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Showing posts from December, 2008

Reply From Mr. or Ms. C.J. Redwine

Dear Mr. or Ms. C.J. Redwine,(Hm. Yes, I can see how a pink page, an obsession with stilettos, and the constant reference to myself as a mother might cause confusion as to my gender.)

I'm a reader of your blog.(Are you now?) You seem like a smart businessperson.(Really? My hubby begs to differ. Oh. Wait. You didn't know about my hubby.)I too am a businessperson.(I'm guessing your talents lie somewhere below mine. Waaaay below.)We could have a mutual profitable relationship with your blog and my web site.(Reeeaaalllyyy?)

If your (It's "you're," actually, but on the grand scale of errors you've made here, it isn't really important.)interested in having a fun site like Idiots R Us(slight paraphrasing on my part, but definitely more accurate)attached to your blog (like a tumor, perhaps?), go ahead and link. Publicity makes the world go around!(And here I thought it was love. Or at least money.)

Thanks!

Idiots R Us(Actual name and site redacted because I …

It's 10:21 a.m.--Do you know where YOUR glue stick is?

1. I took a few days off from blogging for two reasons.

2. One, I wanted to be offline as much as possible to enjoy time with my family over Christmas.

3. Two, Christmas day was the ONLY day last week that one of us wasn't throwing up.

4. Lovely, I know.

5. Looks like we're all healthy now and I once again have the energy required to wade through the copious amount of laundry screaming for my attention.

6. Christmas day was fun. The kids woke us up by turning on the Scientist's radio full blast (Better than some of the other wake up calls I've had all week...puking, remember? Blech.) and we all raced downstairs to see what Santa brought.

7. After stockings and a pancake breakfast, the kids opened the HUGE present from their grandparents...the one they'd been salivating over for a month.

8. Rock Band. Much screaming. A few hysterical wails along the lines of "This is the best day of my life!" I decided the grandparents should be alerted to the joy they'd give…

Merry Christmas!

To Do List:

1. Discourage the cat from eating tinsel.

2. Sweep the floor and light candles instead of using all the lights. That way it looks mopped as well.

3. Discourage the cat from jumping into the middle of the presents.

4. Hide ripped wrapping paper with tape and a strategically placed gift bag.

5. Thaw turkey.

6. Discourage cat from getting on kitchen counters to investigate thawing turkey.

7. Make candy cane cookies for Santa.

8. Agree to children's demands to make gingerbread poop for Santa as well.

9. Wonder aloud why all the stockings aren't full of coal.

10. Read the Christmas story.

11. Discourage the cat from "playing" with the ceramic nativity set.

12. Super glue the hapless shepherd's head back in place.

13. Renew adamant objection to cat's preference for ingesting tinsel.

14. Remind cat that tinsel is always much nicer on the way in than on the way out.

15. Realize cat either A) doesn't understand what you're saying or B) doesn't care and that y…

No Chores For Starshine

1. I missed posting yesterday because I spent the entire day in bed with the flu.

2. I feel somewhat better today but won't be doing anything more strenuous that walking up the stairs.

3. I met two very famous people last week at work and had no idea who they were.

4. One is Billy Adams, a contemporary of Elvis (who worked w/Elvis, actually) and a Hall of Famer.

5. The other is George Jones. George and his wife come in several times a week, but since I don't listen to country music, I didn't know who he was.

6. I noticed women interrupting his lunch to talk to him and ask for autographs and when they left, I approached him and apologized to him for those women (who were hysterically crying over meeting him, btw) bothering him. He was gracious and said he's used to it and doesn't mind giving out his autograph.

7. So I said, "Oh, that's good. What do you do?"

8. My hubby thought it was quite amusing that I asked George Jones what he does for a living.

9. I ne…

Let 'Er Rip

Once again, we have some new (and some fairly temporary, I'm sure) blog readers to welcome. How did they find us? Let us count the ways.

1. Estrogen Attacks: It certainly does. I hope you found my essay on the subject enlightening. If anything can be learned from my personal experience in the matter, it is this--a wise person steers clear of C.J. when estrogen is on the move. The unwise are rarely heard from again.

2. How to Make Someone Laugh Hard: Well, I'm flattered that such a google led you to this blog. I only hope you browsed the more entertaining entries (such as this, that, or the other) and skimmed the rest as being hilariously funny 24-7 is too much for any woman to bear. When all else fails, however, a little of this usually does the trick.

3. Are Wheel of Fortune Contestants Required to Buy Vowels?: It's like you've never watched the show. Never. Not. Once. Which causes me to be curious as to why you're researching a show you clearly never watch. However,…

And The Poop Saga Continues

By now, all blog readers are excruciatingly familiar with our family's odd tradition of making gingerbread poop cookies after putting up our decorations. One blog reader (who doubles as CP extraordinaire) Keli Gwyn was out and about when she spied what she felt would be the perfect gift for my boys.

The box arrived yesterday and the boys were instantly hovering around me as I announced that it was addressed to them from my friend Keli in California. What could it be? Race cars? Bags of "gold nugget" candy? Journals so my aspiring inventor, comic strip writer, and author could work on their own projects?

No.

Not even close.

Instead, I pulled out the Poo-lar Bear (The Sub Zero Poopin' Hero!), the Super-Dooper Reindeer Pooper, and the Grumpy Party Pooper, each with the tag line "With piles of yummy jelly beans" and a handful of brown jelly beans.

The kids were thrilled.

We pulled off the heads of the poo-lar bear, reindeer, and sheep and dumped the jelly bean…

The Magic Cockroach!

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary, hubby!). I am blessed to be happy and content with my marriage and to have a man who totally supports my dreams (I suspect he's simply happy at the prospect that the voices in my head might someday finance a new set of golf clubs for him...).

I was going to do a nice little post on how we met (the Magic Cockroach!) but I was up most of the night with the Scientist who has a raging case of the stomach flu so my brain cells took one look at the size of the story I was going to post and promptly staged a coup.

Suffice it to say, we met our freshman year at Pepperdine, had three classes together, and began spending time together when my roommate and I were sitting in the cafeteria on a Sunday, enjoying brunch, and a cockroach leaped from beneath her plate, scuttled across her tray, and scrambled across the table toward me.

(I will now take a moment to assure any potential Pepperdine alum that this is the one and only time I ever sa…

Hard cover or Paperback?

Most authors see having their debut novel published in hard cover as the ultimate prize and worry that paperback originals may be overlooked, causing their budding career to fizzle right out of the gate.

Moonrat has a different take on it. I found the essay helpful in clarifying my own publishing goals.

R. Chronicles Begins

Today I worked on research, character profiles, series timeline, and world-building for book one in the RC series. Here are some of the fascinating items I spent my time googling:

1. Chain whips

2. Custom built choppers (After thoroughly perusing Harley Davidson's site and realizing that none of the basic offerings were right for my character.)

3. Mythological creatures

4. Chicago's neighborhoods, transit system, and high profile landmarks.

5. Druid staffs

6. The magical properties of various types of wood as accepted by Celtic Druids

7. Pancakes (Okay, these I already knew but still, it's always best to be totally familiar with your character's preferences. Plus, they were good.)

All in all, an interesting and fairly productive day. I'll be working more tonight to finish my goal for the day.

It's A Bean, I Tell You!

1. Chicago was really cool. I'd live there if I was hip and single.

2. I'm going back (probably just a day trip) to do more research later.

3. We hit Broadway to see Jersey Boys (an excellent production), went to the top of Sear's Tower (where the kill-joy in charge refused to allow me to go outside of the enclosed sky deck so I could do more accurate research), saw a giant silver pinto bean the tourist guide referred to as a "cloud" (Um, noooo, it's a bean), walked around Wrigley's Field, clocked umpteen miles on the subway/train system, and did some shopping on Randolph.

4. There's an energy to the city that encompasses you like a palpable force. I'm very pleased my newest character told me her hometown is Chicago. This will be an exciting series to write.

5. What is it with people who don't know how to travel in close quarters with others without putting their worst personal habits on display?

6. On the flight from Nashville to Chicago, the man …

Get Me Started #4

*From lisadidio's first sentence.*

I had no idea how far from the center of my world this path would take me, I only knew I had two choices: walk or die. The tip of the sword pressed against my neck, biting into the soft skin below my right ear, gave me little choice in the matter. I could either follow the terse directions of the sword-wielder, who was covered head to toe in black--and didn't that just smack of unoriginality?--or I could get an instant lobotomy.

Obedience isn't really my thing, but I discovered I liked the idea of keeping my brain safely inside my skull enough to make a token effort.

"Hurry up," the sword-wielder snapped out in guttural tones that sounded vaguely familiar.

I slowed down. "It's dark. I can't see where I'm going."

The sword tip pressed hard enough to slice skin, and a small trickle of warm blood wound a sinuous path toward my collar bone.

I lapsed into silence and picked up my pace. A little.

I was trained for this…

Windy City, Here I Come!

1. Hubby and I leave early this afternoon for a quick trip to Chicago on someone else's dime.

2. Our assignment: see Jersey Boys tonight at the theater so hubby can talk about it on air.

3. Our true goal: cram as much Chicago into our systems as possible before boarding a plane tomorrow night at 7.

4. Paul and Kelly, showing the kind of fortitude usually reserved for those serving in the Marine Corp, have bravely volunteered to stay with our kids.

5. Yes, Juan Pedro is in hiding.

6. Regular blog readers know that our family has a tradition around Christmas time of making gingerbread poop cookies.

7. This is what happens when you have boys.

8. This year, I whipped out the gingerbread, handed out dough to the kids, made my own cookies, popped the entire thing in the oven and then promptly forgot about them.

9. Thirty minutes (give or take a few) later, Starshine wandered up to me and asked if the poop was ready yet.

10. I ran to the oven, opened the door, and hauled out pans of scorched gin…

*Blech*

Last night I had one of my Really Fun episodes of insomnia. By the time hubby's alarm rang at 3:30 a.m., I still hadn't slept a wink. I informed him of the problem as he was getting up. Something in my tone (I get ATTITUDE after I've been awake most of the night) had him reaching for solutions.

Yes, this is the same man who suggested I drive with my left foot. But, I digress.

First he commiserated. That was nice. But unless his commiseration was going to be followed by a magical "go to sleep" knock on the head, it didn't do me very much good. Next, he suggested just taking 1/2 of a Tylenol pm. I vetoed this idea because we all know I can't tolerate pain pills and I needed to be awake at 6:30 to get the kids ready for school. Three hours is not enough time for my body to burn off even 1/2 a Tylenol PM.

So, scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to plausible methods to fight insomnia, he suggested I take a swallowful of rum. You'll all recall my …

In Which C.J. Learns She Does Not Qualify For The Job Of Going Postal

As many of you know, I hurt my right foot a week and a half ago. Sprained the tendon in the arch. Not only did this make walking and standing difficult, it made driving nearly impossible. Turns out the tendon in your arch is the one you use when you press on the accelerator.

When I mentioned to my hubby that driving was extremely painful, he suggested I drive with my left foot. Like the mailman does.

I had my doubts.

My sense of coordination is awkward at best. It took me long enough to learn how to ease onto the gas or brake with my right foot without sending anyone into the dashboard. I had little faith mastering the task with my left foot would be any easier.

The morning after my hubby's brilliant suggestion, I got into the 9-4, applied my right foot to the gas, and--as pain turned my entire foot into one searing cramp--decided maybe he was on to something after all. Twisting my body to the side so my right leg pointed toward the passenger seat and my left foot had all the ro…

Chafing the Kiester

1. Yesterday, I learned a valuable lesson. Two, actually.

2. The first lesson: Always examine the passenger seat of my hubby's Explorer closely before sitting down.

3. Doing so will avoid the interesting predicament of having a man you don't know come up to you at church and tell you "You have a sticker on your kiester."

4. Kiester.

5. Oy.

6. I took my now sticker-less kiester into the three year olds Sunday school class we teach and learned valuable lesson numero dos: Always examine the floor in a 3 yr. old's classroom before sitting down to lead song time.

7. This cannot be over-emphasized.

8. I settled my kiester in a puddle of water. (Yes, I checked the dubious substance once I realized my error just to be sure it wasn't another, more offensive, organic substance.)

9. Of course, I didn't know I'd sat in a puddle of water until said water soaked through my heavy denim pants and rendered me damp all the way to my skin.

10. Can you say "chafe"?

11. G…

Want to do something valuable?

Zerox is doing something cool this Christmas season. Click on this link to send a free card (drawn by elementary school kids around the nation) and the thank you message of your choice to a soldier overseas. You don't get to personally choose which soldier it goes to, but you do get the joy and satisfaction of knowing you brightened the day of someone who doesn't get nearly as much appreciation as he or she deserves.

Beware the Pigeon Mafia

1. What?? It's already Friday?

2. *shakes head*

3. With so much time spent off my feet this week (due to a pulled tendon in my arch...ouch!), I don't feel like I've accomplished nearly enough.

4. I did, however, read a few books, and that's always a good use of time.

5. Want to do something to support the publishing industry and your favorite authors this month? (Plus be nice to your wallet?)

6. Give books as your gift of choice to coworkers, in-laws, children, your favorite stiletto-wearing blogger...books!

7. Not only are they inexpensive (I totally dig the less than $7 paperbacks!), every sale bolsters the industry, lessens the impact of returns (bookstores sending back unsold books), and sends a message of confidence to the publishers who then turn around and renew contracts and offer new deals to debut authors.

8. So go buy a book. Don't make me loose my Pigeon Mafia on you.

9. Didn't know I had a Pigeon Mafia, did you?

10. That's because no one ever lives to s…

Good Reading

I've heard Lilith Saintcrow mentioned in paranormal/urban fantasy circles for a while, and always with something close to awe. Since I'm working my way through a batch of new-to-me writers in this genre, I picked up her latest--Night Shift, the first in the Jill Kismet series--and gave it a whirl.

Short story: Wow.

Long story: Ms. Saintcrow is an accomplished writer, blending vivid, sensory descriptions with non-stop action and heart-tugging emotional conflicts. Her world-building is nearly flawless and there's enough meat in the story to keep even a gobble-a-book-a-day reader like me busy for a while. I was completely entranced and am adding Ms.Saintcrow to my list of must-read authors.

The few details that didn't quite work for me were basically more of a style preference, with the exception that I never learned the name of the city Jill protects. That bothered me because, description or no, I wanted a clear idea of where I was.

What I truly loved was Ms. Saintcrow'…

How Can It Possibly Be December?

1. A literary agent whom I follow on Twitter informed us over the weekend that she received a query--sans title or genre--as a TEXT this weekend.

2. Seriously.

3. Chalk that one up under the title THINGS TO DO TO MAKE SURE YOU NEVER GET AN AGENT.

4. On the plus side, writers like that make it a lot easier to stand out in the slush pile.

5. Daredevil has decided one of his favorite sports is tightrope walking.

6. This does not surprise me. It worries me, but it doesn't surprise me.

7. When he informed his brothers, they quickly chimed in with suggestions that he grow up and work in a circus.

8. He replied: "I'd love to work in a circus if it wasn't for all that dorky music and loud popcorn crunching from the audience."

9. Saved by my son's OCDness about food noises.

10. I worked Thanksgiving morning and the restaurant was packed.

11. I was there for four hours and came in contact with MANY people.

12. Only one had the courtesy to thank me (and the other staff she came in…

Go Nuts!

And now for the long-anticipated (Oh. Was that just me?) review of the free sample of almonds sent to me by the fine folks at Oh!Nuts candy company.




I mentioned that I find Jordan Almonds addictive, though I wasn't sure I actually like them. That's because, in my experience, the candy shell is hard enough to crack a filling and the almond inside is a wimpy version of the full-bodied almond flavor I know and love. So, when someone at Oh! Nuts contacted me with the offer to review their product, I was a little nervous. What if I hated it and had to say so on my blog?

They sent me three bags of product (as pictured above). Cinnamon Almonds (almonds covered in a cinnamon-flavored glaze), Ivory Cappuccino Almonds, and Roasted Jordan Almonds. Naturally, I invited my family to help with the reviewing process. Here are our favorites:

Hubby: Cinnamon Almonds. Period. He doesn't do candy-coated nuts unless chocolate is involved.

Me: Roasted Jordan Almonds

Scientist: Cinnamon Almonds, w…