cute), my thoughts on life (they're vast and varied), my gripes (ditto vast and varied) and anything else that strikes my fancy. I won't write about my day job (big no-no), not that that'd be a super-exciting topic, anyway.

So: I'll write. Hopefully someone will read. With any luck, we won't all feel cheated in the end. :)

September 1, 2009

Um...

So. Yep. Here we are.

This is my blog.

I put this off for a really, really long time -- unnecessarily long, if I think about it. I'm a writer -- why shouldn't I have a blog?

Answer: I am lazy.

OK, not exactly true. I'm not lazy. Just...selfish with my time. And probably over-dramatizing the time it'll actually take me to have a blog.

But the time has come. I know I'll enjoy it. I hope you'll enjoy it.

And we're off.
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