Monday, April 30, 2007

Podiatis Salivitus Disease

Otherwise known as "Open Mouth, Insert Foot".

Two nights ago, I was talking with a kid at work. He's sixteen, nice kid, works hard...I decided to pick his brain a little on the terms teens are using these days to describe themselves.

I don't write YA but hey, you never know. Information always seems to come in handy.

So he's explaining the term EMO, the current definition of punk (I pointed out that this was exactly what it meant to be punk when I was in high school...he was in deep denial over that one, let me tell you.), and then he uses the term "hard core" and pauses to see if I have any CLUE what that might mean.

Ummm, let me see...I grew up in the age of the big hair bands when AC/DC and Motley Crue were slamming it out at concerts and everyone morphed into one big mosh pit. I saw the invention of grunge leak its way out of Seattle and settle onto our radios. I graduated the year Kurt Cobain took his life. Kids wore all black or ripped and tattered clothes and refused all forms of personal hygiene (that's sticking it to the establishment! I haven't bathed and you can't make me. Ha!).

I have a vague idea what hard core can mean.

I told him this and he gave me this tiny little smile and said, "Well, that was like a century ago. It means something different now."


I'd like to finish this story in all its gory details but my lawyer says I really shouldn't.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Disaster in Gold Lame (la-may): Part Two

As you learned in Disaster: Part One, I now owned a gold lame thong (along with other undies in various styles, colors, and stages of use...most were new, in my Mom's defense). What you don't know is that my Mom sent not one, but TWO. Double trouble.

I packed them away in my underwear drawer and forgot all about it. (Those of you who know me well are shocked, I realize, that I didn't immediately jump on the opportunity to wear gold lame. I assure you, I have no quarrel with the fabric. It's dramatic. I love drama. It's the thought of wearing dental floss as an undergarment that throws. me. I don't wear anything that has to be surgically removed should I be unfortunate enough to bend over.)

One morning, as I woke later than usual for my teaching job. It was still dark outside as I snatched a pair of underwear and an outfit and hastily ran out the door. Yes, you guessed it, I grabbed the gold lame thong.

I was somewhat uncomfortable with my underwear choice but didn't have time to change it (besides, I was a little behind on laundry *euphamism for absolutely no other underwear clean* so my options were limited).

It wasn't until fourth period (FOUR CLASSES INTO MY DAY) that I clued in to the fact that I was wearing WHITE pants. White pants plus flashy gold and black lame thong.

That explained all the strange looks in my direction.

I didn't live that one down either.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Public Apology

I have had a crazy week. I'm not sure how it happened but it was crazier than normal and that is saying something!

Anyway, I have several writing samples that I promised to critique just sitting in my inbox, neglected and forlorn.

To the writers: I'm sorry.

I know how it feels to send your work out to someone and then anxiously wait for their comments and feedback. I hate waiting. I like instant gratification! I've made you wait and I'm sorry. However, in the interest of giving you the best feedback possible, I want to give your work the time and attention it deserves. I will be sending out at least one critique today and more to follow.

Just a little more patience...It's coming, I promise.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Tale of Gold Lame (pronounced la - may): Part One

All families have their little quirks. My father is the Master Packer and can get an amazing amount of stuff into any size suitcase or box using his Master Packer skills. My mother does not throw away any item of clothing, no matter what it is. Old pants? Donate them or give them to your daughter. Old sheets? Rag basket or give them to your daughter. Old underwear? Dust rags or give them to your daughter.

One day my parents' quirks came together and caused A Disaster in Gold Lame.

The Disaster ocurred before I had children. I was teaching high school English at the time. My mother wanted to send a box of Christmas presents to me. So far, so good.

Mistake #1: My mother asked my father to pack the box. He was disatisfied with the amount of space left in the box and asked her if she had anything else she could send to fill up that space.

Mistake #2: My mother had a supply of spare underwear (many with the tags still on since she is patently unable to bypass a good clearance rack)

Mistake #3: My dad used the underwear to FILL the box.

Mistake #4: My mother sent the box to my school so it wouldn't disappear off my front doorstep while I was at work.

Mistake #5: The office paged me to come get my box and when I arrived, several secretaries, teachers, and even the principal were there, all urging me to open the box and see what I got for Christmas.

Mistake #6: I opened the box.

Result: The firmly packed underwear exploded from it's cramped quarters. Pastel pink undies slid across the secretary's keyboard. Daring red bikinis landed in the trash. But worse, WORSE, was the gold lame thong that flung itself at my principal's feet.

I did not live that one down.

More on the gold lame Disaster later...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lost in Translation

So yesterday, the bus my kids ride was an hour late coming home from school. When I asked my middle son to explain what happened, he said,

"Some kid hacked up a furball and we had to hose down the bus."

Clearly he is spending too much time with my cat.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Things I Wish I Didn't Know

Courtesy of a marathon cleaning session in my boys' room.

1. My children find it perfectly acceptable to store dirty dishes under their beds.

2. It HURTS to sit on a Ninja Turtle. (Darn that Michaelangelo and his num-chucks)

3. It also HURTS to step on a Lego. (Why do they make toys capable of impaling the human foot? Shouldn't that be illegal?)

4. The toybox doubles as a hamper and the more dirty socks you hide inside, the better.

5. Fig Newtons, left to their own devices for months, make excellent weapons.

6. Gusher Fruit Snacks, left to their own devices for months, also make excellent weapons.

7. Yogurt, left to its own devices for months, does not.

8. We have 13 shoes between my two youngest but only three pair.

9. It is NOT FUNNY to pile Legos on top of the ceiling fan and wait for Mom to unknowingly turn it on.

10. Snot, systematically wiped on a wall, is nearly impossible to remove.

And people wonder why the thought of spring cleaning makes me twitch.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Heroic Choice

A situation that happened recently at my job is bugging me. One girl, a single mom of an adorable little girl, said horrible things to another girl, a single young girl who placed her little girl into another home through adoption at birth.

The single mom said it was a selfish, hateful act and wondered how could any mother give away their baby.

What an awful thing to say. Especially when it isn't even true.

My family is in the final stages of adopting a baby girl. She is mine in the same way my biological boys are mine. When a pregnant girl choose to give her child life and to place them in a home where they will be well-loved and cared for, she has made a courageous choice on behalf of her child.

Isn't that what mothers do?

It doesn't make her less of a mother. In fact, such an agonizing choice can only be made for the child. How unselfish is that? Most children who are placed in adopting homes are not "given away". They are given life in a way the mother, at the time, cannot give.

She is still a mother. And a heroic one at that.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Death To Moths!

Last week, I helped host a bridal shower for a friend. One of the games involved listing the letters of the bride and groom's names and then writing a word for that letter that described some aspect of marriage.

We had the usual suspects: rings, matrimony, friendship, til death do you part etc.

The best, though, was one entry for the letter 'B': Bug Killer

I come from strong Swedish stock on my mother's side. We do not faint. We do not scream. We kill our own bugs.

Case in point: My grandmother. She is two short generations away from the Old Country and she has always been remarkably self-sufficient. Once, when I was young, I remember her spotting a fat black spider on her living room wall. She "tsked" (yes, she does actually tsk), walked right up to it, and SMASHED IT WITH HER BARE HAND.

My mother was the second person ever in our family to marry a non-Swede so since my blood is a bit diluted, I use a paper towel. The point is, however, I can kill bugs. I've smashed spiders, swept them down from the ceiling and hunted them with a shoe, yanked a wasp out of my toddler's hair and flung it to the ground, and once, in an ill-fated effort to be a good wife, I slapped a mosquito to death. (The fact that it was currently on my husband's cheek caused some small controversy)



Little fluttery things that won't stay in one place and just keep coming no matter what. I hate them. Passionately. My hubby has to kill them for me because I leave the room as fast as dignity will allow.

I still do not faint (and give them a chance to roost on me? Not likely). Nor do I scream. (God knows one of them would fly right down my throat.)

I can't explain this irrational fear. It doesn't jibe with my grandmother or my Mom who take on anything with the unmitigated gall to sail through their front door.

My husband accepts this part of me and willingly takes on the role of MOTH KILLER. I unplug all the toilets and clean up vomit. He kills moths. It's a fair trade.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Once Byten, Twice Shy

As you all know, my hook posted on fff's LiveJournal community yesterday. Many people commented. I wanted to reply to those comments but to do so as anything other than "annonymous", I needed a LiveJournal account.

Easy fix, right?

Here's what happened:

ME: Okay, so, click on this to set up a LiveJournal account. Should be pretty simple.

COMPUTER:*snicker, snicker*

ME: Choose a user name. Well, that's easy. c_j_redwine

COMPUTER: Please choose a password.

ME: Okay. *types password used in a few other places; one that is easily remembered*

COMPUTER: Password would be more secure by using an additional number or symbol.

ME: No, I'm fine. *enters password choice again*

COMPUTER: Password would be more secure by using an additional -

ME: But I don't want an additional number or symbol. I might not remember it. I have a lot on my mind, you know.

COMPUTER: Password would be more secure -

ME: Fine! Fine. *types random symbol at the end of password*. Happy now?

COMPUTER: Congratulations! You've just opened a LiveJournal account.

ME: You do know you're going to have send that password to my email address at least ninety times a month, right?

COMPUTER: What do you want to do first? *lists options: edit profile, add avatar, post a message*

ME: Ooooh, an avatar would be cool. I've always wanted one of those. *clicks choice*

COMPUTER: Please enter code for avatar.

ME: Code? What code?

COMPUTER: I can't tell you that. Besides, how can you not know the code? Are you or are you not a member of the internet generation? *computer actually does not answer me but the look it gave me said all of the above*

ME: Of course I'm part of the internet generation. I can figure this out. Code. A code. Some sort of secret code. *types password into blank*

COMPUTER: What game are you trying to play, here? *actually said "this is not a valid code" but the tone - the tone said it all*

ME: Just testing you. I know the code. *gets brilliant brainstorm to open a second browser window and search for avatars. thirty minutes later, finds one and retrieves the code*

COMPUTER: Enter code for avatar.

ME: *proudly types in code*

COMPUTER: There was a problem with the code.

ME: What sort of problem?

COMPUTER: *stubbornly refuses to answer*

ME: Did I type it wrong? I typed it wrong, didn't I? *returns to avatar page and copies code instead. returns to LiveJournal page and pastes code*

COMPUTER: There was a problem with the code.

ME: No, there isn't. There isn't a problem. I have the code. I gave you the code. *re-pastes and hits enter*

COMPUTER: There was a problem with -

ME: Forget it! Who needs an avatar anyway? I'll just finish the set up and go on about my day.

COMPUTER: Would you like to post a message to start your LiveJournal?

ME: Yes! Yes. Posting, I know how to do. *clicks on post button*

COMPUTER: Title of Post?

ME: Come check out my blog!

COMPUTER: Current music?

ME: Music? I'm supposed to do this to music?

COMPUTER: Nevermind. Current mood?

ME: *erroneously chooses "creative" from the list of options when, as it turns out, supremely irritated would be much more accurate*

COMPUTER: *gives no other options*

ME: Where do I type the message? *scrolls up and down the page several times, clicking on random sections of white in the hopes that somehow, one of them would let me type*

COMPUTER: *remains most unhelpful*

ME: I can't type a post. There's nowhere to type. How do people use this thing? *decides that perhaps LiveJournal likes to have title, music, and mood upfront before granting its minions the power of the typed word and hits "post" *

COMPUTER: There is a problem. You have not typed a message.

ME: Oh. What? Did I miss -? I must have missed it... *hits "back" and looks for a place to type the message.*

COMPUTER: *smugly waits for the inevitable*

ME: There's nowhere to type. Unless, for some reason, LiveJournal wants it all in the subject line? *types a few sentences into subject line as it is the only place on the entire page that will accept words*

COMPUTER: There is a problem. You have not typed a message.

ME: I bloody well have.

COMPUTER: There is a problem. You have not typed -

ME: *hits "back" key* Look! Look at this page, you miserable excuse for a website. I'd love to type a message. I really, really would. But there is NOWHERE to type.

COMPUTER: There is a problem. You have not -

ME: If you think I wasted all this time to have no avatar and nothing posted, you've got another think coming. *hits "post" again*

COMPUTER: There is a problem. You have not-

ME: Say that to me one more time and I'll SMASH YOU WITH A HAMMER! *takes monitor in both hands and gives it a good shake*

COMPUTER: *arrogantly leaves error message in plain view, tempting both the fates and my husband's large supply of tools*

ME: *realizes belatedly that manhandling and shouting death threats at inanimate objects is not the mark of a sane person* Fine. Keep your journal. Your avatars and your secret codes. Keep your current emotion and your posts that require some technological form of a seven-year-old's secret handshake. Who needs you? *defiantly closes the entire window and walks away*

The score, unfortunately, is LiveJournal - 1, C.J. - 0

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Contest Update #2


I made it into the semi-finals. I am thrilled! 16 of us (out of 250), get to submit our first five pages and one of us will win a personal consultation on our first three chapters with Rachel Vater: one of the best agents out there.

Here is the judge's response to my hook:

The presentation & voice both snag my interest. The first paragraph is effective as an “eye-catching strategy.” The following paragraphs give overview & utilize pauses for tension to escalate. I like what it could indicate about the writing.

In re: plot, the story seems to have a strong MC (main character) who isn’t one of the “usual suspects” in paranormal/UF novels, a romantic thread/triangle, and good potential for action. I’d like to read more of this one. If I saw this out in the ether, I'd email my agent & tell her to check it out.

How to Write a Query in 40 Simple Steps

A query is the one-page letter you send to agents and publishers pitching your novel.

1. Pour yourself a small glass of gin & tonic.
2. Sip slowly, savoring the taste, as you carefully list your novel's main characters and conflicts.
3. Struggle to label your work with the appropriate genre.
4. Pour more gin and tonic to boost brain power.
5. Craft a first sentence that both grabs the reader's attention and conveys the essence of your novel.
6. Re-read first sentence.
7. Acknowledge that first sentence is absolute crap and delete the entire thing.
8. Pour more gin and tonic, minus the tonic.
9. Skip first sentence and dive into character descriptions.
10. Re-read character descriptions.
11. Acknowledge that character descriptions cannot be three paragraphs each and delete all but a few sentences.
12. Drain gin bottle.
13. Toss in a few sentences describing the conflict.
14. Re-read sentences describing conflict.
15. Acknowledge that the conflict sounds rather weak.
16. Toss in a conflict that isn't actually in the novel but could be, if the agent asks for a partial.
17. Wander to the kitchen for more gin.
18. Wonder what idiot put that wall in your way.
19. Return to desk.
20. Re-read query.
21. Drink two swallows of gin straight from the bottle.
22. Decide that "I have a fiction novel that totally kicks Dean Koontz's sorry keister" is an acceptable first sentence.
23. Study the problem of deciding on a genre.
24. Take a few swallows of gin for fortification.
25. Realize you now see two keyboards on your desk instead of one. Choose which one to use.
26. Type madly for thirty seconds before realizing you are simply banging on your desk.
27. Swallow some gin and choose the other keyboard.
28. Decide that literary-paranormal-romantic-suspense-thriller-with-historical-sci-fi-elements is an acceptable genre for your novel.
29. Re-read query.
30. Insert adverbs generously and prolifically throughout to spice up the prose.
31. Print.
32. Spend five minutes cursing the foul beast of a computer for refusing such a simple request.
33. Turn printer on.
34. Print.
35. Sign name.
36. Realize you've misspelled your name.
37. Curse the gin.
38. Apologize to the gin.
39. Re-print, re-sign, seal in an envelope.
40. Send query.

Update on Contest

A few posts down, I talked about a contest hosted by the pubbed authors at for unpubbed authors hooks. The good news is that I'm in!! Hook #45 out of 250. Only 16 of those will be asked to submit pages next week.

The hooks are divided up evenly between 16 judges and each judge picks one from his/her group. I'll let you know if I advance. Either way, I get some solid critique and advice from published authors and that is always a good thing!

(But you know me, I'm in it to WIN)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Burning Down the House?

My children have selective memory syndrome. I've heard it's a common affliction. Yesterday, a firetruck went by on the main road, sirens wailing, and of course glued every boy in the house to the nearest window.

As the siren faded into the distance, one of my little cherubs piped up, "Hey Mom! Remember when the fireman had to come to our house because you set the kitchen on fire?"

This is not what happened.

I am surrounded by people who are closet pyros.

My husband, for example, once set his college dorm on fire twice in one semester. Once by lighting paper airplanes on fire and throwing them out the window - never dreaming the window beneath his would be open and the draft would suck that burning missile inside where it would land on a biology book and some drapes and cause much screaming and cursing as it devoured both. Once by writing something on the carpet in shaving cream and then lighting a match. (Of course, it goes without saying that if you are an administrator from Pepperdine University reading this, I am making the whole thing up.)

My father and his twin brother, when they were five, played with matches under the wooden bleachers at the local highschool and burned the whole thing down.

As we all know, my friend FOOL put his money in a microwave and burned it up.

I, on the other hand, have never intentionally burned anything. I've never played around with matches and wooden structures fifty times my size. I don't stash my cash in my microwave.

But yes, my stove did catch on fire and yes, the firemen were dispatched to put it out. What my children fail to recall is that the fire was completely their fault.


Because I had a gas stove. I turned on the oven to cook dinner. I opened the door to check on dinner and flames/smoke were everywhere. The cause, an amused fireman informed me, was the broiler full of match box cars parked inside a plastic fig newton container.

And my mom says I'm not living on the edge.

Friday, April 13, 2007

How To Handle A Phone Solicitor

I don't like phone solicitors. Who does? They call at the most inconvenient times, don't listen to a thing you say, and try to take your money.

A solicitor's number has been popping up on our caller i.d. no less than 5 times a day for the past 3 days. I've ignored it every time. Today, I got sick of running down the stairs, sure that the school was calling with the news that my middle child had finally succeeded in his lifelong quest to fly off a roof.

Today, I answered.

Here is the basic gist of the phone call.

CJ: Hello?

IDIOT: Hello, Mrs. Redwine?

CJ: Who's calling please?

IDIOT: How are you today, Mrs. Redwine?

CJ: Who's calling?

IDIOT: How are you today?

CJ: Listen, this is my phone, I ask the questions. Either you answer me or I hang up.

IDIOT: Oh, well, umm, yes, you see, this is (unpronouncable name) calling on behalf of Bell South Communications.

CJ: What do you want?

IDIOT: Well, I was just looking through your phone records -

CJ: What for? I didn't authorize that.

IDIOT: Yes, well, Mrs. Redwine, I was just looking through your phone records and I noticed that you have DSL.

CJ: Good for you.

IDIOT: How is your DSL working for you?

CJ: Let's get to the point here. You and I both know if my DSL wasn't working properly I would call Bell South myself. Instead, you are calling me. What are you selling?

IDIOT: Well, Mrs. Redwine, no, I'm not - I'm just, I noticed that you could get five times faster internet connection on your DSL with no additional charges to your monthly phone bill.

CJ: So you want me to believe that you are calling me to give me something for free?

IDIOT: It is no additional charge to your monthly phone bill, okay?

CJ: Okay what?

IDIOT: Okay to the new upgraded service.

CJ: No. Are you calling to give me something for free or are you calling to sell me something?

IDIOT: If you would just let me tell you, Mrs. Redwine, I've been looking at your phone records -

CJ: It's a yes or no question. Are you selling me something or not?

IDIOT: Is your husband at home? Can I talk to him?

CJ: Oh you did NOT just ask me that!

IDIOT: Can I talk to him?

CJ: Absolutely not. He feeds people like you to me for breakfast. We don't want whatever it is you're selling, we don't want any changes to our service, and we don't want to be harrassed with any more phone calls.

IDIOT: But Mrs. Redwine -

CJ: Never call here again. (click)

And that is how you handle a phone solicitor.

Update on FOOL

It's been a while since FOOL shoved chocolate cake in my face and got coated with psuedo-baby vomit for his trouble.

Things have been quiet.

He thinks it's because all is well. I know it's because I am really, really good at paitently lying in wait for the perfect moment.

FOOL has not been idle, however. Three nights ago, he colllided with someone in the kitchen and got a pocket full of sweet tea. (I swear, I had nothing to do with it. I was on the other side of the restaurant at the time.)

Unfortunately for FOOL, his pocket full of tea was also his pocket full of cash. Over $100 in cash, completely soaked.

What would you do with $100 of soaking wet cash? Blot it with a towel or two? Lay it out to dry?


FOOL put his money in the microwave.

One minute later, his money was a flaming pile of cash turning rapidly to ash. (And don't even get me started on the smell!)

I've heard of having money to burn, but FOOL is the first person I've met who took that statement literally.

(Before I sound completely heartless...we all felt sorry for him and offered to give him some of our tips to offset the damage. FOOL may be on my "to be destroyed" list but I don't wish him misfortune unless I'm the one dishing it out.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Got Comments?

Okay, so another guy I work with (who wants a cool nickname like FOOL. Let's go with...UNO - stands for Unwise Not-thinking-clearly Oughtta-know-better)complained that he wanted to share stories/comments/whatever on this blog that weren't germaine to any of my posts.


I'll resist the urge to tell you to GET YOUR OWN BLOG if you have so much to share, and instead (because, as everyone knows, I am the very soul of restraint), I'm putting up this post.

Comment freely.

Say anything you like.

Just don't expect all of it to get published. **pats self on back for forseeing the need to enable comment moderation**

Hook Contest Entry

There is a contest going on a . Basically, unpublished authors can send in a "hook" for their current novel. The first 180 received will get reviewed by judges (published authors), the twelve best will be picked to send pages in for review as well and the best will get a personal consultation with one of the top literary agents in this field.

Of course, I entered. Hopefully I made it into the first 180. I'll keep you posted.

Here's what I sent. A hook is basically like the back flap of a book - what you read to see if it interests you enough to buy it. Please let me know what you think!! If it grabs you enough that you'd buy it off the shelf, what worked best? What stood out? If you'd pass, why? What was missing?

I need the feedback. This is what I'll be using to query agents on this series and I want it as perfect as possible!!

Recipe for Disaster, New York City style:

Take one seriously toned single girl. Add a pinch of “please-God-just-kill-me-now” blind dates, a nefarious Twinkie thief, and some kick-butt vigilante justice under the cover of darkness. Mix in two handsome men: a human cop who should be off-limits and a non-human warrior who cannot be trusted. Blend violently with a killer skilled in mind-control and focused on destroying New York City. Put on a pair of Manolo Blahniks, your best little red dress, and slam it down.

Alexa Tate isn’t human. She calls herself Other. She can swim underwater without holding her breath, outrun a New York City taxicab, and scale a brick building in five seconds flat. A receptionist by day, she uses her skills to hunt down evil under the cover of night. She is stronger, faster, and more lethal than anyone she’s ever met.

Until now.

Two Others have come to town. One wants to destroy Alexa. One says he wants to save her.

Alexa believes in saving herself.

To do so, she must uncover the truth about her birthright, keep a certain handsome cop from suspecting her of crimes she may have committed, and hunt down the Others one by one.

Living in New York City can be murder.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Got Your Hormone Level Right Here!

So today I had my sixth month oncology check-up involving a pap smear and various episodes of probing and swabbing best left to the imagination. Most women go through a smaller version of this (one that doesn't involve the dr. sticking his hands so far up inside he triggers your gag reflex) once a year. In the last three years, I've had this gem of an experience 12 times.


There is nothing that can give you back your dignity during this examination but I have a few suggestions that might improve my overall outlook (yanno, from "touch me one more time and they won't be able to identify you with dental records" to a more moderate "I'd like to hurt you but in the interest of getting out of here faster, I'll refrain.")

1. Stock magazines in the examination room that I would actually enjoy reading. Today my choices were Bassmaster and some local magazine whose featured article bore the fascinating title "Menswear Lightens Up". Yeah, like I care. And honestly, any woman facing the long metal speculum used in the pap smear really doesn't want to study up on fishing poles.

2. Buy paper gowns that actually cover my body. I get that I have to strip from the waist down. It's necessary, I know. What I don't appreciate is having to choose which side of me to cover as I sit waiting on the examination table. One of these days, I'll get fed up enough to just chuck the whole thing and then you'll be sorry. Very sorry.

3. Eschew the useless small talk. Don't put my feet up in the stirrups, exposing me to breezes where breezes shouldn't be, and then ask me about my day. I guarantee you won't like my answer.

4. Warm up the speculum. I don't need it hot. I really don't even need it warm. Room temperature would do. Anything but the current "reminds me of a trip to the Arctic" temperature you currently use. Nobody likes to be impaled with a popsicle. Don't believe me? Bend over and I'll demonstrate.

5. When I get understandably irritated at the whole experience, do not frown at me and ask me about my hormone level. I'm lying, half naked, nowhere near covered by a gown of less quality than my bargain brand paper towels, with eight inches of frozen metal stuck inside me. I'm not at my best. Any violent tendancies on my part at this point fall neatly under the category of "justifiable homicide".

This has been a public service announcement. (And can I get an "Amen" from the women reading this!)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Do You Smell That?

Yesterday, as my kids hunted for bright plastic eggs, I remembered a fiasco from Easters past.

My mom always hard-boiled a dozen eggs each for my sister and me to decorate. On Easter, we spent hours hiding and finding these eggs in our living room. We hid eggs inside my mom's collection of china teacups, balanced them in the folds of the heavy drapes, placed them inside my dad's record player, and rolled them under the couch. We were egg hiding pros.

One year, we finished our Easter afternoon with twenty-three eggs. This was a problem because a) we started with twenty-four and b) we were using REAL eggs.

We searched all over that room. My mom helped. My dad was called in for emergency back-up. We tipped our green upholstered rocking chair over. No egg. We shook out the heavy green drapes. No egg. We looked in every glass and china whatnot my mom owned. No egg. Finally, we gave up.

Not the best plan.

A few weeks later, we came home from school to THE SMELL.

Very few things in life can smell as pungent as an egg left out in a heated room for weeks. I haven't smelled anything quite like it again and I sincerely hope I never do.

Fortunately, with such a strong odor to guide us, we found the egg.

Told you we were egg hiding pros.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

ABC's, Southern Style

Thanks to Malystryx for the idea.

A is for alligator in your swimming pool, your sewer, or your stew

B is for "bless her heart", big hair, and beer

C is for country music, cow pies, and chicken livers fried

D is for dixie land

E is for Extreme Sports: 30 year old rednecks with a keg, dynamite, and an available sewer. Good times!

F is for furriner - anyone north of Tennesse or west of the Mason-Dixon line

G is for grits, gravy, and gun racks on every truck

H is for humidity the likes of which the rest of the country has never seen

I is for interpreter: what you need to understand people in the deep South

J is for Jack Daniels (Mr. Daniels if you're a furriner)

K is for Krispy Kreme

L is for livestock traffic reports (problems with poultry on Hwy 40...) and lawnmowers with v-8 engines.

M is for mosquitos the size of golf balls and Mullets (the always fashionable hair style of choice for the style-conscious redneck)

N is for NASCAR

O is for okra (okri if you're really backwoods)

P is for Piggly Wiggly, pecan pie, and pass the gravy

Q is for quantity (big hair, big families, big attitude)

R is for redneck (known by their accent and their fine assortment of broken down appliances displayed to best advantage on their front lawn)

S is for sweet tea

T is for turnip greens

U is for "U better get off my property, boy, before I reload my shotgun. I won't miss a second time."

V is for vinegar, required condiment for greens

W is for wild turkeys (by the dozens), the War of Northern Aggression, and Walmart

X is for xenophone (the inherent distrust southerners have of furriners from places like Idaho and Michigan)

Y is for "ya'll come back now, you hear?"

Z is for zig-zag, the pattern you must run to avoid a redneck's shotgun blast.

If I missed anything, feel free to add it with a comment!

Raised in a Barn?

Last night I waited on a party of 5 - a mom, her three kids, and the man she was dating. The man went to great lengths to sound extremely generous: "Order whatever you want", "Let him have another root beer", "It's all on me tonight, get anything you like" etc.

What a class act, right?


He stiffed me. An hour and twenty minutes of running back and forth for them and he didn't leave me a dime.

Here's the deal. You can pay lip service to being generous and decent. You can say anything you want to the people you try to impress. But how you treat the person you think you'll never see again is the true measure of your integrity.

This man was a jackass in a nice suit. Perhaps he should dine in a barn with the other farm animals and stop pretending.

He thinks I won't remember him? I could spot him at the mall.

Here's a quick tipping guide for the clueless out there:

1. Tipping 10 percent is a sure indicator that you are either a) old enough to be captivated by commercials lauding denture cream and diabetes tests or b) too cheap to part with one more dollar to reward good service.

2. The standard for basic, acceptable service is 20%. Your waiter/waitress makes a measly $2.13 an hour and runs his/her feet off all night doing every little thing you need so you don't have to do anything but sit there and eat. The least you can do is meet the basic standard in tipping.

3. Excellent service, the kind that wows you with friendliness, accuracy, and prompt meeting of your needs deserves 25-30%. Shake off your inner Scrooge and try generosity on for size. You'll feel good about it, I promise.

Reasons Why You Should Tip Well:

1. Your waiter/waitress works hard and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. If you don't think so, the barn has stalls available.

2. We remember faces. We really do. Don't you think it's wise to treat well the one person with the power to wipe your steak on the bathroom floor before serving it to you? Think that kind of thing doesn't happen? I hope you've had your shots.

It all comes down to this: What kind of person are you really? A generous person treating others with respect? Or a card-carrying member of the barn?

Harry Potter Trailer & More!

The final trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has been released, and I'm not going to lie. I get choked up every ti...