Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm working, really I am

I sent off a query this morning. Yes, an honest-to-god well-thought-out query targeted to a specific editor, just like all the guidelines say. I know, I'm supposed to be sending out at least a few a week, but I'm still working up to it. Sometimes, it's easier to just write the piece and send it off, where it undoubtedly goes directly into someone's circular file. Actually, it's way easier to just pencil my thoughts in one of my notebooks, then just leave them and go on to other things. But that's not going to get me anywhere.
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There's a point to this. I'm a fabulous procrastinator. Even with a dedicated writing-time, every morning, the actual nuts and bolts of producing anything worth being paid for is, well, it's HARD! It's sales, is what it is, and I'm no good at sales. Just let me write, you read and we're done with the whole process.
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Except that won't put any food on the table. Not that I'm putting food on the table now, just that I may be called on in the future someday to contribute to the family finances, and I want to be prepared. Besides, getting paid is a great ego booster (and it doesn't hurt when impressing friends and relatives, Hey I'm a PROFESSIONAL writer).
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I wish I could be a professional reader, now that's really up my alley. I know, I could write book reviews, except that I take so long to read sometimes. I live with three permanent interruptions, one in my lap right this minute, another one skulking down the stairs, getting ready to put in his order for chocolate milk. (At least I've trained them all right: start every day with chocolate!)
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So what am I reading right now? Another William Nicholson, Slaves of the Mastery (that's for research, remember? so that counts as work), just finished a Sidney Sheldon, I think it was Tell Me Your Dreams. I raced through it, skimmed over a ton of boring courtroom scenes (I just don't get excited over DNA evidence, so sue me) and I think I'll lay off the stuff for awhile. Hmmm, what else have I got laying around ... oh, Fit For Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. A friend sent it to me, it's a little out there but I'm keeping an open mind, maybe I'll come a little closer to eating healthy, as long as it includes chocolate.
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Ah, work, work, work. My first job is calling (I'm late already and the boss is whining).

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Meanwhile, back inside ...

Too hot to sit outside and write, already. Especially since I worked up a good sweat watering all the so-called gardens by hand. We have a total water ban in effect, the result of weeks of nice sunny weather, so I must spend the first part of my mornings now running from rosebush to rosebush with a big ole watering can, in a valiant attempt to defy nature and coax some life out of them. I fight the good fight, and my $5 supermarket rose rewards me, while the fancy-schmancy J&P's wither away. And the miniature roses from Home Depot are doing pretty well through the drought, as well. But I dare not plant anything new, so the garden is looking pretty sparse this year.
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And inside, another war rages on ... ants. Oh go ahead and admit it, you have them too! It's too hot outside even for the ants. So I put out the ant traps, the ones where they're supposed to take the bait back to their nest, only they're not making it home. This stuff is so powerfull, they're dying all over my pantry. Every morning, the little guy announces, "Oh No, a Mess! Another Mess!" with such dramatic flair you'd think he just spilled a whole gallon of grape juice (of course when he actually did spill the whole gallon, there was no such announcement).
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Ah, the dog days of summer, can't beat em! Though I need to get back outside; there's something to be said for the sounds of birds and loud noisy bugs and the approaching garbage truck. Hey, it sure beats "boo bah" (or whatever it's called) in the background. And there's fewer interruptions for chocolate milk while there's a door between me and the boy child in front of the tube.
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So where are all those deep thoughts that come forth when I'm meditating on nature? Well, folks, the puter ain't mobile, so it's all on paper ... in pencil. After nearly a week away (barely even checking email, which reminds me ... ) there's a ton of stuff to rant about, even without checking the evening news. In fact, along those lines, I've decided my friend has the right idea ... The Daily Show makes the news so much easier to digest, particularly with a glass of cheap wine.
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So now I'm going to go join the little guy in shaka shaka boing boing. I don't know what it is, but it looks like fun.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Chocolate Cake Shake

Those words have been haunting me all week, "chocolate cake shake from Portillo's." It whispered in my ear as soon as I finished a grueling workout in the morning, later as a suggestion for lunch, a late night snack ...

My good friend mentioned she tried one a few days ago and it's all I can think about, like a song I can't get out of my head. And it doesn't help things when Portillo's is smelling distance from my house, I have to pass by just about anytime I go out.

Virtue report: I've been good this week, while still including my rda of chocolate. Lotsa fresh vegetables (little guy decided to try broccoli, and liked it!), whole grains. And my workout class has just about killed me ... "we're trying something new" she says, as we all groan. But there's also a success report, meaning I can zip up a zipper I couldn't a month ago! YAY! Not having a scale, success is measured in zippers.
And still that chocolate cake shake is tapping on my shoulder.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day

My dad probably doesn't even read my blog ... why should he? I just rant and rave about the minutiae of my life ... he gets that with our weekly calls. But I'm going to say it anyway, for all two of you to read ... I LOVE MY DAD!
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I've got a pretty great dad. He worked like crazy while my mom stayed home raising us kids and taking care of the home. It's a hard job she did, cause I'm trying to do it too (and I'm just not cutting it on the home part). But she did it without complaint, and for some reason my dad squeezed in just enough hanging out with the kids time that I don't remember him not ever being home. .

I mean, he was home some of the time, and he did spend time with the family, taking us on annual camping trips and just plain wrestling on the living room floor and neighborhood cookouts (and a clam bake or two) and beach days and just hauling us kids in the back of the pickup for fun. So he worked hard, set a good example, and played hard, too!
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And always with the advice (that's his job, right?). He's got a way of saying you're wrong and coming out like "I may be wrong but here's what I think you should do, now go and do what you're gonna do anyway" ... just not in so many words.
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He must have done the dad thing right, cause I didn't grow up with any "issues" about my parents like so many others my age. In fact, I actually like my parents, enjoy spending time with them, and (get this) so does my husband!(and the kids too, they love their grandparents!)
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So Dad (and Mom, you guys work together), thanks for raising me to be normal (relatively speaking, of course) and teaching me how to be a good parent, and a good person. You've done your job well, and I love you both very much!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Wisdom from Jiminy Cricket

So yesterday's pseudo-hearing on Capitol Hill was merely a publicity stunt by a few Democrats (see afterdowningstreet.org). Did they fail to generate the media attention that up until now has been sorely lacking? I wait to see if there's any mention in today's local paper. But I'm not getting my hopes up, here in the Speaker's backyard.

It's still really bugging me that only 94 Congressmen/women signed the letter. I mean, they can get half a million signatures from their constitutients, but only 94 out of 435 ... that's 21.6% for the math-challenged, and that's pitiful. Yet another sign that they don't represent the people, even the Democrats are out to cover their own ass at the expense of our servicemen/women. Because they really did know that the invasion had already begun when they finally got around to voting for it.

They're all just a bunch of actors, memorizing their lines and following direction. And as Jiminy Cricket said, "What does an actor need with a conscience?"

Monday, June 13, 2005

A little light reading for summer

I've been reading a lot more lately. Not that I have more time to read ... but maybe I do. I'm finally using my internet time productively, searching the library catalog and requesting books to be put on hold. They even call me when they're ready! Now all I have to do is walk in and pick them up. No more trying to get the boys to behave in the "adult" section while I look for something on the shelves. Now if only I could put the magazines on hold ...
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So I recently finished Joshlyn Jackson's gods in Alabama, in a day and a half, and LOVED it. I highly recommend it to everyone!
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I've been working on Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka for the last six weeks. It's overdue and I'm only halfway through it. Somehow, the spirited children of the house keep getting in the way. I'll have to just return it and put it on hold again later ... maybe after school starts. I'm looking forward to the part where it helps me plan for the everyday getting up and out of the house thing.
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I started Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America, and it's true: I am seeing the world in a new way. Her experience working for a cleaning service has shown me that I'm not such a bad housekeeper after all. Oh, and I will finish this one before it's due.
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The new novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, has followed me around my various reading poses about the house (and yard) but I'm not progressing very far. It's not bad, just different, and it's taking me awhile to get into it. I don't usually venture into the realm of the latest novel from the latest prodigy out of NY, so this is a stretch for me. It feels good to stretch.
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33 things every girl should know about women's history (no caps in the title) is a collection of essays through history, written by women. I'm just bouncing around, looking for ones I've never read before (as some of them are fairly well-known, others not so much) and learning a few tid bits that I should have learned in school. It was interesting to read Abigail Adam's letter to her husband while he was in Philadelphia drafting the Declaration of Independence, and his typical MCP response. The Women's Movement isn't new, and like household chores, it'll never be finished.
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I'm also reading a YA novel, The Wind Singer by William Nicholson. I picked it up more as research to see how it's done, as I've started one of my own, but I can't help enjoying it! And it's book one in a trilogy, so there are at least two more to come. I just have to remember not to get lost in it, as I have a tendency to do. It is research, after all.
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And I'm still keeping Shirley Jump's The Devil Served Tortellini on my night table, although it is presently covered up by at least two magazines (I've recently cleaned out the pile, or rather, moved it someplace else!) If it weren't for the recipes, that would be truly light reading. Which reminds me ... it's time for a
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Virtue Report
I've discovered I don't really like salads. I'll keep on trying new ones until I do. I still don't have a scale, but my first week back at exercise class and I'm already feeling better. And snacking is under control, as long as I go to bed early.
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And there's no cookies in the house. Cause I ate them all for breakfast.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Careful what you wish for ...

I got what I wanted! I've got deadlines, work in progress, summer vacation (with children!) and hubby on days off from work. Yay! All at once ...

It always happens this way. I need deadlines, for I would never complete anything without them. So for the next week, for all intents and purposes, I'm busy writing. Deadlines are a good thing.

This was the first week of summer vacation. No rushing out the door to get my son to school on time. No listening for the phone at 6AM in case I'm needed to sub. No rushing back out to pick up the little guy. Just hanging around on my own schedule, with children. So much for my own schedule.

And days off, my favorite days of the week ... no, month. We don't get them every week. There are three things I look forward to on the occasional days off, when my dear sweet husband is home: the rare but oh so sweet date night, writing time, and the also rare and also sweet mother's night out. My mother's group has scheduled a night out on my husband's night off ... and I'm committed to writing for a drum corps show that night. So we arranged for a sitter and we'll have a date night at the drum corps show, and I SHOULD get the required unterrupted writing time the next morning, because that is another deadline.
Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Aspirations of Virtue

I read the news, I get angry. Don't talk to me after I read the news, especially on the internet where I can research more info and find nothing and get even angrier. Still on that revolution kick, though.

But striving toward virtue, now. Virtuous as in the D-word, as in food choices, as in what goes in and stays and spreads around should never have gone in in the first place and will never again. Yeah, striving anyway.

Did the grocery shopping yesterday and avoided snacks I like. Except a package of cookies, cause the natives get restless when there are no cookies! (The natives here are stinky smelly boys who leave their socks lying around, you probably have one or two lying around your house?) They hate the d-word too, only because it means THERE'S NOTHING TO EAT. Ever try to feed healthy nutritious meals to a bunch of skinny guys who can't start the day without a generous helping of high fructose corn syrup?

They don't eat fruit, they don't eat vegetables, when the chips are gone they're going to get hungry. And then they will bake cookies. Yes, they are so serious about their sugar they will even venture into the kitchen and bake their own snacks ... the little ones will, anyway.

So I got on this 20 Days of Virture from Joshlyn Jackson's blog. Read the book, gods in Alabama (you absolutely MUST read it!), had to read the blog. Now I'm starting to check out blogs like I check out homepages. Yet another diversion, another excuse not to write. I have more if you need any.

Friday, June 03, 2005

In support of revolution

I'm not stupid. But a whole lot of people are acting like they think I am. They seem to think everybody is. It's been a month since another memo illustrating the pre-planning that went into the Iraq War Propaganda was unearthed, and summarily buried again. Because us regular guys here in the States can't be smart enough to follow the chain of events, and anyway if our President says it ain't so then it ain't so.

Oh, puleeze ... there's a long line of whistle-blowers documenting the lies and deception that made up the Bush Administration's case for invading Iraq. While two former administration officials (Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill) actually had the balls to publish the goings on at the White House leading up to the invasion, each one failed to capture enough interest for the media to keep the issue in the spotlight. Or is it really the corporate-owned media that is burying the stories in the first place? War has always been extremely profitable for big companies savvy enough to cash in, so there's no question who so willingly fed the propaganda to the public.
And now we get a little behind-the-scenes info from across the pond, the head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, Richard Dearlove, who noted that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." And while there are a few in Congress who are asking for an explanation from the White House, 89 out of 435 (all Democrats, go figure) is a pretty piss poor showing of concern for all those young soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians who have died because Dubya wanted to be a War President.
So where's the call for Impeachment? Do we need to bring in some sexy Iraqi intern to give the prez a blo-job in order for Congress to cry foul? As George Orwel once penned, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
It's time for a revolution.