Friday, February 27, 2009

Secret Agent Kitties: Case #1

Case File: Operation Chow Hound Mortification

Assigned Agents: Tinks (mastermind) and Carly (deceptively sweet)

Problem: Giant Black Chow Hound must be convinced of his lowly social status, apprised of his bottom-of-the-pecking-order title, and humbled beyond anyone's wildest expectations. The fact that Giant Black Chow Hound is already submissive toward us means nothing.

Solution: Both agents shall leave piles of excrement on either side of Giant Black Chow Hound's food bowl and one agent shall carefully balance atop Giant Black Chow Hound's water bowl and relieve herself at will.

Message delivered.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Major Squee!!

I'm so excited to announce that today I accepted representation from Holly Root of Waxman Literary Agency. :) Also, I'm no longer working on revising SF since Holly loves the first person version. I'll just be deepening some tension and adding to the ending and then it goes out on submission.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Letterman, Eat Your Heart Out

My Top Ten List for this past weekend:

1. Random google-age (which means my Swiss cheese of a memory can't recall how I arrived here) found this photo of the now-defunct friendship pins which my friends and I used to make and then wear pinned to the shoe-laces of our tennies.

2. Took two teenage girls to the mall for a makeover and then to see Confessions of a Shopaholic which, even though it took liberties with the book, was charming and funny.

3. Discouraged kittens from leaping into the dishwasher as I tried to load in dirty plates.

4. Also discouraged kittens from leaping into the dryer as I loaded in wet clothing.

5. Failed on both accounts.

6. Explained reality to the co-worker who was absolutely certain Congress was divying up $800 billion between all taxpayers.

7. Had an agent I really like ask for my phone number after reading SF so we could talk. :) I'm not a huge exclamation point kind of girl but this statement is momentus so please insert as many exclamation points as you feel a career-shaping moment deserves.

8. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9. Am really loving my new van (even though it doesn't have the 9-4's devious ways) but feel that it truly needs a nickname to be one of the family.

And finally:

10. Waited on a party of seven, five of which were guzzlers. (You know who you are. Gulping your drinks down before I'm three steps away from the table and then repeating the process fifteen times before your food arrives.) Did a moderate amount of running back and forth for them. Was friendly. Funny. Pretty perfect service. They got up to leave and the man said "Wish I could leave a tip for you, but the economy, you know? I'm sure you understand."

You won't be surprised to learn that while he neglected to leave a tip for me, I had quite the tip for him. He might repeat his act of disrespectful arrogance again, but it certainly won't be in my restaurant.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some People Are Just Brilliant

Yesterday, a lady came in to the restaurant and ordered a fried chicken tenderloin salad. The conversation went something like this:

Lady: I'll have a fried chicken tenderloin salad, please. I'm on a diet.

Waitress: *no longer surprised when people offer her personal details like the fact that they're dieting, details of their doctor's visits, or a description of the slew of medication they take each day to keep vital organs running at half speed* Okay. What dressing do you want?

Lady: What do you have?

Waitress: *also no longer surprised that everyone asks this question, even though the dressing options are listed right next to the salads* We have ranch, french, thousand, bleu cheese, honey mustard, italian, and peppercorn. Oh, and we also have fat free dressings, in case that helps with your diet.

Lady: I don't want any of those fat free dressings. They don't taste as good. I'll have ranch. Better make that extra ranch. I like a lot of dressing.

Waitress: So, you want a fried chicken tenderloin salad with extra ranch?

Lady: Yes. Oh. Wait. I'm dieting. That might be a bit much. Better just give me only half the usual amount of lettuce.

Waitress: *pauses to examine this new dieting strategy from all angles* So, you want a fried chicken salad--which comes with our homemade buttery croutons and plenty of cheese--and you want extra ranch, but you only want half the lettuce?

Lady: Yes. I told you. I'm dieting.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Blogging: Epic Fail

Reasons Why I've Failed At Blogging This Week:

1. Goats

2. A small disturbance in a little-known Eastern European country requiring me to put down a potential uprising using nothing more than some zebra-striped stilettos and a titanium spork.

3. Children who carted home oodles of odious math homework that ate up my evening hours.

4. I was dead. I swear it.

5. Long hours at work surrounded by managerial types from other stores whose sole mission in life was to make mine miserable.

6. I couldn't make bail.

7. Pancakes. They called to me.

8. *sigh* Laundry.

9. I was pulled back into my former life as a covert operative for a little known branch of the U.S. military where my specialized skill set includes running in stilettos, thesaurus-like verbosity, and punching like a man.

10. Every spare creative brain cell (and there weren't many) was devoted to revising SF.

11. Temporary amnesia brought on by yet another unlikely head injury (this one involving a camel and a flight of unruly pigeons).

Some items in this are actually true. =D I'll do better next week. Probably.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bananas, Pickles, and Romance

1. The kittens now own the downstairs. Tinks has made several forays into the upstairs and Carly made up two steps before rethinking her strategy and returning to the safety of her favorite couch.

2. They bring us joy.

3. The Scientist and I were running errands the other day when he began to question me about potassium--the benefits and the most accessible sources.

4. This is not an uncommon line of thinking for the Scientist, who wants to know every detail about everything.

5. I explained that bananas are a great source of potassium and said that I thought it helped give a person energy and boost brain power.

6. He then said the following: "Well, bananas would be a good thing to have with you in case of an emergency, then."

7. Me: "What kind of emergency?"

8. Scientist: "You know. In case someone faints. If bananas give energy right away, that's a great way to bring around a person who's fainted."

9. Me: "Weeeelll, maybe. But how could you get a person who's fainted to eat the banana?"

10. Scientist: "The best method would be to cut it into tiny pieces and force them to chew. But, if it's an emergency, I guess you'd have to just shove chunks of it down their throat."

11. Never fear. I'm steering him away from a career as a paramedic.

12. Yesterday, I was teaching our 3 year olds Sunday school class and we were talking about Valentine's Day. I asked them if they thought God wanted a Valentine from us and they all agreed yes. Then I asked them if they had anything to give God for a Valentine.

13. One little boy's hand shot into the air.

14. I looked at him and asked, "What do you have to give God for a Valentine?"

15. "I've got gas!" he said.

16. And as I choked down my laughter, he added thoughtfully, "And pickles."

17. Last night, my hubby and his friends cooked an amazing dinner for their wives. We hosted it at my house and the men surprised us with a masseuse as well.

18. It was a wonderful evening, even if they did take a blowtorch to my antique china tea cups during the making of creme brulee. =D

19. Today, I'll be doing laundry (I know, I know. Shocking.) and taking the kids to see Pink Panther 2 this afternoon.

20. Reader Question: If you could re-read one favorite book this year, which would it be?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our New Family Members

Today we adopted two 3 month old kittens from a local rescue organization. So far, we've established that Tinks is adventurous and Carly is a cuddler. And our 60 pound Chow dog, who desperately wants to be friends with both, is terrified of Tinks' hiss.

They've conquered the downstairs bathroom, with brief forays into the laundry room across the hall for litter box perusal. Tinks even raced into the dining room for a moment before scuttling back to the safety of the bathroom, where she promptly unrolled the toilet paper.

This is Carly, who was a bit camera shy:

Tinks is a beauty with attitude:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Skorts, V-Day, and Taps for the 9-4

1. Yes, I realize I'm giving out my home address.

2. However, given where I live, how many people will really want to come find me?

3. I overheard something the other day that made me laugh 'til I choked.

It's a skort. Skirt in the front, shorts in the back. It's like a mullet for your butt.

4. The 9-4, perpetrator of crimes like this and also this, has run afoul of the three strikes law and is now a felon.

5. The penalty in this instance is death.

6. Well, death or $1500 bail but since a) I'm pretty sure the 9-4 is already planning its next assault on my wallet and b) the silly thing isn't even worth $1500 when it's up and running, I chose death.

7. Which means today my hubby and I went car shopping and I now own a new van. It looks like this one, only silver.

8. I'm not sure how I'll get used to driving a van with so much less character.

9. Perhaps the working a/c, heat that comes out of every vent, cd player with a totally rocking sound system, captain's chairs, dvd player, automatic sliding door, unsullied paint job, and windows that refuse to fall out will help me adjust.

10. =D

11. I really can't stand spending time with people who consistently behave in a condescending manner toward others.

12. If you feel the need to lecture others or give supercilious little comments to showcase what you feel is your superior intelligence/experience/whatever, please feel free to take yourself elsewhere or hold on for the forthcoming verbal smack down.

13. I really don't hold my tongue well around those who can't treat others as equals.

14. Garlic crescent rolls from Pillsbury are an excellent concoction.

15. The boys have Valentine's Day parties tomorrow.

16. The cost of boxes of V-Day cards is laughably ridiculous, especially since they don't even have envelopes anymore.

17. Instead, I just buy bags of candy, sandwich baggies, and labels and put together little treat bags for each student.

18. Plus, I help my boys avoid the terrible gaffe of accidentally giving a semi-mushy card to *gasp* a girl.

19. I miss my Taz. So do the boys. We aren't crying ourselves to sleep anymore, but the house still feels empty without her.

20. Reader Question: Any ideas for cool names for female kittens? We'll be heading to a rescue center some day soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Intelligence, You Say?

Last night, we met Paul and Kelly at my hubby's radio station so we could carpool together to the concert. While waiting for them at the station, I was flipping through one of those daily desk calendar things. (You know, the ones with quotes each day or pics of dogs or what have you.) This particular calendar was put out by John Tesh (Yes, the name sounds familiar to you. No, you probably don't know who he is. If you do, best not to admit it.) and was titled (along with his radio program) "Music and Intelligence For Your Life."

I was caught up in the Rush-Limbaugh-like hubris of claiming in the title of your show that you offer intelligence to others on a daily basis and the wheels of sarcasm were turning in my busy little brain, ready to unleash until ... I read the quote for yesterday.

This insightful little gem advised the following (and here I paraphrase, though I assure you I'm missing none of the pertinent particulars): When stressed or upset, eat carrots or celery. The chewing action releases tension stored in the jaw. Rice cakes will also relieve your stress.

I blinked. Read it again, just to be sure I had this glorious piece of intelligence correct. I did. Since Tesh's show is aimed at women and men alike, he clearly believes this to be a valid approach to dealing with a stressed, overwhelmed, possibly hormonal woman.

Allow me to point out the glaring flaw in this logic. If a woman (and I think I speak for most of the gender here) is feeling enough stress to drive her to the kitchen, your best bet is to throw chocolate (or Hot Tamales, which are of the devil) in her direction as you run for your life out the back door. DO NOT, under any circumstances, offer rice cakes instead. This will be seen as an insult of the highest degree and will result in almost certain death for you.

Likewise, offering a delightful assortment of fresh cut veggies to the hormonal woman will result in you experiencing your daily recommended veggie allowance in bodily orifices which, until that moment, didn't know veggies existed.

If the point of this entire exercise is to release tension from the jaw, may I just say that cookies require chewing, especially if they have chocolate chips inside. So do candy bars. Donuts. Or, if you want a healthier approach, peach pie. What? It has fruit.

After reading this pithy piece of advice, I almost want to purchase Tesh's little calendar of daily intelligence. Who knows how many blog posts I could wring out of its contents?

Monday, February 9, 2009


My beautiful, fiesty, loving cat Taz died early this morning. I'm absolutely devastated.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nonsense of the Twitter Variety

Twitter is an addictive little sucker. Don't let anyone tell you different. However, Twitter has two sides. Friends and those you admire updating you on their lives in 140 characters or less = win. Oddballs whose behavior just begs for the strongest anti-psychotic prescription money can buy = fail.

Fortunately, while anyone (and I do mean anyone) can follow you on Twitter, you can easily block those whose particular brand of crazy you don't feel comfortable subscribing to.

A list of those who've followed me recently:

1. A man who describes himself as an aggressive entrepreneur. A glance at his updates reveals this description to be code for "pyramid scheme pusher." Yeah. Block.

2. A man who professes to be in pursuit of all things holistically artistic. I'm not absolutely sure what that means, but I wish him luck finding anything holistic or overtly artistic about my life (One of my most recent updates discussed the incredible belching contest we held here.). I, however, will not be following him in return.

3. A self-pub outfit inviting mom writers to skip the arduous, deck-stacked-against-you pub process of traditional publishers and instead, pay them for the privilege of slapping your words on paper without the benefit of marketing, book store placement, or knowledgeable staff to assist with foreign rights or movie rights. Yeah. Block.

4. A man who calls himself the Twenforcer and professes his mission in life is to forcibly correct breaches in Twetiquette. I can't make this stuff up, folks. Oh, fine. I could. But I'm not. He's for real. I didn't follow him back because I make it a habit not to encourage those who behave like donkeys (and because I would be patently unable to resist giving him a verbal smack down on EVERYTHING he says), but I didn't block him. I'm waiting for the moment he decides to send me a personal reply to something I post...THEN I get to deliver the verbal smack down and block his sorry hide.

5. A woman who seems to post updates every five seconds, all day, every day. Ah, no. Probably a very nice woman but no way on earth do I want to know that much about anyone's life, much less a complete stranger.

If you're on Twitter and you haven't hooked up with me, please do. Unless, of course, you want to sell me something. Or you post constantly about nonsense even your doctor wouldn't want to know. Or you're the kind of arrogant fool who thinks correcting others over a social forum where there are no posted rules is somehow acceptable.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Run, C.J., Run!

1. Despite the fact that I soooo do not have the time to be sick (picture my To Do list armed to the teeth and chasing me down with murderous intent), I have a bad cold.

2. I'm heading off to work my 13 hour shift anyway.

3. I sincerely hope this cold goes away over the weekend so I don't have to head to the doctor on Monday for the antibiotics and steroids it takes to keep it from turning, once more, into pneumonia.

4. I really don't have time for pneumonia.

5. Yesterday was the Scientist's eleventh birthday so we spent the evening as a family at Chuck E. Cheese.

6. Since I'm adept at blocking out deafening levels of noise (There are some advantages to living with three boys and a dog after all!), I can sit in a booth and read a book for two hours while the boys race around playing games and hoarding tickets for the eventual trip to the prize counter.

7. I hope Obama can find some people to appoint to his Cabinet who haven't committed tax fraud. Three (or is it four?) so far is not change we can believe in and I really want him to get this right, for all our sakes.

8. I believe I may be the first prep cook in my restaurant's history who needs protective eye gear to do her job.

9. To date, I've shot myself in the eye with tomato seeds (more annoying than painful), water (not so bad), and lemon juice (NOT. FUN.).

10. I really don't like to prep cook and after next week, I'm switching back to waiting tables full time. I can deal with that.

11. While working on rewrites for SF, I realized that a scene I'd always envisioned, even before I began working on the novel, will now fit into the fabric of the story (I'd had to cut it in the earlier version).

12. This scene totally rocks.

13. Valentine's Day is coming up and I have never been a difficult girl to buy for on this Hallmark-created holiday.

14. I actually don't know if Hallmark created this holiday or not, but they're certainly profiting from it.

15. I don't like chocolate. I don't do bouquets of flowers. And I pick out my own jewelry.

16. All I need is a gift card to Books A Million and I feel loved.

17. Every year, my hubby and his friends gather their wives together at my house and treat us to a multi-course sit down dinner. It's amazing. They set up a gorgeous table, print up fancy menus, cook everything (There's only been 1 fire in four years of tradition, so that's not bad. Either that or we're due...), and have a paraffin hand spa set up to the side and/or a masseuse.

18. My friends and I are married to some pretty amazing guys.

19. I have zero desire to see He's Just Not That Into You.

20. In fact, if I had to choose between watching that movie and locking myself in a goat pen for an hour, I'd be heading to the local petting zoo as fast as my little feet could take me.

21. Reader Question: What's the perfect gift for you? (Be it for Valentine's Day or whatever.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Personality Type

Take the free personality test!

Because Kerry Allen challenged me to do so, I took this personality test. It should be noted that while this certainly describes me, there were several choices where both options described me fairly well. Here's the rest of the description:

Spontaneous Idealists are creative, lively and open-minded persons. They are humorous and dispose of a contagious zest for life. Their enthusiasm and sparkling energy inspires others and sweeps them along. They enjoy being together with other people and often have an uncanny intuition for their motivations and potential. Spontaneous Idealists are masters of communication and very amusing and gifted entertainers. Fun and variety are guaranteed when they are around. However, they are sometimes somewhat too impulsive in dealing with others and can hurt people without really meaning to do so, due to their direct and sometimes critical nature.

This personality type is a keen and alert observer; they miss nothing which is going on around them. In extreme cases, they tend to be oversensitive and exaggeratedly alert and are inwardly always ready to jump. Life for them is an exciting drama full of emotionality. However, they quickly become bored when things repeat themselves and too much detailed work and care is required. Their creativity, their imaginativeness and their originality become most noticeable when developing new projects and ideas - they then leave the meticulous implementation of the whole to others. On the whole, Spontaneous Idealists attach great value to their inner and outward independence and do not like accepting a subordinate role. They therefore have problems with hierarchies and authorities.

Think this describes me? What's yours?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hallo! ... blah, blah, blah ... Prepare to die!

1. Stephen King's ON WRITING is an excellent book.

2. Some days, writing feels like pulling submerged logs out of a swamp--each word sunk in a mire of sludge.

3. Today, despite the fact that I got up at 5 a.m. to write, is one of those days. *sigh*

4. Haven't hit my goal for the day yet, but I will.

5. I have an insane to do list since this is my one "free" day.

6. Best sentence I wrote today: The waters of the East River bubbled and seethed as a molten ribbon of viscous black bled toward its surface.

7. Worst sentence I wrote today: ... Ha! Already deleted.

8. Even though I didn't truly care who won the SuperBowl (I rooted for the Cardinals since they were the underdogs), it was an exciting game.

9. I find it amusing that Facebook has ads saying "Get Your Stimulus Check" as if the government is eagerly waiting to cut Joe Taxpayer a check for thousands of dollars.

10. The Scientist's birthday is Thursday so I need to go present shopping today.

11. Fortunately, he only wants cheap things like professional skateboards and digital camcorders. Oy.

12. My children discovered that Starshine's new trampoline just fits in the doorway between our upstairs hall and our family room.

13. The new game is to race down the hall, hit the trampoline, and launch oneself into the family room.

14. With luck, you won't slam into a wall and be thrown against the couch, though even that rarely slows them down.

15. I'm just hoping they remember to move the trampoline at night so I don't launch myself into the emergency room by checking on kids while the lights are out.

16. Yes, I know I could turn the hall light on and avoid any problems, but when you're yanked suddenly out of deep sleep by the sound of a child in need, your brain doesn't register practical details.

17. It needs all its cells focused on deciding whether the sound you heard was the gagging cough that precedes the imminent arrival of a bedspread full of vomit.

18. It seems to me that every year advertisers make less and less truly funny Superbowl commercials.

19. I give Doritos the top prize this time around. The crystal ball was my favorite.

20. Reader Question: Who is your favorite comedic actor/actress of all time? Yes, you can pick more than one.

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...