Monday, December 27, 2010

Me? High Maintenance? Nahhhhh

So the other day, my husband was having a conversation with a woman at work (poor guy, he's one of only a few of his gender there) and she casually asked him what he was getting me for Christmas. He said he had a few ideas, probably an appliance or something like that. The woman gave him an abhorrent look and promptly snapped, "You can't get her that!" She went on to explain he needed to get me something personal, something jewelry or something like that. She then lectured him for several minutes on the etiquette of gifts for his wife and he quietly listened. When she was done, he said, "but she's just not that high maintenance."

I have to agree with him. I wasn't' expecting anything so expensive as diamonds or a new car. Of course, getting that new Camero I've been drooling over would've been nice, but after 23 years of marriage I know my husband would never think to buy something that financially significant without talking to me about it....for weeks....before making the purchase. All in all, I think my husband gets off pretty easy and he agrees. We did have a good laugh over it, especially when I said he should've told her he was getting me cooking lessons. She probably would've gone apoplectic on him when the truth is I would love to have some gourmet cooking or wine and food pairing classes.

What did I get? An immersion blender/chopper, three bottles of wine, a gift certificate for more wine and four different sets of two wine glasses and the 6th season of Deadliest Catch. See? Give me wine and good TV and I'm happy. Not high maintenance at all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So here we are, the season where holidays are stacked up on each other. (On top of that, I've had two snow days from work...whoohoo!!) It's a time where families get together and have fun (or too much togetherness), talk about growing up, tradition and all that other stuff. Unless your like us. We are transplants into the Pacific Northwest and our families are scattered across the states--Kansas, Virginia, Illinois, Las Vegas...). We'd travel, but quite honestly, the airports suck at the holidays (and I'm really in no hurry to have some TSA's hands groping me or submitting myself to low level radiation scans--I'm already unhealthy enough as it is, thanks though for the offer) and we have too many pets and no one to watch them while we're gone anyway.

I have to say, it's kinda nice with it just being "us", especially when I hear others talk about all the family drama that seems to go on during the holidays. No Unlce Joe getting drunk and ruining dinner. No cat fights between aunts. No arguing over who made better sweet potatoes or who burned the turkey. But, mind you, we still will have drama....just a different sort:

Me: "I don't see the point in making a whole turkey when no one eats it."
Hubby: "It's Thanksgiving, you have to eat turkey! I can't help it if no one in this family eats leftovers."
Me: "We don't like turkey to begin with. Why would we want leftovers."
Hubby: "Because it's Thanksgiving. You have to eat leftovers."

Yes, my husband's answer to everything is "Because it's Thanksgiving, you HAVE to {insert topic of choice} . Needless to say, he always wins. This year, it's a whole turkey deep fried. Fortunately, he's doing it at work so there's no clean up involved on my part...whoopee!

Here's another family drama:

16 yr old son: "Are there any dinner rolls left?"
Me: "You at 12 of them at dinner. Your sister, dad and I each had two. There's none left"
16 yr old son : But it's Thanksgiving. You're supposed to have leftover dinner rolls!"

Do you see the family resemblance here? By the way, my son is 6'3" and weighs 120 lbs. He has a metabolism similar to the speed of light. He eats 12 dinner rolls and loses two pounds. I eat 12 dinner rolls and it goes straight to my ass.

Other frequent Thanksgiving holiday scenarios in my my holiday life:

The 19 year old daughter will whine incessantly about being soooooo bored because none of her friends are available to entertain her. Her father will inevitably make a suggestion that maybe she should entertain herself by working on her college application and she'll stomp off in a fit. At this point, she will entertain herself by picking on her brother. And that never ends well.

One of the dogs (probably the PITA dog) will get a hold of something and either yack it back up or stink up the room to the point of immediate human evacuation from the vicinity of dog(s). I'm sure there will be a cat fight somewhere in the house and fur will fly.

Oh, and by the way, this year my dishwasher is broken so all dishes will have to be done by hand. By me, most likely. (okay, that was my moment of whining).

After dinner, well argue over how many Christmas decorations to put up and where to put the five dozen Santa statues my husband has collected over the years.

So, overall, pretty benign sort of drama than others who have large families. Maybe I miss it a little, then again, probably not. After all, Christmas is only a few weeks away and we'll have more drama again just so I don't miss it too much.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wine and Writing...

Although Whine and Writing could work as well, but isn't nearly as fun.....

A little bit January....Sharron suggested that to break through my chronic writer's block I drink wine while writing. Okay, so it's taken me this long and a trip to Las Vegas where I discovered Nora's Wine bar to decide to try this strategy, but at least I'm going to give it a whirl.

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

So, to work out the things in my head, I'm going to blog about which wines I have and tell you about them so you might decide to give them a try as well. I'll start from the beginning.

While down in Vegas, my nephew took me to Nora's Wine Bar which isn't on the strip and since I don't know Vegas you're going to have to Google Map it to get there if you feel so inclined. My first discovery was the term "flight". This apparently is a term for the amount poured for tasting a wine. Whatever. I stared at the menu as though it were written in Klingon, recognizing very few terms and even fewer winery names. My nephew tried his best to educate this old dog on the new subject of vino, however my method of choosing which flights I wanted was reduced to closing my eyes and pointing.

This got me the Mediterranean Red category and out of the three one appealed to me far more than the others. Fortunately they had little tags on the glass stems because I never would've remembered what the wine was. Regaleali Nero D'Avola from the Tasca D'Almerita winery in Italy was the turning point for me on red wine. I've never liked red wine but this made me change my mind. I'd like to impress you with all that fancy wine talk....all those intricate flavors, but my palate is far too novice to distinguish. According to some online wine store, the tasting is described as: "Bright ruby red color, this wine offers a rich bouquet of cherry, mulberry, and raspberry. On the palate, it is complex and supple, with ripe berries framed by juicy tannins."

Well, say it how you want, it was damned good wine!

As a result of this testing, I made my first trip up to a local wine bar/store just up the road from me. I showed the owner my little note and he informed me that it was only $13 a bottle. Awesome. I'll take three.

So starting tonight, while trying to bitch slap my inner critic into submission and hopefully unconsciousness, I'm going to blog about the wines I'm drinking.

Tonight's wine is Cupcake Winery's Red Velvet. According to the label, "this wine shows a heady nose of chocolate, deep rich blackberries, red fruits and creamy mocha finish that is unmistakable in it's intensity and length."

You had me at chocolate.

I think the label was right and it would go well with a spicy beef dish or a bbq bacon cheeseburger, but we're having it with pork chops, onions and apples call me wine ignorant. Not overly sweet and, although I'd never pick it out on my own, knowing it's there, I do taste chocolate and berries. Overall, a good wine, I'd definately buy it again.

Chocolate and wine, be still my heart. Take that you bitch critic. Now move so the muse can take over.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

Here it is 2010....been awhile since I've been here. With the New Year comes resolutions. So, I'm putting them into writing, not that anyone really cares or wants to read them, but more to keep myself honest and remind myself of what my goals are. I plan to hang this up both at work an home, someplace where it will be in my face so I can kick my ass into gear and stay on track.

I'm not going to do the eat less, exercise more, lose weight resolution. With my current health issues, that's a given. So, I really only have three resolutions for now an they are in no particular order since none are more important or significant than any of the others:

1. Cook more, eat out less and have fun in the kitchen: This one isn't very hard for me. I've recently found that watching Food Network has inspired the inner chef. I'm making better choices in the grocery store, buying less processed foods, pre-packaged foods and making healthier meals. I've decided my next house will need a full gourmet kitchen because this one isn't big enough for me to work with four adults, two dogs and a cat who are almost always underfoot, and I never have enough counter space. Ahh, the thought of a fabulous Viking stove....Now if only that came with someone to clean up after me.

2. Finish a damn book: Okay, so technically, I have finished a book, several in fact. But writing hasn't really been a priority lately. However, I've made some writing decisions thanks to my good bud Sharron and Adrienne Lee, another author who was kind enough to crack the whip on my ass the last month or so. I'm going to try to blog more, not that anyone other than my good friends will read it but it is a very cathartic thing, I've started a food journal that helps keep me honest about my eating habits, so why not a writing journal. I haven't seriously written in such a long time and I have to realize an accept that it's going to be hard to get back into. But it's like exercise, the more you do it, the more you crave it. I have to use those creative muscles to build them up and make them strong. My new matra: Write, dammit!

3. It's just a job: I work full time during the day and although I do love what I do, the place itself is very stressfull. I let it take over at times an I need to stop that. I'm going to leave my job the moment I walk out that door and not take it so seriously. I'm expendable there, I know that, so my job has to be just as expendable in my mind. It's not a career, it's a job. I'm not going to let the negativity of that place destroy my creativity or energy. I won't let them have that much power over me. My new mantra: it's just a job.

I'm starting the New Year with a trip to San Diego to clear my mind and get away from everything and I'm sure Sharron will do some serious ass-kicking while I'm down there which is probably what I need. I'm sure the wine and kleenex will be flowing abundantly. But that's okay, it's what I need. So right now, I'm formulating a story in my head and am going to start writing every day to get that creativity flowing. It's what I want to do and I'm going to do it despite my family, job and real life obligations. This is what I want to do for me. This is what I what for my career.

And I'm the only one that can make it happen.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Movies to Lighten My Mood

I'm in sort of a blue funk today, don't now why but I suspect my family is involved in it somehow, so I pulled out a movie I really love to watch: Pirates of the Caribbean, Curse of the Black Pearl. I lost track how many times I saw it in the theater, but I remember Sharron and I sitting through it and reciting the lines from about half the movie.

I've always been a sucker for pirates. The very first romance novels I read were pirate stories and my most favorite was by Danielle Harmon called My Lady Pirate. It had a typical "bodice ripper" cover (and although I HATE, HATE, HATE that term, it pretty much sums up the covers from the 80's romance novels). Books with female pirates, although my favorite (gotta love kick-ass rebellious females) were hard to come by but even so, if it had a pirate it in, more than likely, I was there. There's just something about them that I loved...maybe I was a pirate in a past life who knows...

I was thrilled when the Pirates trilogy came out. Originally, Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow was my favorite (OMG...when he looks over his shoulder and smiles....sigh)but it didn't take long for Orlando Bloom and James Norrington (especially in the second one) to be added to my "hot guy" list as well . But hot pirate guys aside, the movies (all three) worked well. The cast was enjoyable to watch together and the story lines were good. The third one got a bit plot heavy like they tried to cram too much into one movie, but it was still enjoyable. There are lines from the movie I love ( "This is either madness or brilliance" "Its remarkable how often those two coincide") and just the over all fun tone the movie sets from the moment you see Jack sailing in as his boat sinks. I also love the characterization they did, particularly of Barbosa, so that you relate to him purely on the fact that all he wants in life is to be able to taste an apple again. Even the music is fabulous.

So, with any luck, a trilogy night of all three movies might get me out of this blue funk. Then again, maybe it will just ease it back a bit. Either way, it will still be an enjoyable evening.

Now, WHERE'S THE RUM???????

Oooo, mojitos.....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I've decided my creativity only comes out when I'm out of the house and away from the many, many distractions there, so I'm sitting in a coffee shop near my house typing this. I'm going to try posting to my blog as a warm up to working on my book.

I watched New In Town last night, a movie that didn't do well in the theater. I can see why: it was a funny, entertaining, sweet romance with a happy ending straight out of a romance novel.

Something I'd be proud to write.

I don't know what it is about society hating fairy tale stories. I don't understand what the draw is behind movies with depressing or sad endings, or the obsession to watch movies with blood, gore and grim storylines. I guess they are okay some of the time, but what is wrong with a story about something as basic as romance? Notice I don't say "a love story" because that, at least in the romance industry, is completely different. In most love stories (Horse Whisperer, Titanic, etc) the romance is secondary and almost always has a bittersweet, or in my opinion, not so happy ending. My husband and I argue about this often, but I think last night, watching the movie, he got it. He said to me, "this is the kind of story you write. I could see you writing something like this."


Yes, this is my type of story. That fairy tale, happily ever after, boy meets girl kind of story. Together they overcome conflict and end up together. I would've like to have seen a bit more of their emotional story line, diving deeper into the characters rather than just having the external plot line scratch the surface, but it worked okay. And hey, watching Harry Connick is always a night well spent for me (except he didn't sing...darn it!). So bring on more romance and more happy endings!

So, with that in mind, I'm off to write my own story which will hopefully be just as satisfying and funny as New In Town.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I sit here at one in the morning, waiting for my popsicle of a daughter to get home from Relay for Life (I told her it was going to be too cold but did she believe mom? Noooooo!) and I'm thinking about where I'm at in my life and wondering how I got here. As little as five years ago I was creating stories in a frenzy, coming up with new ones faster than what I could write them. Now my head is empty and I'm asking myself, what the hell happened???

I know it's me and my problem. Nothing anyone can say or do can change my situation. It has to come from within me. But how? I've tried new stories, tried revising old ones, but nothing is happening. My muse seems to have run off to the Caribbean with a cabana boy or something. I was debating about entering the Emerald City opener, a writing contest from the Greater Seattle RWA chapter to which I belong. But what do I enter?

I have this manuscript, the one that placed in three contests...the one an editor called "trite" (after requesting it and then taking a year and three months to give me that little nugget of wisdom). It was destined for Blaze but no more. That line has changed so much from it's conception, it no longer interests me or fits my writing style. I know my heart truly lies in romantic comedy...Rachel Gibson, Jenny Cruise, Christina Ridgeway, etc... So that means rewrites...big rewrites....on this manuscripit. Could it be this is what's holding me back. This story, which I love, isn't finished. There's some problems with the motivation of my charaters which needs to be fixed and there's two secondary characters who really would like their story told but it doesn't seem they want their own book. Maybe that's the problem. I haven't yet finished this one.

But how do I start? The story is cold in my head now, which is sort of good, sort of bad. It's good because it's a fresh eye, I can see things I wouldn't have seen when I was so close to it a few years ago. But the characters, although still in my head, are now cold. I'm going to have to learn them all over again. But maybe I'll see what I'm missing...what they're missing.

So my goal (yes, I'm putting it in writing for all to see) is to re-write this story. I'm going to start by re-writing the first chapter and, hopefully (hey, don't give me that do or do not crap right now) get the first chapter into the contest by June 1st. That gives me a month. One freakin' month.

Oy vey.

I can do it (she says knowing that's what she's supposed to say but seriously doubting it)! No, I'm going to do it. I have to do it. I need to find this spark in me again because I seriously miss it. I'm wandering around the house trying to fill my time with things that aren't all that interesting to me and feeling sorry for myself. STEP AWAY FROM THE FOOD NETWORK CHANNEL! I need to buck up and get off the pity wagon...and stop whining! Yes, I have middle school and high school graduation in a month, yes my work is driving me insane again, but dammit, I want to be a writer! And the only way to be a writer is to write! I have to find a way to write!

So, staring tomorrow, er, today, I'm going to spend at least an hour writing. My lunch hour will become my personal time. It's nice outside and there's no reason I can't find a little place away from life to spend some time with pen on paper.

I feel so....terrified!