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Showing posts from August, 2007

Courage

Written by my friend John and posted here with his permission:

Courage

It takes strength to be firm,
It takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend's pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

Turning Over A New Leaf

New Things I've Tried Recently:

1. Fried frog legs (at the insistence of Mal who truly doesn't take "no" for an answer unless you just walk away...I am patently unable to walk away from a challenge - a fact he uses shamelessly).

2. Overnight date night with my hubby

3. Gourmet international cheeses

4. Keeping a straight face

5. Contact lenses

6. Driving the speed limit and coming to a full and complete stop at stop signs.

7. A new movie genre (based on video games that I've never heard of but oh well)


The Results:

1. Not half as bad as I expected but not nearly good enough to justify the price. Tastes a lot like rubbery chicken.

2. =) When can we go again? =)

3. Switzerland makes the most incredible cheese - sbinz. Yum!!

4. Why do I even bother?

5. Despite the occasional finger to the eye and folded lense slipping beneath my lid whose removal requires a small act of God, I love them. So much better than glasses. Now, to get one that look like cat's eyes....

6. Ummm, act…

Apples to Apples? (No, wait, I hate apples....)

When I was a child:

*I collected teddy bears, glass figurines, carousel horses, and old pennies.

*I could (and sometimes did) beat up the boys.

*I read anything I could get my hands on (was reading Tolkien in 4th grade).

*I had to swallow lima beans and green beans like vitamins to get them past my gag reflex (and to adhere to my father's strict "eat all your vegetables" rule).

*I loved Christmas more than any other time of year.

*I played the piano and the clarinet...state band, marching band etc. and I performed in music/drama teams from sixth grade on.

*I only listened to my father's impressive collection of classical records (and I do mean records).

*I named every doll I had and made up elaborate stories for their lives.

*I filled notebooks with journal entries, poems, and stories.

*I owned four pair of shoes each year: sandals for summer, tennis shoes for play, leather flats for school, and patent leather pumps (tiny heel) for church.

*I secretly hated dirt, worms, heights…

Note to Self

Dear C. J.,

Some things to remember:

1. It is not always wise to plot books, sing at the top of your lungs, and speed on the interstate at the same time. There's multi-tasking and then there's courting death.

2. Just because food is expensive doesn't mean it's palatable. A Fig and Nut cake costing more than a rockin' pair of stilettos tastes just as nasty as the name suggests.

3. Snorting food hurts.

4. Snorting diet coke hurts too.

5. Snorting air, when not done properly, causes an odd hacking noise that tends to scare off potential friends.

6. When the sound of a cat puking mysteriously intrudes on your dreams, MOVE!

7. Being kind is better than being right.

8. Not everyone can easily track the frequent non-sequiturs in your conversations. Hold on to the friends who can.

9. Never question any substance in the boys' bathroom. Just don protective gear and sterilize.

10. Never overlook an opportunity to tell your friends and family that you love them.

11. Dream extrav…

Tuesday's To-Do List

1. Discover a way to successfully remove hardened silly-putty from carpet.

2. Walk the dog, being sure not to allow him to poop on anyone's lawn (unless it's the lawn of that Lucy dog who keeps pooping on ours).

3. Do yet another load of laundry.

4. Read more of Katy's book and discipline self to slow down long enough to think of intelligent comments to make (Must Not Devour Book Whole! Must Not Devour Book Whole!).

5. Celebrate the end of a writing funk by detailing a synopsis and ruthlessly pruning a character from the manuscript...I'll bring him back in later.

6. Marvel that my boys have kept their rooms clean for several days in a row. Warn myself not to get used to it.

7. Convince myself that celery really is an enjoyable snack.

8. Send my nephew's overdue birthday card.

9. Iron, dang it. Iron. (Wrestles Captain Jack into position)

10. Work the closing shift at Cracker Barrel with Mal...try not to kill anyone with produce.

An Inconvenient Truth Indeed

I checked out the following story on snopes.com and found this very interesting - less because I support Bush than because Al Gore is such a pompous, lying windbag and it's a sorry thing indeed that he hails from my state. (You can check for yourself on snopes by clicking on "politics" then "George W. Bush" and as of today, it is the last entry on the page).

"The Story of Two Houses"


House #1 A 20 room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern "snow belt" area. It's in the South.


House #2 Designed by an architecture profe…

Death By ... Flying Carrot?

Last night, like every Friday night, Mal and I closed down Cracker Barrel together. As usual, we'd had a few small skirmishes throughout the night - this time started by Mal who threw a wad a paper at me AND then threw ice down the front of my shirt within just a few minutes of starting our shift.

Naturally I did not let that go unchallenged. = )

However, we called a truce after about an hour and all was peaceful.

Until...

We took our dinner break around 10 pm. I can't remember how it started because we enjoy conflict so much that there is rarely a noticeable break but somehow Mal said something minor that called for a small show of force and so I grabbed a spoonful of tartar sauce and aimed it at him.

He grabbed the bowl of tartar sauce and aimed right back.

I backed down. I was unequipped for that particular battle. One does not aim a peashooter at someone firing a bazooka.

However, Mal took the opportunity to say "You never think through anything" to me at that moment …

Friday's To Do List

1. Find a substance that will un-glue oatmeal from my table without also eating through my table. Try substance on the oatmeal that is mysteriously glued to my living room floor as well.

2. Firmly explain to my cat that entering the litter box but then backing up to the edge and depositing the goods onto the floor doesn't count as proper kitty etiquette.

3. Take the dog to the groomer's and wish them luck.

4. Wash my umpteenth load of laundry for this week.

5. Iron at least 30 items (*wrestles poster of the Fabulous Captain Jack into position for motivation but leaves the rum safely in the cupboard*).

6. Read a few more chapters of Katy's fantastically entertaining novel!! (*poster of Captain Jack not needed but travels easily to the office anyway*)

7. Plan to avoid getting a bucketful of ice dumped on me tonight by Mal, who has threatened me with certain doom after my clear, cinnamon-scented triumph on Wednesday....haven't shared the details here but it was a thing of subtl…

A Thought

today I overheard someone say

there's something wrong with the world today

when babies cry and no one comes

when we kill each other by the thousands

and we stuff our face while millions starve

and devour news of every broken heart

we see pain, suffering, and look away

lest it sink beneath our skin to stay

we hear the atrocities and shake our heads

congratulate ourselves in our comfortable beds

that we escaped another's fate

then complain we've got too much on our plate

and maybe it's right, maybe we're a mess

maybe we can't get out of this

maybe all of life is meaningless

unless

we see the child without a home

and throw open the doors of our own

we choose to spare when we could cause pain

we grieve with the one who is suffering

we open our eyes, we seek and find

the ones beside us who are dying

for compassion, for mercy, for someone to stand

and be their voice, be their friend

maybe we travel across the world to see

or maybe we look across our street

and find the courage to meet the nee…

Possible Prologue?

Below is a poem I wrote for an upcoming series (whose characters are getting louder and louder in my head - between this and Alexa, it's getting crowded!).


Darkness

beneath the careless pace we keep
beyond the nightmares in our sleep
crouched in our sorrow, grave and deep
the Darkness grows
inside the worry we won't admit
shrouding the hurt we can't forget
breeding in blood, warm and wet
the Darkness knows

we hear its voice but close our ears
we sense the horror but dry our tears
we do not recognize our fears
and the Darkness gathers strength
we see it but choose to look away
refusing the shadows that blight the day
we let our courage slip away
and the Darkness does not break

it feeds us its seductive lies
promising if we just close our eyes
turn our heads as an innocent dies
the Darkness with be our friend
we turn the key, open the door
shadows spill in, become our core
we hunger insatiably for more
and the Darkness knows no end

we offer our honor as sacrifice
we barter our souls to pay the price
in…

Beware The Golden Lasso

Mal, my hubby, and I were out Sunday night when we happened upon this license plate. Too perfect. Mal can't escape his alter ego...it was just meant to be.



Mal's Birthday Cake

My hubby made Mal (aka bluedragoon25) an awesome birthday cake! The sword is buried in an anvil with emeralds exploding out of it. The Chinese characters on the side stand for "Strength and Honor", the name of Mal's blog.



Keeping Current

Here is what I'm in to right now:

BOOKS:

THE FACE by Dean Koontz

THE PROMETHEUS DECEPTION by Robert Ludlum

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. Rowling


MUSIC:

THE HEART OF EVERYTHING by Within Temptation

FINALLY AWAKE by Seventh Day Slumber

END OF SILENCE by Red


FILMS:

Fracture

Shooter

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Inner Beauty

I am grateful for my life - the sum total, no exceptions.

It seems strange to say so, given all that I've experienced but still, it's true. If I had a magic wand that could erase everything that ever hurt me; if I could go back and fix all my many mistakes - I wouldn't do it.

I've decided that pain is important to learning how to live well. Mistakes are essential to shaping our core, cutting away the stuff we never needed and showing us what really counts.

And living well counts. Loving fearlessly, with everything you have and finding more when you need it, counts. Trusting others even though you know they're human, counts. Standing up for what is right, even when you have to stand against yourself, counts.

We need the heartache, the bittersweetness, the awful mistakes we still regret. If we didn't, we would be shallow, empty shells skimming the surface, never knowing the fierce beauty that lies so far beneath our skin.

And there is beauty beneath the skin. I se…

Things I'm Grateful For Today

1. For my incredible, hard-working husband who is having a "non-stop" day that started twelve hours ago and has no end in sight - but who still made time to meet me for lunch because he loves me.

2. For the 2 1/2 ft. poster of the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow that I found on sale at Blockbuster. For the sister poster that features Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth "Hide-The-Rum" Swan. Aye, matey.

3. For friends who keep in touch with me and forgive me when I take forever to get back to them.

4. For the gift of writing.

5. For the ironing pile....oh, nevermind, that's a lie. I HATE ironing.

6. For my boys.

7. For my daughter whose arrival comes closer by the month.

8. For my sense of humor.

9. For a library full of truly excellent books.

10. For feeling confident that I'm where I should be in life.

Stop. Drop. And Roll.

This past Thursday I succumbed to the summer cold germs floating around my workplace and spent most of the day lying on the couch, praying for more comfortable kleenex and considering the merits of snorting salsa as a way to clear out my sinuses.

I don't always come up with great ideas when I'm sick.

At 6 pm, I suddenly recalled that it was, indeed, Thursday and I was due to meet my friends at Applebees in an hour to send off one of our own who was moving to Georgia over the weekend.

I couldn't not go. You don't miss the going-away send-off for one of your girlfriends unless you are dead or something very close.

So, I hauled myself off the couch, bypassed the salsa in favor of the maximum doseage of decongestant and four Ibuprofens. Those of you who recall my inability to tolerate hard liquor will not be surprised that this drug cocktail made me slightly loopy.

Okay, more than slightly but hey, I was off the couch. That counts for something.

My hubby and the kids were out …

Writing Process: Setting

Creating a vivid setting in the reader's mind is paramount to excellent writing.

I've been thinking about setting recently and comparing some of my favorite authors. It's been interesting to note that their methods varied widely. =)

J.K. Rowling is hands-down one of the best at "world-building", which, to my mind, is more intricate and involved than merely creating a setting. What I love about her writing is that she just dives in without undo explanation and before you know it, you are captured by her voice, her world, and it unfolds in glorious brilliance in your mind. You find yourself unfazed by moving portraits, leaping chocolate frogs, and patronus' (is that the correct plural?) winging through the woods.

Rowling adds description at the beginning of each new location, sprinkles additional details between her dialogue, and, one of her best qualities, always tags on a phrase or two with the entrance of each character to ensure that the reader instantly …

Where Do We Find These People?

Sometimes the people I wait on say the silliest things.

Last night, one woman kept me at the table for two minutes to expound (passionately!) about the fact that we offer biscuits or cornbread and not rolls. Apparently this is a travesty of no small dimension. She was of the opinion that we were standing firmly in the wrong and I needed to contact our Home Office and explain to them that we really needed ROLLS.

Yeah, let me get right on that.

Two things, lady. First, you are telling the wrong person because a) the decision makers at Cracker Barrel do not wear aprons and b) I completely DO NOT care. Why people think they can walk into a restaurant and complain about what isn't on the menu is a mystery to me. If you don't like the menu, go somewhere else. Problem solved.

Next, I had a man order tea. In the South, there are two kinds of tea. Sweet and Unsweet. As the names would seem to indicate, Sweet Tea contains a teeth-achingly large amount of sugar. Unsweet Tea doesn&…

Interview With C.J.

I just completed an interview on another site and thought I would post the transcript here as well for those of you not on my facebook page!

What is your favorite song of all time?
Blessed Be Your Name by Tree 63

What would you do if you are going to die in the next minute?
Pray and prepare my heart...say I love you to those around me.

If you had to rule your empire/country/city with an iron fist, which dictator would you model yourself after?
Machiavelli

Least favorite song in the world?
Anything with yodelling, spelling out a word (yes, Fergie, that means you), or where beer is mentioned even once.

What is your favorite movie quote?
"Never tell me the odds" - Han Solo

Mozart or Salieri?
Mozart. Don't mess with the master.

What would be the soundtrack to the movie about your life?
Evanescence meets Harry Potter

If you had to make a movie about your life what would it be called?
Stranger than Fiction

If a tree fell down in the forrest and hit a mime, would it make a sound?
I don't kno…

Happy Birthday Malystryx!

Malystryx is celebrating his birthday today (and also entering the next decade of his life!). My hubby is finishing a really cool birthday cake for him with a sword buried in an anvil and spilling shattered gems out of the anvil and around the hilt of the sword. It's amazing.

I want to wish Mal a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and give my top ten reasons why I'm glad he was born:

1. He is one of my best friends and I can't imagine my life without him.

2. He not only loves the concept of a code of honor, he lives one.

3. He is constantly trying to take over the world. (never a boring moment!)

4. His loyalty to God, his family, and his friends is absolutely unshakeable.

5. He makes me laugh.

6. His comptetive streak is insane. (and is a match for mine! yay!)

7. He is a deep thinker and isn't afraid to dig into ideas that others might find too "out there" to contemplate.

8. He is unapologetic about who he is: Take him or leave him, he'll be fine.

9. Once he loves someone (fiancee,…

Heads Up!

It's always good to have strategies in place when we're out on the town. Something that isn't on this list but that I do is hold my keys tightly in my hand with the longest/sharpest pointing out so I can gouge anyone who attacks me.

Also, slapping doesn't stop anyone who is attacking you. It's much better to keep your arms and legs closer in to your body and send short, powerful chops at vulernable areas like the throat and crotch.

Here is a list of other safety measures you can take (recently emailed to me by Mom -thanks!):

1 Tip from Tae Kwon Do : The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans: If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you.... chances are
that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go
for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!


3. If you are ever thrown into the tr…

Brain Blast!

I've been stuck in a mess of my own making in the middle of the Alexa book. I introduced a character and then watched my plot run away in a direction I never intended.

Five chapters into that and I could see that it just wasn't working.

I left it alone for a week, examining the situation, trying to figure out where I went wrong and how to get the book back on track.

Two nights ago, I went to see Bourne Ultimatum with friends and halfway through the movie, I figured it out.

It was a little hard to concentrate on the movie and replot/reposition my characters but, like many writers I know, once an idea took hold and I could feel that it was right, I couldn't let it go.

Unfortunately, I have to scrap five chapters but it's worth it just to get it right!

Where Do I Hide The Body?

Tonight, I entered the seventh circle of Hell that is Back to School shopping.

I, like about ten thousand other local moms here in Tennessee, decided to take advantage of the "sales tax free" weekend to find all the items on the somewhat lengthy lists of needed supplies sent to me by each child's grade. I had the opportunity three months ago to purchase these supplies from our school's PTO and I turned it down, convinced that if I did it myself I could save money.

This was one of the stupidest ideas I've ever had.

Next spring, when I'm offered the opportunity to pre-buy school supplies and I mention wanting to do it myself to save twenty dollars, somebody slap me.

Hard.

I entered Wal-Mart at 8pm, deluded into thinking that most moms would be done with their shopping or having dinner with their families or tucking their children into bed or just somewhere else.

This was not the case.

Not only were there plenty of other moms in Wal-Mart at 8 pm, they were toting all …

Congratulations!!

My hubby entered the county fair's cake decorating competition this week with a 2 1/2 foot high cake sculpture of a bride and groom dancing on a hardwood ballroom floor and (drum roll please)....

He won first place!!

I'm so proud of him. It makes the Cake Siege worth it.

3 Down, 2 To Go

The month of July marked 3 years of being "in remission" for me. Two more years and I am officially pronounced "cured", although my oncologist is quick to remind me that no one is ever truly "cured".

I know that. But three years down the road, I don't worry about it so much now.

I used to.

When I first woke up after my first operation and saw my husband's face, I knew something was terribly wrong. I've never seen his face so white, so strained. He could barely speak.

I thought he must have misunderstood the doctor.

Then my doctor entered the room and I saw his face too.

I knew.

My doctor said it would take 3 days for the test results but I saw his face, I heard his voice and I knew.

I spent the next three days comforting my family and convincing myself that I couldn't possibly have cancer. I was thirty. Women at thirty didn't get cancer, did they? It was something else. Something easy. Something non-fatal.

When I called the doctor'…