Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Untweetworthy: part the...whatever.

I know I used to number these. I should go figure out what number this one should be, but that seems like a lot of work. I'll just call it Bramlet. That way we can get to the fun a lot quicker!

* I was looking at this list of HI-larious autocorrect failures today, and was laughing so hard I had to take off my glasses, because tears were streaming down my face, and I believe at one point I drooled, and perhaps blew a snot bubble, too. Helper Monkey and Lulu made a few comments about how Mama broke her brain again. It was obscene. After five minutes, Lulu asked if I was STILL laughing, and if I was still breathing. I told her I was only on number 10 of 30, and she put in her ear buds and tried to pretend I didn't exist anymore.

* That moment, pouring the last cup of coffee, but it won't all fit in the mug, so you stand there slurping coffee as fast as you can, alternately topping off the mug and scalding your tongue, so you don't have to pour the last few tablespoons of the precious, precious coffee down the kitchen sink. Then for the rest of the day your tongue feels like it's being bitten by ants, and it's okay, because it reminds you how much you loved that coffee. And then you want more coffee. *and hooray for second POV*

* The cat is currently snoring so loud I thought there was a tv or radio on somewhere in the house. Also, he's using his back foot as a pillow. Cats.

How is that comfortable? At all?

* Speaking of the cat, he's learned a fun new game. It's called BOOBY TRAP. To play, he drags his water bowl into the middle of the floor, cleverly placing it in a direct line between the stairs and the garage door. Every time I walk through my office, I punt the bowl, nearly fall over, and slosh water everywhere. I guess this is his way of ensuring his food area is mopped on a regular basis. Either that, or he thinks it's funny to watch mommy curse and flail. Probably both.

* The school called today to tell me that they found a check in the hallway that Lulu was supposed to bring home to me today. This was a substantial check, for a girl scout cookie order. Thank commas it wasn't cash because I don't trust a middle-schooler would've turned in $144 in cash to the office. O_O

* I accidentally read the comments on this article by Margaret Cho about tattoos and body image. One ignorant and sickening comment (out of many such) suggested that tattoos are disgusting and offensive, and a blight on the landscape. S/he went on to say that they should be covered at all times, because the sight of them was so intolerable. Really. Tattoos. Let me tell ya, comment person, I've seen things in public that I was offended by, that I wish I could unsee (and I mean you, see-through-leggings-worn-as-pants-lady from the other night). I have rarely been offended or disgusted by a tattoo (other than hate-inspired ink, which I hope any of my Thoughtful Readers would be equally offended by). My tattoos are not the result of drunken escapades, nor youthful joie-de-vivre. Every one of them means something to me, and I wouldn't give a single one of them up. In fact, I have a list of MORE tattoos I plan to get as soon as I can.

P.S.: Don't read the comments. Well, you can feel free to read any comments on this here blog, because I don't stand for meanies. If you want to be a meanie, that's fine, but I will delete your trolly little behind faster than you can say antidisestablishmentarianism. And yes, I know it takes a while to say that, but it's not like I sit around all day hitting refresh on my comments page. I do have a life outside of this blog, or I'd run out of things to write about pretty quick.

* Helper Monkey told me he enjoys reading my blog, because even though he's heard most of these stories, he says I write them in a way that's different from how I relate the same facts to him in the course of everyday life. I don't know why, but this makes me deliriously happy.

* One last cat story, I promise. I use my ottoman as a desk, and it gets piled up pretty high with books, paperwork, my laptop (when it's not atop my lap), and random items like ear buds and my magic wand (because you've got to keep your magic wand close to hand). The cat seems to think he has a right to share space with all that stuff and my feet (it is an ottoman, after all). The kindle was sitting atop the pile when Mr. Stinky decided he couldn't share space with everything, and gave the pile a little nudge. Of course, it landed charger-side-down, and bent the stupid pluggydoo. Granted, kindles charge on the same plug as all the cell phones in the house, as well as everything else that uses those little mini USB cables, it it's not like I don't have a spare (or twelve). It's the principle of the thing. I am clearly doomed to live a life free of nice things.

Oh, the kindle is fine. Gary Jr. survived his 18" plummet to the wood floor just fine, unlike his older deceased brother. Thank commas for that protective case I bought for it. It seemed expensive, but in the few weeks I've had the case, I've dropped it down a flight of stairs, sat on it, and now dropped it on the floor again. So. I'd say it was well worth the money.

And I think that's more than enough for one day, don't you? I hope y'all had some fun. Tune in next time when there will be more of the same, but slightly different, because otherwise, why would you bother tuning in again? This is a no-rerun kind of blog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Introduction to Professional Wrestling

I volunteer (to earn money for Lulu's girl scout activities) at the local baseball stadium. During the off season, I've had an opportunity to also go down to the Patriot Center at George Mason University to sell beer for charity. I love that concept. Anyhoo, last Saturday I worked the last scheduled event there before baseball season starts up again. WWE RAW.

Let me preface this tale by saying I knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about professional wrestling. I'd heard of the top name stars, like John Cena and The Rock, but that's about it. I knew nothing of the fans, nor the level of devotion these people feel for "their man." I'm familiar with NASCAR, and the kind of crazy people get for their driver, but the WWE fans were over the top. There were a berjillion kids, even toddlers, all decked out head to toe in stuff covered in slogans and catch phrases that I couldn't decipher. It was eye-opening.

These fans came from every walk of life, all races, ages, ability levels, and every other categorization you can think of. And they were universally polite and kind, at least the ones I saw walk past my beer stand. I was shocked. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't the welcoming, friendly crowd I saw.

After the intermission when the stadium cut off alcohol sales, I counted out our cash drawer and headed off to the cash office to sign out for the night. I opened the door to the stairwell that went down into the bowels of the arena, and was confronted by two burly security guys asking if I needed to get through. Um, yeah, security guys, I need to get through. I was apparently the last person they allowed down that way, because there were three even larger, even burlier guys clad in black leather blocking the entire freaking hallway behind the security guards. I paid them no mind, other than noting that for guys who looked like a pornographic SWAT team, they smelled really nice.

I cashed out, signed the register, and tried to go back upstairs. I was told no. No going up those stairs again. Sigh. I had to run all the way around the arena to the opposite side's stairs, then all the way around the concourse upstairs to where my ride was waiting for me. I stopped at the ladies room, and when I came out, the three leather-clad guys were standing by the portal waiting to be announced to go in to wrestle. Suddenly their outfits made more sense. One of the guys made a funny face at me, stuck his tongue out, and I fumbled for my camera. I wanted to see if I could figure out who they were when I got home. He was announced and dashed off behind the curtains before I could get the camera app up. Dang it.

As soon as I got home, I looked up the WWE site, and immediately discovered who they were: Roman Reigns and The Shield. Okay, then. I still have no clue when it comes to the actual wrestling, but based on my little hallway encounter, and the tongue thing, I am now a Roman Reigns supporter. *fans self*

This is basically what I walked into.
In summary, I don't really understand wrestling. I don't know about the points, or the bouts, or anything. But I am impressed. The wrestlers seem to really care about their fans. From all the slogans on t-shirts I saw, a lot of them seem to promote values I can get behind, like honor, respect, and justice. They do this practically every day, somewhere around the country. It's insane. I can't even imagine that kind of life. But more power to them. Uh, and especially to The Shield. They can kick down my front door any day. *finger waves at porno SWAT guys*

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear Real Life,

I started out composing this as a tweet, but then I realized I had too much I needed to say to Real Life today. I would like to begin by showing you the untweeted tweet, because Real Life is a royal jerk, and I think everyone needs to keep this in mind:

Dear Real Life, will you please stop trying to interfere with my writing? It's getting annoying.
Sincerely, me

I'm just getting over a bout with the plague, and hadn't been able to write for several days. This was bad enough, but at least I'm recovered enough to attain a seated position for stretches of time again. Of course, the day I try to start writing again, the neighbor decides to have his entire wooded lot serviced by a tree trimming company. EVERYTHING GOES IN THE WOOD CHIPPER. I'm pretty sure Real Life has a twisted sense of humor.

My view for the last two days, sans the EXTREMELY LOUD NOISES.
Just when I think it's safe to sit down and concentrate for a while, they crank that puppy up and RAKWWWKKGGRRRRRGRRRGRRRRR. It's like being attacked by angry bees over and over again.

I've also been helping Lulu with some projects for school. She had to build a useful object from recycled materials for her Inventions and Innovations class. This was fun, but time consuming. Have you ever tried to build a working greenhouse out of old muffin boxes and yogurt cups? She darn well better get an A on it, is all I'm saying.

Then there have been numerous errands. Numerous things to take care of. After four days in the Blanket Fort fighting the plague, all those little things start to pile up. I still have to do them. They didn't magically take care of themselves in my absence. The jerks.

All this means is that on top of feeling guilty for not writing, especially when I love my current draft, I also feel quite paranoid that I'm still not caught up on all the necessities. Anxiety is not a frame of mind that's conducive to focused writing. So then I feel even more guilt, which adds to the anxiety, and you see the horrible pattern emerge.

What I realized today was that Real Life wasn't causing my problem. I can't stop that bus. I either grab on and go for the ride, just like everyone else, or sit on the bench and never get anywhere. Nope. I realized that *I* am causing my problem.

Not much I can do about all the piddly stuff. I'm getting caught up as fast as possible. And I wrote more than a thousand new words last night. Progress is progress, and I will choose to be happy about it. Sure, it's not the 10,000 words I could have written while I was sick, but didn't. It is 1,000 more words than I had yesterday at this time.

There's also a pile of boring, mundane crap I need to do. Pay bills. Collect Girl Scout Cookie money and deposit it. Paperwork for summer camp registration. Balance the checkbook. Correspondence that needs to be handled (most sincere apologies if you're waiting for email from me). But I'm working my way through that, too.

There are things that will always need to be done, but I have to keep reminding myself that I can't do everything all at once. I'll just do as much as I can, and try not to let it get to me. Even with Real Life throwing wood chippers in my way.

The words will come. I'll give them as much time as they need, within reason. So now, to the store to pick up the forgotten items from the list, and then home again just in time for the Evening Rush to start up here. Homework, dinner, tv, family. It might interfere with my writing, but I only have one family, and they deserve some of my time, too. Eventually, hopefully by 7 or 8 tonight, they'll leave me alone to play with the words again. It's all I ask from today.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Report From The Blanket Fort

I just realized it's been more than a week since I posted anything. I'd feel worse about that if I didn't already feel so awful. I spent the last few days battling the plague, and today took the cake.

I had to go grocery shopping. When you're sick, feeling queasy, and just want to curl up into a ball and die, NOTHING is worse than being surrounded by food. Even the smell of fresh baked bread couldn't help me today. For better or worse, to fend off starvation, someone had to shop. Someone, at least in this household, means me.

I'm not sure I actually bought any nutritionally valid foods (not true, I bought fruits AND vegetables), but I know we won't run out of comfort foods for a good long time to come. Cupcakes, brownie mix, blueberry muffins, Pirate's Booty, pudding, chocolate, ice cream... need I go on? Because I could. I could go on and on.

So even though I felt DISGUSTING, and haven't had an appetite in DAYS, I knew I still had to provide food for my family. I'm sure they'll be able to cobble together a few days' worth of decent meals out of the bizarro conglomeration of food I brought home. At the very least, they won't starve to death before I get well enough to remember how the food pyramid works.

This is correct, right? Because I thought caffeine was one of the lower foundation blocks.

I feel the same way about my writing after the last few days. I had a headache so awful I couldn't even wear my glasses. It was pleasant to just let the world go fuzzy and out of focus. It actually hurt to see clearly. Not being able to wear my glasses meant not being able to read anything on the computer, unless I felt like sitting with my face six inches from the screen. I've been mostly off Twitter and the rest of the interwebs for several days now, and all I've been able to do is read on the kindle. I can easily hold that six inches away from my face for long periods of time. :D

I may have indulged in a reading binge, but I haven't been able to write. This saddens me to no end. I love the draft I'm working on, but the scene I'm at is one of those pivotal scenes where everything has to work out exactly right, not just for this novel, but for the other three I've already written in this series, and which take place AFTER this novel. This is the BIG EVENT that defines the rest of my MC's life, and I'd be turning to jelly inside writing it even if I wasn't already feeling quite gelatinous due to the plague.

For anyone who is at all familiar with Running Down the Dragon, I'm writing the events from Thalia's early life that basically define the next 2,000 years for her. So, no pressure there, right? :/

If only I wasn't so unbelievably miserable. I'm going to crawl back inside the Blanket Fort of Infinite Decrepitude, and I'll hopefully see y'all again soon, back in the world of the living. Keep everything cozy out there.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Untweetworthy, Part the Fifth

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I actually remembered a few of the anecdotes I wanted to share, and figured I'd write them down before they fall into the Black Hole of Lost Notions.

First of all, I've completed all outstanding CP reads, which means I get to go back to drafting! Wheeee! Since it's been a few weeks since I actively worked on the WIP, I decided to read through from the beginning to make sure I remembered all the necessary details. There were only 30 pages or so, about 7500 words, so it didn't seem to be much of a burden. Of course, once I started reading, I started editing. I can't help myself. By the time I stopped last night, I'd written another 700 words. So that project is getting off the ground like a zeppelin: lumbering and floaty, with just a hint of hot gas. I take that all to be a good sign of progress.

My cat has a fondness for bubble wrap. I heard a weird crinkling noise, and found him popping the bubbles with his teeth. So that settles it. EVERYONE likes to pop bubble wrap.

Right now there is a barred owl sitting atop my chimney, hooting. It sounds like he's in the fireplace. It's kind of awesome, actually.

I covered the back of my new phone with glow-in-the-dark stars, but I keep forgetting to leave the phone face down to "charge" them up with light. So I haven't actually seen them glow yet. Sometimes I seriously disappoint myself.

I have now had two separate conversations on twitter, with two different people, that incorporated the phrase "scallop gonads." I blame Stephen Colbert.

Snowquestration was a serious disappointment. We got several inches of snow, but it never stuck to the ground, and turned to slush almost immediately. At least I never had to shovel anything. And it's supposed to be near 60 by the weekend. So there's that. Lousy Smarch weather.

Can anyone explain this to me? This has been bugging me for YEARS. I have flannel sheets on my bed. Really heavy, thick flannel. I also have a fuzzy blanket, one of those microplush jobbies that feels like thick velvet. Needless to say, the flannel and plush tend to stick together like velcro. You can almost hear that ripping noise when you pull them apart. All that being said, HOW does Helper Monkey always end up with all the sheets, while I don't have enough to cover myself? At least he leaves behind most of the blankets. Somehow, in his sleep, he can overcome the laws of physics, negate the friction between the sheet and blanket, and pull JUST THE SHEET until it hangs down to the floor on his side of the bed. Since he usually sleeps during the day, and I sleep at night, I'm pretty convinced that black magic is involved. I reset those damned things every night. I just have no idea what he does in his sleep. Any thoughts? Remember, this is for SCIENCE.

We made pancakes for dinner the other night, and this is one of Lulu's favorite meals to help prepare. She likes flipping them. The two of us were in the kitchen yammering on and on, and Helper Monkey was trying to watch the news in the next room. The tv got progressively louder and louder, and so did our conversation. Eventually, he gave up, came into the kitchen, and went on a little rant about how all he could hear was us talking and singing. I can't even remember his exact words (something to the effect of BLAH BLAH BLAH BUBBLES BLAH BLAH MUTANT BLAH BLAH ALBONDIGAS BLAH *and yes, this post was edited to include Albondigas, which is Spanish for meatballs. Apparently Lulu and I were going on and on about albondigas), but Lulu and I spent the next five minutes laugh-crying while the last pancake burned. I love my family.

Cookie season is almost over, which means the temptation of boxes and boxes of Girl Scout cookies lurking out in my truck is nearly gone. If someone wants to take the rest of these off my hips hands, I'd be eternally grateful.

I know there was one more blurb I wanted to write, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. I'm sure it will come back to me eventually. If it does, I'll add it to the list. I vaguely recall it had something to do with socks. Strangely, the Lost Untweetworthy vignette is the one that prompted me to start this post in the first place. Ain't that always the way.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming, which is basically me hiding out with my laptop, hopefully writing and staying off twitter. Which means, I'll see y'all on twitter real soon. Urg.

In the meantime, please enjoy this sloth sinking the Titanic.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Grand Day Out

I've been trying to get to local author events and book signings lately, especially now that Lulu is beginning to explore the YA genre, which I read a lot of, and is also showing an interest in writing. *quiet, nonthreatening squeeing from me* *wouldn't want to frighten her out of the Writermobile*

When I learned that Maureen Johnson was coming to speak at the Bethesda Library, I knew Lulu would enjoy it. *and yes, I knew I would enjoy it too*

Thursday nights are Family Night around here, since it's Helper Monkey's only night off work. We try to do something together, as a family. I asked him if he'd mind if I took Lulu to this event, and he responded that he'd actually like to come with us. I was pleasantly surprised.

Helper Monkey grew up in Bethesda, and it's also where we met 17 years ago. It was a little trip down memory lane for us. As a bonus, a friend of his works at a great Lebanese restaurant just a few blocks from the library, and he's been asking us to come for dinner forever. The plan was for us to go to the event, and then have a nice dinner out.

I half expected him to simply tolerate the book event. He's not exactly the YA book target market. Sure, he'll read a Harry Potter, or a Percy Jackson, but that's about the extent of his forays into books for non-adults.

I am now 100% convinced that Maureen Johnson is contagious, or possibly emits some sort of radioactive mutation field. In the best possible way. Helper Monkey was absolutely delighted by her, and is now following her on Twitter. He's going to read Name of the Star when he's done with whatever it is he's reading now. My reaction:


So the family had a lovely time. Thanks to Maureen, the Bethesda Library, and Politics and Prose. :D

Once we were done, we went for Lebanese food at Bacchus. Oh. My. Commas. It was a feast. Let's just say I wished I'd worn a skirt with an elastic waistband. On the plus side, I ate a lot of tomato slices in cucumber sauce. Nom! I apologized for stealing all the tomatoes, claiming I was in the middle of a Tomato Jones. For the rest of the evening, the family referred to me as Tomato Jones, and suggested I write a series of detective novels starring this new character. Perhaps, Tomato Jones: Sliced and Diced.

There was this:

Then there was dessert. This custard was flavored with honey and rosewater. I would like to marry this dessert. I told Helper Monkey I was leaving him for it, and told Lulu she should learn to love her new father as much as I do.

Unfortunately, I ate it all, so I decided to stay with Helper Monkey. At least until next time...

There was also Turkish coffee and baklava. Noms.

I haven't eaten that well in...years, probably. All the noms.

All told, it was truly a grand day out.