Thursday, June 30, 2011

the edit cave

The first rule of Edit Cave is that all we do is edit.

THE SECOND RULE OF EDIT CAVE IS THAT ALL WE DO IS EDIT.

See?

I'M ALREADY BREAKING BOTH RULES TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT.

Pretty soon, my laptop is going to pour lye on my hand and pee in my protein shake and make me fight Jared Leto. But I wouldn't fight Jared Leto. I'd ask him how to do eyeliner like that.

Wait, what were we talking about?

Oh, yeah. EDIT CAVE. I'm on the 7th version of this book.

I need at least 10 to get on with life.

So... back to editing.

If you like creepy YA ghost stories, keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

IUDon't - a post FOR GIRLS ONLY, srsly

EXTRA URGENT WARNING:
Guys keep reading this and getting all grossed out.
DON'T READ IT.
I promise there's no hidden naked sexy pillow fight.

But if you like that sort of thing, my book comes out next year. HEY-O!

*

Urgent Warning:

1. If you are an EDITOR reading one of my books, this is an unusual post. Most of them are about cupcakes, kangaroodles, adventures, and randomness. But this is a topic about which I feel strongly, so I want to spread the word. Instead, you might like my review of Labyrinth.

2. If you are a BOY, you are NOT WELCOME to read this post, even if you are artistic and gentle and sensitive to a woman's needs. You don't want to hear it. It includes horrible descriptions of ladybits gone wrong. It's for girls only. FOR GIRLS ONLY. So go read this post about boobies instead.

3. If you are a BOY EDITOR, all I can say is ABANDON HOPE, ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE, and please read this post instead. It's about Robinson Crusoe, who was also a boy. So there's that.

Okay. We good? We good.


***


Now where were we girls? Ah, yes.

BIRTH CONTROL SUCKS THE HAIRY BIRD.

Remember this post? How hopeful I was? I thought that little copper voodoo doll was going to solve all of my problems, or at least the ones that involve rabid fertility and my inability to keep track of more than two moving targets at once.

Alas, no.

I had it removed today due to horrible, wretched side effects.

It went like this:

Nurse Practitioner: Hi! Please meet my intern!

me: Are you sure you want her here for this?

NP: Yes, she's training to be an OB/GYN. It's part of the landscape!

me: Yes, but I'm a huge sissy. And also a screamer.

intern: (looks frightened, tries to smile, fails)

NP: So here's the speculum.

me: AAAAAAAAH WHY WON'T YOU PEOPLE EVER GIVE ME VALIUM AAAAAH!

NP: Okay, can you please relax? Put your knees down?

me: MY KNEES ARE DOWN YOU PUT YOUR KNEES DOWN SHUT UP.

NP: Okay, so here go the pincers, and I'm just going to grab the...

me: YOU'RE DONE, RIGHT? WHY DID YOU STOP TALKING? THAT'S NOT GOOD.

NP: I need to get something else.

me: DID YOU LOSE THE GIANT TWEEZER IN ME?

NP: No, I just need to get some... um... smaller utensils.

me: I KNEW IT. I'M A FREAK.

NP: No, you're just... a little tense.

me: OH GOD OH GOD GET IT OUT.

etc.

Which is all well and good and funny, but she did eventually get it out, and I made her show it to me, because I wanted PROOF that it was gone.

Want to hear the entire, horrid story?

I think I'm going to tell it, even though it's very embarrassing to discuss such things with strangers, mainly because if I had read this sort of thing when I was looking for viable, non-hormonal, reversible birth control options, I would never have tried the Paragard copper IUD.

Getting it in was rough, again, see this post.

The first six trips to visit Aunt Flo at the Crimson Cabana, if you get my drift, were hellish. Messy. Like, Romero film messy. Lay in bed for three days on a tarp messy. And so, so painful that I used up my leftover painkillers from childbirth, because plopping out an 8-pounder was actually less painful.

Then it got easier. But I could always feel it poking me. And something just didn't feel right.

And then something very bad happened, something that the Nurse Practitioner smiled nicely about today when I told her but probably didn't believe. I'm pretty sure that twice, I had a chemical pregnancy followed by a miscarriage, and it was utterly horrible.

I had all the same early pregnancy signs I had with both kids-- clear skin, melasma, gain 5 pounds, bloating, only wanting to eat macaroni. My ticket to ride the Scarlet Express was over a week late. And then it was Romero time again, along with horrible, stabbing pains in my back and legs, followed by a day of uncontrollable, desolate crying. Crying like the world was ending, like I had lost something I needed desperately.

And I'm not much of the crying type, and there was nothing wrong, and I never, ever want to feel that way again.

That's why I had my Paragard removed.

In the brochure, they say that they're not quite sure how it works, only that it keeps an egg from implanting. But they don't mention how very real a possibility it is that a fertilized egg might want to implant and might just take your body through the entire hellish hormone cycle of a lost pregnancy. Twice.

I hear the Mirena is better, thanks to the hormones. But I'm not trying an IUD again in the foreseeable future.

That's why I spent my my morning ruining an intern's career path and my afternoon thumb-wrestling a NuvaRing.

But that's a story for another time, and that other time is NEVER, because it's just too weird.

*

I take it back. Want to hear about the Nuvaring?

Let's just say that within 24 hours of wrestling Satan's jelly bracelet into place, I was in another room, screaming into a pillow, crying uncontrollably, and pretty sure I was a horrible mother, a suckass writer, and a hopeless failure at life.

So what did we learn today, kids?

1. Hormones, dey are bitchez.

2. Don't insert a Nuvaring unless you own a winch and some calipers, because DAMN.

3. Birth control is a lot harder AFTER having kids than it was for the 10 years before that.

4. I have no f*cking clue what to do now.

*

So that's my story. I honestly don't know what the next step is, but I'm so emotionally and hormonally wounded right now that I'm not sure it matters.

But I do know one thing.

Tomorrow is sure to be a better day.

*

so long, Rapunzel




When she was a baby, her hair was like a cross between George McFly and Pete Wentz. Short hair, long, spiky bangs. I tried to cut them, and it was a disaster, so we went to the place where she sat in a plastic airplane and watched movies, and they cut her hair. Like this.


That was age 2. The age her brother is now. Sniffle.

And then she forgot she had hair and went about being a kid. She got into fairies and princesses and ballerinas.

And then she saw Tangled.

"Mama, I want to have hair as long as Rapunzel," she said.

And I totally dug that, because I want to have hair as long as Rapunzel, too. So it's been growing ever since, and every day, I love brushing it out and seeing the spun curls in the caramel.

I love her princess hair.

And then last night, I found a tiny lock of hair on the ground of my bathroom. I figured her brother had just yanked out another clump for funsies. But the top was unnaturally straight.

"Biscuit," I said gently. "Did you do this?"

She tried to hide behind her shoulder.

"Um," she said.

"It's okay. You can tell us. We're not angry," her father said.

But I was angry, just a little. I smiled anyway.

"I just wanted to cut my bangs a little," she said. "To see what it was like."

"Well," I said. "Are your bangs bothering you? Or were you curious about what it would be like to cut your own hair?"

"No," she said, looking at the ground.

"Do you want to cut your hair? Go get a new haircut like Maddie or Sam or Bella?"

"Kinda."

"Then we can do that."

She looked up at me, startled.

"Really?"

"Really."

So today we're going to cut off those beautiful curls.

It was my job to say yes, even if I didn't want to.

Sniffle.

Monday, June 27, 2011

sinking the PIETANIC


Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.

~Erma Bombeck

I hear this sort of thing all the time. The smug quips about how happy women eat dessert, and life is uncertain so eat dessert first, and people who don't like chocolate are communists. And it's supposed to make me stop and think about how precious life is, and how I should never deny myself anything ever, and I deserve that second cookie.

Here's the thing, though.

Do you even know what they served for dessert on the Titanic?

Check out the dessert menu for Second Class on the night the Titanic sank:

WINE JELLY.
COCOANUT SANDWICH.
AMERICAN ICE CREAM.
NUTS ASSORTED.*

So you know what?

I would have been one of those women who had passed up the dessert cart. Because all of that sounds horrid to me, honestly. Maybe they were having red velvet cake in First Class, but I highly doubt it.

Oh, wait. They had fruit pudding, some jelly, more ice cream, and eclairs.

So put me down for a maybe on the eclairs.

Anyway, I used to be a girl who never turned down dessert. I promised myself that I would never pass up a piece of cake or a cupcake. And I thought, "This is all part of my general philosophy to never miss an opportunity to experience something marvelous."

The upside was that I ate a lot of yummy things. The downside was that I ate a lot of trash food, looking for happiness in sugar molecules. And the darker downside was that I didn't like my body and spent a lot of time trying to hide my stomach and feeling wretched.

The truth of it all is that I never found a single crumb of happiness in sugar. There was comfort. But it never lasted.

And it never satisfied.

That Snickers commercial? Is a lie.

So I was thinking about it today. If I died in my sleep, would I regret not having indulged myself? Would my last thought be, "I should have had a cupcake yesterday?"

And for me, the answer is no.

I would have regretted the fact that I didn't go to the pool with my kids yesterday, that I didn't get more writing done, that I never took a flying trapeze class, that I didn't buy another horse, that I didn't get Lasik, and that I never got to go on a cruise.

Years of diligent research has shown that food can't make me happy.

Experiences do.

Eating dessert on the Titanic wasn't about eating every dessert you see. It was about being on the Titanic.

So I want to save up my indulgences for when they'll really count. I want to make memories, not pounds. And maybe I'm more likely to experience dessert on vacation/doomed cruise ships, but not if figgy pudding is the top choice. Only if it's something really amazing that I'll regret having missed.

Most of the time, I think I'd rather always be hungry, always be questing. I'd rather be dreaming my dreams than hunting for happiness in food.

I think Erma Bombeck was wrong this time. Being on the Titanic was the dessert.

And that, dear friends, is why I'm not eating a tube of raw cookie dough for breakfast, even though I really, really want to.

At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

Oh, and one last bit of advice:

Always check the dessert menu before getting on a cruise.


*



*Taken from the actual menu page pictured here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

new blog header?

Thoughts?

It occurred to me that a lady in a doo-rag with a chimney sweeping brush might not adequately reflect my je ne sais quoi.

yay! a museum!


Things we did on Friday:


Encountered a giant ghost beaver, which Dr. Krog wouldn't let me ride.

WHAT'S THE POINT?

*




Wore Nessie's skeleton as a hat while laughing.


*



Touched poo.

With parental permission, which was a first.


*


Went panning for gemstones.

And we practiced our good, old-fashioned, frontier gibberish.

REBBIN!

*


Shrunk!

That's right. Here's my family next to your average, everyday dump truck.

Now they're, like, 2 feet tall. Hobbits.

Which means that I can boss them all around unrepetantly, just like I always wanted to.

*


And that, dear friends, is why we go to the Tellus Science Museum.


Friday, June 24, 2011

worth 1000 (magical) words


Yes, I get that I'm posing with a skeleton, while

THE LOCH NESS MONSTER IS VERY MUCH ALIVE.

But still.

MAGIC.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'M A REAL WIZARD!



YOU GUYS.

I have an announcement.

After hundreds of rejections,

I FINALLY GOT INTO POTTERMORE!

I'm so excited.

I got my witch hat, and my cape, and my mystical star scarf.

I don't have a wand, though. But I found my old kali stick. That's pretty good, right?

I'm pretty sure Mad-Eye Moody would approve.

Oh, and I'm going to need a pet.


She's not Cruickshanks, but she'll have to do.

I tried to grab an owl, because owls are COOLER, but those things don't hold up so well. I just had to hug him, and he gave this sad little whoo? and popped out a couple of pellets and deflated like a feathered soccer ball.

Just kidding.

Anyway, for the record, I
have NO F'ING CLUE what Pottermore is.

I just needed something to get excited about.


can't we all just go the f*ck to sleep?


Long version:

First, there was the book.

Then there was the narration by BAMF Samuel L. Jackson.

Then there was the backlash.

And then there was Twitter, and then the bloggers got here, and... yeah.

Welcome to 2011.

Short version:

A new book called Go the F*ck to Sleep looks like it was made for children, but it's really a sleepless parent's tongue-in-cheek paean to the frustrations of bedtime. It's even better when read by Samuel L. Jackson, because even the ingredients of Wheetabix would be entertaining if read by Samuel L. Jackson.

Then the article in Slate says:

Go the F**k to Sleep exposes yuppie parents' sexlessness, self-pity, and repressed rage.

And then bloggers are saying that the article is all about how the dad is upset because the mom isn't sexy enough. And how the book wouldn't be so successful if it were written by a woman. And that it's not mom's fault that she has to work and she doesn't have time to diet and co-sleeping is exhausting and she doesn't look like Penelope Cruz and the dad should just shut up and go play Halo because he's more Seth Rogan than Daniel Craig anyway so WHATEVER. GAH.

Know what I think?

It's a f*cking book, not a statement of my generation.

The art is pretty, the writing is meh, and yeah, I feel like that when my kids won't go to sleep. Not because of a lack of sexiness on my part. Hell to the no. But because I'm a selfish human being who wants some time to myself, and kids take forever to go unconscious.

I think it's a great buy for new parents, along with a humorous, boob-shaped coffee mug from Spencer Gifts. It's not like anyone's going to read it to their kids. Or even read it twice.

It's a one-hit wonder.

And I'm sure there will be a spate of knock-offs soon, such as Eat Your F*cking Peas and F*ck It, I'm Not Playing Go Fish Again and Who the F*ck Keeps Buying All These Polly Pockets, Because It's Sure as Hell Not Me.

It's a book written by one person, not a parenting manifesto. It's a joke, not an accusation. If it makes you feel defensive and frustrated, maybe it's not the book that's the problem.

And I'm not wasting my oh-so-rare spare time in raging against a machine that isn't there.

After all, my son finally fell asleep for his nap, and I've got shit to do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

how to write a book

1. Give yourself permission to suck.

2. Start writing, and write whatever comes to mind, no matter how wretched you think it might be. Don't worry about whether or not it starts at the wrong time. Don't worry if it starts with the character waking up from a dream, looking in the mirror, or mentioning the weather. Don't worry if it's not even a story. Just put everything on the page, whatever comes to mind. Do not stop to reread it. Just get it out.

3. Accept that what you just wrote? It's word vomit.

4. Wipe your mouth off, get either coffee (morning) or wine (evening), and keep writing for as long as you can.

5. Don't read what you wrote. Seriously. You'll hate yourself. Trust me.

6. Think about the story all day. In the shower, while swimming, in the car. Listen to music that fits with the story. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Whatever you're doing, be thinking about the story, planning, finding plot points. BUT DON'T MENTION IT TO ANYONE. They won't get it. Not yet. And they'll fill it full of holes and ask you stupid questions and make you feel like a world class clown. So don't talk about it. Just thinking about it.

7. Scribble all that down on a piece of paper that you'll probably either lose or find completely indecipherable.

8. Sit in front of your computer wondering what "drvaler zoot vs. pegaz sklezixn" meant when you scribbled it on your hand at 3am.

9. The next day, promise yourself you'll write one sentence. It doesn't even have to be good.

10. Don't be scared.

11. Remind yourself that you have permission to suck. Really.

12. Somewhere in your document, keep a place for notes. I do mine on the page before the first page, and I write every idea I have related to the story, including the nonsense from the 3am notes. Character ideas, names, snatches of sentences, plot points, the ending. Keep it all together. And accept that it's probably going to change.

13. Realize that you're procrastinating about writing that sentence you promised yourself you'd write.

14. Realize you're out of coffee (morning) or wine (evening), and get some more.

15. Write a sentence.

16. Realize it sucks.

17. Realize that it doesn't matter, because getting the first draft onto paper is all about word vomit and telling yourself a story and purple prose and similes and reminding yourself of what you think is important about that story that no one else will ever care about, such as the fact that a chair is wood. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT EVERYONE KNOW THE CHAIR IS MADE OF WOOD.

18. Realize that all first drafts suck.

19. ALL.

20. FIRST.

21. DRAFTS.

22. SUCK.

23. The book your book club is gushing over? The first draft sucked. The author herself was mortified and hid the thing in the drawer for two months and contemplated telling her editor that it was utter crap and they should probably fire her. That heavy book from 11th grade English that still haunts you? The first draft sucked. The author was probably zonked out on absinthe or laudanum and died at 31 because the editing process was so horrifying and drove him to drink and whoring. EVEN STEPHEN KING SAYS HIS FIRST DRAFTS SUCK, SO OF COURSE YOUR FIRST DRAFT IS GOING TO SUCK BECAUSE HE'S FRIGGING STEPHEN FRIGGING KING.

24. Take a big breath and write a second sentence. Keep writing until you have no choice but to stop.

25. Do that every day until you have a book.

26. Put it in a drawer, or email it to yourself, or in some way put it out of sight and try to forget it ever existed, because you will both love it and be sick to death of it, not unlike certain small children who shall remain nameless and won't let their mother write all summer.

27. Get on with your life.

28. At this point, you may feel one of two ways:

a. Elation. YOU ARE A WRITER. Mrs. Hankerson from 11th grade English fame can SUCK IT, because you ARE A WRITER, and you already have an idea burning in your VERY SOUL for the BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN, which is like Harry Potter meets The Girl Who Kicked the Thingy and will make a bajillion dollars.

b. Depression. That book sucked your soul out through your fingertips, and you are a shrunken, sleepless shell of what you once were, and you will probably never have another idea for the rest of your life. You only had one story in you. You will now take up macrame.

29. Wait about a month. Maybe two. Whether you felt like a. or b., you will realize you were completely wrong. You will wonder if it is too early to look at that book you wrote, way back when. But you'll want to look. Just to remind yourself of your accomplishment. Just in case it's good.

30. You will take a peek.

31. You will see genius and shit. And you will realize that first drafts are easy. It's the editing that's hard.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

writers' group: last sentence

Tonight at my writers' group, our short assignment was challenging: Write a last sentence that intrigues you so much you want to read the book.

It could be anything. Funny, chilling, sad, poignant. And when we read them aloud, they ranged from lobster politics to possible murder by drowning.

Here's mine:

After that day, the sign read Isaiah's Crossing, Population: 912, but we all knew that was a lie.

The other assignment was a long one in which I wrote a mysterious YA selkie story from a boy's point of view beginning with the opening sentence of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

That's why I love my writers' group so much-- it jolts my brain into making new and interesting connections between lobsters, cranberry martinis, and time-traveling dudes in frilly jabots.

4 months of The 4 Hour Body

WARNING: This post is about diet and lifestyle, with tips for following the edicts of The 4 Hour Body. If you're looking for happy-go-lucky humor and massive amounts of carbs, I recommend this post about the time I was forced to make a fairy Barbie birthday cake.


If you've dined with me recently on any day other than Saturday, a.k.a. Treat Day, then you've noticed that I'm an enormous pain in the ass.

Meat, beans, greens.

It sounds so easy. Until you realize how many foods aren't included. Dressing, stuffing, quinoa, cheese, corn, bread, fruit.

Yes. Fruit.

It's now a bad guy. Especially those Fruit of the Loom dudes.

Meat, beans, and greens are all I eat on your average day. Sure, "meat" includes eggs. And I'll substitute nuts if no beans can be had. But I'll scrape off sauce, ignore those amazing cheesy delights at Red Lobster, refuse dessert, turn down your sweet tea, and generally be an unruly and possibly rude guest.

But you know what? IT WORKS.

If you're interested in trying it, you can even get the book at Target now. The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. It's right at the top of this post, and it's large and blue and costs $21, and it's worth every penny.

Here are a few things I've learned since starting the slow carb lifestyle in March.

1. Everything tastes better with Herbamare. Seriously, this seasoning mixture is fabulous on everything from meat to any sort of beans to veggies. Bonus: no extra calories, and they sell it at Whole Foods.

2. Meat tastes better when cooked in a hot, cast iron skillet. The grill just can't compare. Here are instructions by Alton Brown. Use for any sort of steak, burger, chop, etc.

3. Organic, grass-fed beef is worth its weight in gold.

4. Organic eggs taste better, especially when cooked in a dab of pasture butter.

5. You should always fill your plate-- but with vegetables.

6. If you're stalling out, drink more water.

7. Don't eat spoonfuls of nut butter out of a jar unless it's a last resort.

8. When you don't eat any sugar, red wine actually tastes sweet.

9. If you're going to try this diet, you have to do it 100%. You can't half-ass it or make substitutions. That's what Weight Watchers is for.

10. A diet isn't something you do for a while before going back to "normal." It's a way of life, and you have to plan ahead and think about everything you eat. As we saw recently at Disneyworld, there's a lot of mindless eating going on in America, and I hope I never have to drive a scooter around due to a weight problem.

That being said, on Treat Day? BRING IT ON. I look forward to my morning almond croissant ALL WEEK. There's generally a cupcake and at least one Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. And although I always promise myself I'll eat banana and almond butter toast for lunch, I somehow end up at Five Guys for a burger. Every. Single. Week.

When Dr. Krog first spent two hours looking for this book at B&N, I was annoyed. Then I saw how much trouble it would be, and I was seriously annoyed. Then I started it, had my first case of sugar withdrawal, and was God-almighty-pissed. Then I got used to it. And now I love it.

Losing weight and being fit is never easy. But it is possible.

So, anybody else tried The 4 Hour Body or any type of slow carbing?

Got any tips?





Monday, June 20, 2011

wummanz of ze wurl, relax!

Here's an illustration of my secret to life:


Don't worry. I'll explain that later on.

*

Let me start by saying this.

Women of the world,

YOU MUST CHILL!

Or maybe, more aptly put: Quit complaining and start doing.

As Gandhi said, "Be the change you'd like to see in the world."

And as someone else said, "Worry is waste."

And as my friend's office plaque says, KWITCHERBELLYAKIN.

*

I have a plan, you see.

If you don't like your body, do something about it.

If you don't like your hair, do something about it.

If you don't like your clothes, do something about it.

If your parenting style or organizing style or marriage style or anything style isn't working, do something about it.

If you're not getting the sleep you need at night, or your body is acting weird, or something isn't quite working out, do something about it.

Translated, that means SEE YOUR DOCTOR, or at the very least, do some internet research.

If you're having money issues, do something about it.

As soon as one forces oneself to keep a running tally on the fridge of how much is being spent, the overspending often magically stops. Listening to Clark Howard's radio show is also financial contraception.

Which works for food, too. Making yourself visibly accountable does wonders.

You have to want change. You have to have some tiny, twisty interior moment that impels you to action. A minor epiphany. A major one. A dream. Something.

You have to want it bad enough.

We are far too old, smart, and pretty to spend this much time complaining about things that are within our own power. It's never too late to change-- as I mentioned on my post about revisions. Happiness is always in your hands.

I'm not saying I'm without fault in this area. But I'm doing something about pretty much everything on my list right now. I'm reading books, I'm Googling, I'm swinging kettlebells, I'm making doctor appointments for the things that keep me up at night. As long as I'm moving forward, I'm content. Even the minor failures aren't so bad, as long as your plan is in place.

Forward momentum. And constant vigilance. That's what it takes.

Sort of like a combination of Tron and Mad-Eye Moody.

And, apparently, according to that photo at the top of this post, Slave Leia.

Who, might I add, strangles Jabba the Hutt rather than remain captive. She's got moxie. Pretend Jabba is whatever is holding you back, grab your chain, and go to town, baby.

So, in conclusion, live your life like a combination of Tron, Mad-Eye, and Slave Leia, and you'll probably be that much closer to finding happiness.*

*


* Not a registered therapist, life coach, hypnotist, or dog trainer. Totally talking out of my ass here. But it worked for me!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

quote of the day and also eggs


Imperfection is beauty,
madness is genius, and
it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous
than absolutely boring.

- Marilyn Monroe

*

Words to live by.

Now, who wants some organic eggs fried in pasture butter
with Herbamare and fresh spinach?


Friday, June 17, 2011

pregnant with possibility


No, I'm not pregnant.

No. Nope. Definitely not.

SERIOUSLY. NO.

We're talking about possibility here.

And I got a haircut today, and when you have as much hair as I do, it's definitely full of possibility.

Kind of like a hedge maze.

I know the picture's weird, but I drove home with the windows down after a storm, wailing with The Civil Wars and yelling at turkeys. Well, really just this one turkey that hangs out on Rucker Road, and whenever I see him, I roll down my window and scream HEY, TURKEY.

But it's an awesome haircut. I love my stylist-- Elise at Soda Salon in Old Roswell. Our conversation went like this.

her: Wow, it's been a while.

me: Yeah, you gave me such a great haircut that it looked fabulous growing out. And then my bangs staged a mutiny. And I'm partying with Vikings tomorrow. But it's been a while.

her: Oh, yeah! It's been 20 weeks.

me: Um, your memory is creepy good.

her: No. I took my first pregnancy test 15 minutes before you came in, and I was totally crazy, and I'm 25 weeks today, so... I remember it. I'm sorry if I was totally checked out.

me: CONGRATULATIONS! And don't worry-- I was reading a really good book (Boneshaker by Cherie Priest) and totally didn't notice. In fact, I barely remember getting the haircut at all. Oh, because that's the week I made my first book sale! I was also totally checked out.

her: That's funny! We were both oblivious!

me: And yet the hair was awesome!

her: So you might want to make an appointment before I stop working the second week of September.

me: Perfect. My kids will be back in school then. OH MY GOD, BUT WHEN ARE YOU COMING BACK?

her: In November. Why?

me: Because I'm going to need an awesome haircut before my book launch party in the Spring.

her: Oh, I'll be back way before then. But if you need something over the holidays, you'll need to book soon. I'm filling up for Thanksgiving and December.

me: Why?

her: People want to look perfect for pictures and parties, I guess.

me: Rich people are weird.

*

Anybody in Roswell need a good haircut? If you're a new customer and you say I referred you to Elise, we both get $10 off our next service.

And should I get some feather extensions? I've been thinking about it. They have some long ones there that are peacock blue. I can't tell if I'm charmed or trying too hard.

Maybe I'm just charmingly desperate.

HEY, TURKEY!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

storm haikus

(note: photo seriously tampered with)

*

rain rain go away
no. i take it back. please stay.
you're very pretty

*

leaves bright as poison
white light glitters on the streets
a fairytale night

*

oh, in the suburbs
the peaceful suburbs, lions
prowl behind hedges

*

gray stripes against rain
waiting in vain for the king
snake under my rose

*

it's not wild, but yet
it is. a goblin market
without goblins, no?

*

a glass of red wine.
a book written for children
a hot bath. and dreams.

*

magic everywhere.
hiding in between flashes
waiting just for me.

*

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

oh, that song.

1. Go to clean out the dining room and find CD case from 1990's and early 2000's.

2. Find various CDs, including Squirrel Nut Zippers, Nina Simone, Poe, Ani Difranco, Cake, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Prodigy, Prema, Mono, Gipsy Kings, Morphine, Harry Connick, Jr., the sound tracks to Braveheart, Moulin Rouge, and Kama Sutra, and one handmade CD simply titled BELLYDANCE from my one fabled public performance in a gold-coined bra.

3. See an old Sense Field CD and go, OH YEAH! I LOVED THOSE GUYS!

4. Listen. Remember. Have those bone-deep sense memories of that time I ran grooves into the CD, listening to it as I painted. That year, I painted almost every day and couldn't write a word. Seriously, I had crippling writer's block.

So, you know. The opposite of now.

5. Decide that I need to hear Sense Field's song The Horse is Alive.

6. Spend 30 minutes trying to find it online. Not on YouTube, not on iTunes, and not in 10 pages of Google searching.

7. Find it on Amazon.

8. Listen to sample. Start crying, then abruptly stop when the sample runs out.

9. Decide that I will never feel complete again until I can hear the whole song.

10. Remember that I don't have an Amazon account.

11. Remember that I *do* have an Amazon account, because remember when I bought that cute teal hat with the feather on it?

12. Randomly pick one of four credit cards listed.

13. Say a very naughty word when it's rejected. Remember that Wells Fargo cancels my debit card every 4 months due to their own stupid security breaches.

14. Try 3 more credit cards until I find the one that's up to date.

15. Accidentally buy the song twice.

16. Listen to it in utter bliss, stomping my feet and tearing up because it's SO FREAKING PRETTY.

17. Realize I have no idea how to get it from Amazon mp3 to iTunes.

18. Try that for 20 minutes.

19. Howl at my own ineptitude.

20. Figure it out.

21. Howl in victory.

22. Listen to it 7 times. Or 8. Or 9.

23. Smile.

If you're interested in checking it out, it's here for 99cents.

For someone with no musical talent, I need this stuff like water. Like air. But happy air that's just the right temperature and rolls crunchy leaves around and makes your skirt flap in the breeze in October and the sky is so blue that it hurts. Like that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

further pursuit of the infinite goof



Remember when Epcot was all about Figment?

Imagination has apparently taken the back seat.

I saw 7 princesses at Epcot and not a single life-sized dragon.

And when I told Dr. Krog I wanted to get Figment's coat of arms tattooed on my wrist, he almost choked on his protein bar. Combine a key, a dragon, a frilly shield, and a figment of one's imagination, and you've pretty much got me covered.

Don't worry, little dragon.

As long as you match her Rapunzel dress, I suspect you'll be popular at our house.


The ears match, too.

I'm pretty sure I was wearing a Goofy hat at that age.

And until high school.

The one with dangly ears.

I once dated a boy who was... what word did he use?

Ah, yes. He was disturbed by my Goofy hat.

I miss that hat.

Now I have to hide my inner goof most of the time.



Luckily, I'm surrounded by goofs.

And it's socially acceptable to wear silly hats all winter long.

*

we interrupt this vacation recap with KICKASSERY


Do you know who that is, guys?

Do you? DO YOU??

No, not the bald dude in the right corner. On stage.

THAT'S MUMFORD & SONS.

From what we saw last night, they've become the next Dave Matthews Band. Most of the audience members were rich white kids who thought they were at a sorority Rush event. I mean, tank tops, short shorts, flip flops, and sexy-hoochy dancing to passionate, Irish folktale-type music?

I was embarrassed for them.

And I'd also like to state that I'd altogether like to see fewer jumpsuits, strapless dresses, tucked in pink button-downs, and dock shoes. I kept expecting the guys from Cobra Kai to show up and start a fight with the adorably dorky vioinist.

Oh, but how was the music?

OMGWTFBBQSQUEEAWESOMEHAPPYDANCEHURRAH!

Unbelievable. Better than the CD. Brilliant show. Even in a crowd of 8000 at the Fabulous Fox Theater, they managed to make it feel intimate. They even hushed us down, unplugged, and did two songs 100% acoustically. I've been a fan since at least last fall, and now I feel reinvigorated and can't wait to pop my CD back in.

They played new songs, they raged on old songs, the lead singer roared, the banjoist swayed, the keyboard guy tossed maracas. You could tell how happy it made them, how deeply they felt the music. Their joy was palpable and rippled through the crowd. They gave an adorable shout-out to the band playing in a cafe earlier that day and even pointed out the guys, whom they had invited to the show just because they liked their music so much.

And when they heard an audience member threaten to punch another audience member in the face for being rude, they laughed and said, "That's f*cking funny. That guy's a dickhead."

And I was so, so happy.


So thank you, Elizabeth, for hooking us up with really great tickets. We were in the perfect spot. No matter how many clueless college guys stood up next to drunk dancing girls, we could still see and hear perfectly.

And thank you, Dr. Krog, for taking me out to a great show.

And thank you, Mumford & Sons, for making me feel alive.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

fear and loathing in bug glasses

So here's the story.


We got to Disney's Animal Kingdom around 1pm. We didn't have an agenda. We just wondered around.

A BUG'S LIFE - 5 minute wait.

That caught our eye. We followed the crowd into a magical underground cave. Our kids shivered in anticipation of their first taste of the famous Disney Magic.

"May frighten some small children," the sign said. "Contains DARKNESS."

"Pshaw," we said. "Our kids are tough."

But it wasn't a ride. No, it was a 4-D movie. We were in the front row. We put on our glasses. And then giant, animatronic bugs started popping out. No problem.

Then a giant stink bug farted on us and a termite spit water at us.

The biscuit began to squirm.

"Don't worry," we said. "It's just a funny movie. Robots. No big deal."

Then an enormous, angry, terrifying grasshopper popped out of the wall, filled the room with thick, white smoke and blinking red lights, and screeched KILL ALL HUMANS! KILL ALL HUMANS! ALL HUMANS MUST DIE!

And my child completely lost her shit.

So we left. In the melee, her headband was lost. So we bought her some pink leopard Minnie Mouse ears and found a nice, harmless triceratops to ride instead.


Later that evening, the Biscuit and I went with the rest of the group to see the fireworks and parade at Magic Kingdom.

"Is it going to be scary?" she asked.

"No," I said.

"But it's dark. And loud."

"Yeah, and it's going to be awesome."

Luckily, the parade came first. And it was awesome.


Then everything got dark. Tinkerbell hurtled out of Cinderella's castle on a zipline, and the Biscuit was afraid she was going to die.

"No way," I said. "She's a fairy. If she gets hurt, we'll just clap really hard."

Then they started flashing lights on the castle.


So that was beautiful and calming.

And then the fireworks started.

And the Biscuit freaked.


And I said, "Dude, look around. Everyone here is having the best time of their life. There's no danger. It's just pretty."

So she relaxed and watched, enraptured. And I tried to capture interesting pictures with my camera, because it really was beautiful.

Then someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to find a young mother with a stroller.

She smiled with gentle reproof and said, "Instead of taking pictures, you should be watching your daughter's face."

And I smiled in gentle reproof and said, "Let me guess. That's your first child."

She didn't want to talk to me after that.

I used to do that, too-- to judge other parents for every moment they didn't spend gazing in amazement and wonder at their child. But you know what? I have two kids now. And I've learned that if I'm going to stay sane, I need to gaze at them in wonder and amazement, snap a picture, and then do something that makes *me* feel fulfilled as a human being. Whether that's talking to other adults, reading a book, or, yes, taking pictures of something interesting, I'm not going to accept gentle admonishment from strangers who think they're going to teach me a valuable life lesson while their kid drinks Coke from a sippy cup.

In any case, we were all filled with wonderment and amazement, and then the Biscuit promptly fell asleep on my shoulder.

You want to see real parenting, lady? Don't judge me for taking pictures of fireworks. Judge me for carrying a 40-pound dead weight for two hours, for sitting out the ride I wanted to ride after waiting in line for an hour, for waking up with a smile at 6:30 the next morning, for never getting a chance to ride Space Mountain.

I NEVER GOT TO RIDE SPACE MOUNTAIN.

Judge me for wearing those leopard-print Minnie ears because she asked me to keep them safe while she slept.


And the next day, she was fearless enough to ride The Haunted Mansion.

"I'm not scared of that old zombie," she said.

Take that, giant fart bugs.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

life's a beach

How was our first family vacation?



IGNORE THE BOY. He was just mad that vacation was over.

The entire week before? It was awesome. So awesome.

"But wait," you're saying. "I thought you guys went to Disneyworld?"

Oh, we did.

But we went to the beach first.



See, we planned the trip with two other families, our best buddies. My friend E found an amazing deal on Disney, and then I got together with my girlfriends one morning to iron out the details.

E: Disney starts Tuesday. So we're leaving on Saturday to visit my dad at the beach.

D and me: WE WANT TO GO TO THE BEACH.

me: We were going to go down a day early and stay in a cheap hotel so we would have a full day at Disney. What if we just got a hotel at a beach nearby? Then we'd have a day at the beach instead of a cheesy day on the outskirts of Orlando.

D: Or we could go down two days early.

me: Or we could go down three days early.

D and me: IT'S LIKE DOUBLE VACATION!



We ended up staying at an amazing condo in St. Augustine for three fabulous days. If you're looking for a Florida beach vacation, I highly recommend the condos at Island House. The property was spotless, had everything we needed from a full kitchen to linens to a trundle bed to a washer and dryer, was on a gorgeous stretch of beach with a nice pool, and was cheaper than hotels that even Trip Advisor advised against.

And then it was just a pleasant 2-hour drive to Disney on Tuesday.

My only complaint?

I have melasma for the first time in my life. For no good reason, instead of turning its usual lovely tan color, my forehead went hideously spotty.

Anyone who says that childbirth doesn't change you is A FREAKING LIAR.



I'm only smiling here because it was our first day at the beach. Little did I know my forehead was going to go from pale to ridiculous to plaid.

Also? My son snores. Like a freight train.

But he's awfully cute at the pool.


"MY DO IT MYSELF!" he shrieks.

"Okay," we say patiently. "Give it a try."

And then he steps off the pool stairs into the pool and plops below the water, and we fish him up and say, "See? You can't quite do it yourself, big guy."

And then he says, "NO. MY DO IT MYSELF! MY BIG! MY CAN SWIM! MY CAN!"

And then we put him in a floaty suit and water wings and a life vest and hope for the best.

I think that was the hardest thing about our first real family vacation. As the mother of an energetic and fearless two-year-old, I could never, ever let down my guard. At any moment, he could run in any direction, try to hop off a bus or a ride, duck through a crowd. It was exhausting, just trying to keep the lad alive.

But so, so worth it the first time he saw Winnie the Pooh.

At that moment, the trip totally paid for itself in smiles.

Tomorrow:
How Disney Gave My Fearless Child Her First Phobia
Using Animatronic Bug Farts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

our trip to brisbyland

So guess where we were last week?



THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH.

Where they block hotspots and try to destroy my internet connection.

MAGICALLY.

In fact, it was so magical that I actually ENJOYED the "it's a small world" ride.

Why?



Because that guy right there is MADE OF MAGIC.

He won't sit still to watch a movie, but that stupid ride had him totally entranced. That was possibly the most relaxing five minutes of the entire trip.

More later.

Including "t.rex's guide to the hokey pokey" and "how to clutch a duck."

Monday, June 6, 2011

the pool of misfit children

1 pool, 10 children, 4 adults. You do the math. I just don't remember the children being quite this annoying when I was young.

1. First, there's Eli. He mostly stands in the corner of the shallow end with his overly large board shorts pulled up to his nipples, proclaiming that he's peeing his pants on purpose.

We don't like Eli very much.

2. Then there's Klepto Karen. She's the angelic little mite trying to abscond with everyone else's pool toys.

Karen: I take this?

me: No.

Karen: Mine?

me: No.

Karen: I play with it?

me: No.

Karen: Mommy, I can have noodle?

Karen's mommy: (drunk and passed out in a pool of suntan oil)

me: Let me speak for your mommy here. NO.

3. Then there's this one sullen girl who doesn't speak. She's right on the cusp of puberty and spends most of her time doing slow-motion handstands in which everyone is forced to stare at her crotch. She just bobs there upside down like a confused raft, and my daughter asks me why she has weird hair on her bottom, and I say maybe it's time for a sandwich.

4. Ashley. Can't tell if it's a boy or a girl. Wears board shorts and a rash guard and Speedo goggles and a strange device that holds its nose closed, because I guess in 2011, kids are too busy to hold their freaking breath. Ashley spends most of its time loping from the pool to the ocean and back and being yelled at by disembodied, somewhat drunk voices that we presume are parents.

5. Alyssa. Don't call her Alanna. You'll never hear the end of it.

6. Captain Reckless. I don't know her name. She just does dangerous flips off the side of the pool into the extra shallow bit, nearly killing herself every time. She screams, "EVERYBODY LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!", and all the adults cringe and stare at the skimmer, wondering who will end up scooping this girl's brains out while someone tries to find her parents and ask if they're professional daredevils or what.

7, 8. Teenagers trying to get cancer in as many ways as possible while forcing innocent people to look at their sunburned wedgies.

9, 10. My children, who are perfect cherubs, except when they hit me in the face with water pistols. But they're kind of misfits, because they're mine.

Oh, and I guess I'm 11.

Or close enough. But when I dive in the shallow end, I point somewhere else and tell my kids to look at the pelican. I'm sneaky like that.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

i don't scream

So I don't scream for ice cream.

Just add it to the list with shorts and tennis shoes. It doesn't do much for me.

Last night at one of those marble slab ice cream shops, I had the following interaction with the kid behind the counter:

kid: How are you you?

me: Mildly bewildered by the available choices. How are you?

kid: Just realizing how many choices we have, and that it can be bewildering.

me: I'll have a kid's strawberry, a kid's raspberry, and a medium Peanut Butter Razzle-Dazzler.

kid: Anything for you?

me: Nope.

kid: Really?

me: Yeah. I'm not big on ice cream.

other kid: THAT'S KIND OF BLASPHEMY AROUND HERE.

me: I didn't ask to be mostly lactose intolerant.

kid: You can get sorbet.

me: I don't believe in adulterated fruit.

kid: Yogurt?

me: Still made with milk.

kid: You're hard to please.

me: No, I just had two margaritas. I'm really easy to please. I just don't like ice cream.

kid: Brownie? Cookie? Key lime square?

me: No thanks. But that green thing looks pretty good. What is that?

kid: That's mint chocolate chip ice cream being mixed with Oreos and chocolate chips and sprinkles. It's pretty much like toothpaste with crunchy stuff.

me: You had me, and then you lost me.

kid: Here's all your other ice cream. That'll be $13.

me: I'm like the sugar daddy. Or a drug dealer.

kid: (stares blankly)

me: Or just a nice mom.

kid: Have a nice, milk-free day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

unruly rant: communicational physics



Something extremely frustrating happened to me yesterday. It was a glitch in Communicational Physics, an obscure and entirely made-up branch of physics that should probably be taught in school along with other esoteric tasks like "handwriting" and "real physics".

I ordered a book for Nook and went to download it. No dice. Why? Because Wells Fargo treats my personal information like a 29 cent goldfish and just sends me a new card every three months, so the card on that account had been closed. Again.

So I went online and changed my default credit card and tried to buy the book again. No dice. I "already own that book", and I need to call a 1-800 number.

See the problem?


I performed a transaction entirely online, and I SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIX IT ONLINE.

If I wanted to talk to people and be on the phone for four minutes, I would have bought the book over the phone, which is just stupid. I do things online for a reason, and that reason is to never have to hear a human voice or a sousaphone playing Hungry Eyes while I wait.

And herein lies one of my biggest complaints about customer service. I feel that you should be able to choose how to do business. I do most of my business online, ergo, I do not want to walk into a store or use my phone to solve a problem. I do not want to talk to "Jack" and listen to elephants trumpeting in the background of "Indiana", where we all know the na is silent. I do not want to press ocho to hear my prompts in Espanol. And I don't want to hear hold music that sounds like angry robot porn.

I also don't like it when I walk into a store and am told that they don't sell what I want and that I can order it online. If I take the trouble to put on clothes and drive somewhere, it's because I'm mindlessly driven by a need for instant gratification, not that I forgot how to Google Amazon.com.

And email goes the same way. If I email someone, I do not want them to call me in response. In fact, unless you have really good news, I don't want to talk on the phone at all. If the phone rings and it's not a book deal or a party, I'm going to sound disappointed, because when the phone rings, it should always mean a book deal or a party.*

So please world. Follow the #1 rule of Communicational Physics: a force should be met with equal and opposite force, but only via email, because I don't like customer service scripts or Hungry Eyes in sexy sousaphone, and I do not want to take your survey or give money to homeless firemen running for city council, and please just keep everything I've ever wanted in stock, just in case, because THAT'S CAPITALISM, FOLKS.


* Except for the friends who called this weekend when I was having problems. You guys are veritable gods, and you made me feel so much better. And it's also okay to call if I'm in the car and bored. Or if you want to chat about something fun. All that's great. You know who you are.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

down with my shorts!


You must be this tall to wear jorts.
I am clearly not tall enough.


When I was fifteen, I got called into my boss's office and chewed out. Why?

I was wearing shorts that were too short.

It was unprofessional.

I was chastened. And I cut off another pair of jeans for a slightly longer, rolled up look. The early 90's were pretty sweet like that.

And I'm also pretty sure that was the last time I wore shorts with any enthusiasm. No matter what I've been doing and what state my body has been in, I have pretty much hated shorts since 1996 or so.

Why?

I don't like the way they feel, and I don't think I look good in them. By the time I get a pair short enough to look good, I find that when I sit down in them, the backs of my legs touch whatever I'm sitting on, and that makes me deeply uncomfortable.

So when I think about going to Disneyworld this summer, I'm flummoxed.

What do you wear to Disneyworld when you abhor shorts and avoid sensible walking shoes?

I asked Twitter, and they said, "Wear cotton dresses/skirts and Chucks."

So I said, "TWITTER, YOU ARE FULL OF WIN."

I asked Facebook, and they said, "Suck it up and wear shorts anyway."

So I said, "NO. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME. F*CK SHORTS."

I guess it's just that unruly streak of mine.

I went shopping at four different stores. I tried on at least 60 pairs of shorts, from the hot pants in the Juniors department to the Sensible Stylish Business Shorts in the Misses department. I tried jean shorts and khaki shorts and soft cargo shorts and seersucker shorts, which are pretty much a crime against humanity.

And in the end, I went with my gut instinct.

NO SHORTS.

I will be taking soft cotton skirts, leather flip flops. and One-Stars to Disney.

And it has nothing to do with my body or my legs or my self esteem. It's flat out aesthetics and comfort, backed by a solid streak of stubbornness.

So here's my list:

I'm not wearing shorts, and you can't make me. I'm also not wearing tennis shoes, Crocs, Ugg boots, skorts, capris, bodysuits, jumpsuits, shirts with zippers, wide horizontal stripes, monokinis, or anything that requires dry cleaning. I'm not having my hair highlighted, I'm not going to curl it, and I'm not going to straighten it. As soon as these acrylic nails pop off, I'm done with that, too. I'm not wearing foundation, I'm not getting colored contacts, I've never had a spray tan, and I absolutely refuse to use a Bump It.

I have nothing against any of these options for others-- they're just not for me, and I'm sick of the media and the internet telling me that they're necessary.

2011, I am not your bitch.

And you can't make me wear shorts.