Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
How crazy is it that in the last month of 2010, my trashy computer has painfully died. Check out the top screen that can flail back and forth. Oh, I am sad to see this sucker croak.
My computer has been crapped on by a cow and run over by my Niece's tri-cycle. We've been through the best and worst times. Farewell, my crap-tastic computer.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday night: My brother laments to me yet again how much he would like to have a dog of his very own, even though we already have three. Yes, three. But then again, it is Christmas. So I text my mom - Let's get Mike a puppy! - who readily agrees. Then I text Mike's friend, who recently got a dachshund puppy, for the name of the breeder.
Thursday morning: Operation Christmas Canine Caper is a go. My mom has an appointment to see the litter of dachshunds at one o'clock.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Do you not love the psychedelic wall paper in the background? So, if you're like me, the Holidays can be beautiful and a tad stressful. I'm learning the trick is to push through the stress and enjoy the moment.
And if you have a crazy family, then, hey, at least you can enjoy the food.
Monday, December 20, 2010
1. A Princess Unicorn doll from "The Office". One apiece. No sharesies.
2. Natalie Portman's entire wardrobe from the Star Wars prequels
3. That dude who plays the whatsisbucket. Him. I want him.
4. Hayden Christensen?
4.5 Yeah. Him. I want him.
5. Lifetime passes to Disneyland
6. Viggo, preferably scruffy, in his Aragorn costume
7. JK Rowling's brain
8. JK Rowling's agent
9. JK Rowling's bank account
10. Sara B. Larson's supply of Swedish chocolate
11. Robin Edmundson's ability to weave, dye, and tap 140 maple trees. All while making soap and bringing about world peace
12. James McAvoy, in case Viggo is busy
13. Rubber bands
14. Kate Middleton's engagement ring
15. On second thought, scratch that last one
16. Access to the crown jewels. To go with Russo's Ugg boots.
17. DVD set of every Lifetime Movie ever made. Plus a plot guide. Both pages.
18. The Reclusive Writer's Illustrated Guide To Stalking Viggo Mortensen.
19. A lawyer
20. Caleb Warnock in a bottle. With a little spray-nozzle.
Yours in all sincerity, and with lots of hugs and cookies,
Jane Victor Austen Hugo Mary Aristotle Shelly (Janiel)
J. Stephanie K. Meyer Rowling Asimov (Russo)
The Great Maegini (Maegan)
Friday, December 17, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Happy Holidays, my fellow intrepid Gnome Slayers :)
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
On, Friday at 2am, I found myself restless. My sister's house has large windows, so shadows spilled everywhere. And a large banging noise was keeping me up.
When I turned on the light, I saw a surprise. A pair of paws under the bathroom door.
How cute is that? The banging was my sister's kitty-cat named Fred. He had been trapped, by accident, in the bathroom. Poor lil guy. I'm sure he's now traumatized but he's safe.
This weekend, I made ginger bread houses with my niece. This is our finished product. And low and behold, lil Bebe, my cat has bitten off half of the icing on the roof and the icing door is now gone.
That dang sugar addicted feline.
Learn from my random weekend-Sleep is everything to a dream chaser. Cosmo magazine said, "The next time you feel stuck, go to bed. Sleep inspires creativity and helps your brain sort things out so you can make a decision."
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Thanks goodness for snow tires . . .
Come February, I was halfway through my apprenticeship. Up to that point, we'd had about three months of breaking the ice in the stall buckets every morning, three months of doing nighttime barn checks where the air was so cold it literally stung the skin, three months of sleeping fully clothed under a pile of blankets. Little did we know: Vermont had yet to unleash the full wrath of its winter on this poor desert girl and her Floridian roommate.
The broodmares were the toughest critters on the place.
Then we got to claw our way through the vast ocean of untouched, knee-deep snow that extended from the road to his front door. At the end of that short trek that was somehow so long, I flopped onto my back in the snow, wearing so many layers that I probably looked like that kid from "A Christmas Story," and panted helplessly up at the blue sky. We were all so exhausted, we camped out in the boss's living room and fell asleep to an episode of "The Gilmore Girls."
And that's why Vermont-in-winter will always be "Satan's Icebox" to me.
Friday, December 3, 2010
But that wasn't the first time I'd ever strapped on skis. Nope. I did that at the top of a crazy-pants-tall mountain in the Alps called the Zugspitze. Some time in the late 1970's, after our family moved to Germany, we went to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for some Christmas skiing. Garmisch hosted the 1936 winter olympics and was not only gorgeous, but totally geared for winter sports. We skated. We threw snowballs at passing Germans, and got a few lobbed back. We even swam in the indoor "wave" pool that acted like a beach every half hour.
It was great, until someone in my family got the idea that we should go skiing on the mountain whose top we hadn't seen the whole time because it was up in the clouds. Yeah. Don't know what they were thinking. I had one sister with some athletic ability. The rest of us were pretty much dorks: Thinkers. Singers. Brainiacs. Writers. And one spazz. (Not saying who.)
We should have been smart enough to back out when we found out that the only way to the resort was a gravity defying train-ride up the side of the Mountain. Then we should have been smart enough to back out when we got out of the train and found ourselves INSIDE the top of the Alps waiting on a platform for a tram to take us down to the slopes. BECAUSE WE WERE SO HIGH UP THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO GET TO THEM.
We got to the slopes and my parents left me with a family friend who was to teach me to ski. But he hadn't skied in ten years and had missed it, so all I got from him was a very distracted "Um . . . put those on, point the skis downhill and go. Bye." And he was gone.
Well. I found out it takes a bit more than that to not be an idiot on two sticks. I took one step off of the rope-tow that had dragged me up the hill and fell right over. Took me an hour to get back up again. Wind kept blowing me backwards.
Once I succeeded and stood over my skis, I pointed down, pushed off . . . and fell over again. Did that several times over the course of the next half hour. It was getting to where I thought I might just stay down there and, you know, study snowflakes, when a German took pity on me and helped me up. It was so kind. I turned to thank him, but he shoved me down the slope. Turned out he was just trying to get me out of the way.
AAAAAAAAAAahhhhhhhh! I shot straight down. No poles, no turns, no shusshing, no nothing. Just: GETOUTOFMYWAYGETOUTOFMYWAYSORRYSORRYSORRYBAM!!
Yeah. It awesome. And it hurt. I remember laying in the snow looking up at the hill I'd just come down and thinking I'd rather die than try that again. Ironically I nearly got my wish. The wind had kicked up to like a hundred knots and visibility was going way down. I had no idea where my family was. All I knew was that as I stood up and looked around I was almost alone on the slopes. Some announcement had apparently been made that the resort was closing due to weather and the lower trams had taken their last riders back to the station. The rest of us would have to hike up to the upper trams. Carrying our skis. On our 13 year-old shoulders. In a million mile per hour wind gusts. I barely made it. The few German men around me looked like abominable snow-men as their faces accumulated snow and ice in the wicked wind-chill.
We got on the tram and the thing was swinging so hard in the wind that the sides were almost parallel to the ground. We were all plastered to our benches hanging on to the windows for dear life, with perma-grins on our faces. No one could move. I thought we might die, but at least I had skied, yeah?
We didn't die. Got to the corrals just fine. Found my family, and began mooing with the Germans again. Then we trained to the bottom of the mountain, alighted in a perfectly calm and snow-sifted village, returned our skis, peeled off our snow-gear, and hit the waves in the pool.
Ahhhhhhyeah. That was the best. What great memories. I still don't know how to ski, though. Even Ski World twelve years later couldn't accomplish that.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I love the Holidays, enough to bake gingerbread houses and apple-N-sausage stuffing. I go housewife wild but then there's the edgy/spicy side of myself that I have to be careful about-
I get horribly impatient while shopping.
Two years ago on black Friday, I got into a nasty scuffle at Wal-Mart. Okay, here's the dirt, so I moved some ladies cart from the middle of the aisle. For some reason that warranted her to go all postal on me. No joke, she come storming up to me and yelled, "Who said you could move my cart? You could 've gone around."
I stared at the booger hanging out of her nose and said, "I'm sorry but there are screw's in my foot holding my bone together. There's no way I'm walking around your cart."
She then called me a string of nasty names. Hunky Handy man stared at me warily, waiting to see my short fuse erupt. And sure enough, I got in her face and said, "I'm gonna tear your throat out."
This year, I had a much better reaction during a tense situation. Today, I saw an old friend at Wal-Mart. She looked stunning, even in grubby clothes. We chit-chatted about random stuff.
Then the old friend said, "I heard you're still at the same job. Funny, I thought your book would've been made into a movie by now."
The old me would've said a witchy comment back but instead I politely responded, "Not everything works out in the time frame that you want."
Who would've thought that this Holiday season would show me that growth is possible, even with stubborn lil me.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I learned a new word this week: CHAHOOAHOOAH.
I know, right? Zing! Now that's a word. Say it out loud with me: cha-HOO-ah-HOO-ah. Imagine all the various possible meanings for such a word. Chahooahooah could be an undiscovered island, hidden off the coast of Hawaii by some vortex of time and space. Its inhabitants would be plane crash survivors who spend all their time writing the script for a TV show that no one understands. Or, chahooahooah could be the name of Taco Bell's newest dessert item. Or maybe Dwight Schrute's very own patented chicken breed. Then again, I like to think of the Mighty Chahooahooah as the chupacabra's kinder, fuzzier, black sheep cousin. Instead of sucking blood, it wanders the desert in search of its favorite food, the aloe vera plant. I could go on . . .
Now imagine my disappointment/profound embarrassment when I found out that chahooahooah is really just a super-groovy way to say chihuahua.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Your witty comments and support has meant the world while we took this scary leap of faith into the blogging world.
We are indeed touched and hope that you have a Happy and joyful Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The following pic is proof of a stupid weekend. Okay, so, ignore the paper pumpkin because its darling. My sister made it for lil ol' moi. The real culprit is the Fruit Loop necklace that I made with niece.
No joke, I left the sucker on the table and conked out for the night. Woke up from my menthol induced sleep and what do I see? My super-duper sized cat, BeBe munching on the Fruit Loops. And cats and Fruit Loops don't mix, if you catch my drift. Yuck.
Fast forward 12 hours and me and hunky handyman are in a dumpster of trash. All to save this lil Kittie who was meowing loudly. The poor lil stray had broken her leg.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Why do we spend so much time daydreaming? What makes it so important? The answer, I think, is in the most awesome opening line for a novel EVER:
How great is that? We need to dream. Dreaming is so essential to well-being that even birds and clicking, leaf-impersonating bugs do it. I mean, reality can be boring. And stressful. Overwhelming. Discouraging. Dangerous, even. But it's all good, because we can create our own reality. We are safe in our power to dream.
I'd like to know: what do y'all dream about, awake or otherwise?
*The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Friday, November 19, 2010
This past few months has been a season of enormously uncomfortable learning for me. Don't you love that? When you're such an obtuse person that you have to get bludgeoned with the Humility Stick over and over again before you get the point?
Not to make this blog a confessional, but I learned something significant today from the venerable Shannon Hale (author of "The Princess Academy" and one who has enough apparent humility that she'd probably not want to be called "venerable." But her insight today qualifies her as "venerable" in my book.) It is something that applies to everyday life--and the things I am painstakingly learning--just as well as it applies to writing and reading. Ms. Hale said the following on her blog:
"It's been interesting to hear over and over again what readers imagined the author failed to do. And I keep thinking, that's such a useless response. Unless you're getting a phd in literacy criticism and doing your thesis on that author, that's not helpful to you. Speculation about what the author was trying to do, or whether or not she was "tired" of writing, etc., is pointless. We don't know. Instead, it's so much more beneficial to focus on understanding our own internal reader, and therefore ourselves. Where did the story fail you? Where did it work for you? So, what does that say about you? What were you hoping for? What did you need from the story? If you're a writer, what does that tell you about what kind of a story you want to write? For me, this kind of responding is just about how I think about the book. Instead of thinking, "The author really dropped the ball on the ending," I try thinking, "What did I want out of the ending instead of what I got? Why did I want that?"
In other words, instead of looking with a critical eye at what another person has done, we can look with a learning eye at what we are feeling, why, and what that means about how we think and operate. What we hope for and desire. And this in turn can help us deal more peaceably with others, with our creations, and with our lives.
In the end, we can't change anyone but ourselves anyway. And what a wonderful way to learn how we operate and how to do things better, more kindly, more effectively, and in a way that is most true to ourselves and how we want to be.
In Shakespeare's Hamelet, Polonius tells his son Laertes the following before the young man leaves for France:
"This above all, to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
Scholars may debate, and Ms. Hale may or may not feel this quote relates to her statement, but to me, if we are true to ourselves by learning about ourselves, and have the integrity to act in accordance with that--making adjustments where needed instead of focusing a critical eye on others--then we, at least, will always be fair; in writing, in reading, in creating, and most important, in how we treat and regard others.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Then I found this:
Whoa. If I remember right, it was literally the week after my dad's funeral that the Divine Miss Q made her first appearance. And boy, was I ever in need of something to love right then. I would never equate what I went through with the suffering of those young vets. There's no comparison. But the healing power of animals is something I get. Listening to their stories, I could empathize a little. And in empathizing with them, I understood Lon Langer a little better today: a guy who must have dealt with the same crippling side effects as those young vets. A guy who wasn't perfect, but tried hard to do right by his kids. A guy who passed the writing gene (or mutation) on to me.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Destructive Business Plan of Destruction. Compiled by Angus Darkspume, Fangxiety, and BadKarma, Esq. - Gnomes of Despair
Recorder: Willy Wussybottom, Gnomlet of General Uneasiness
- It has come to the attention of the Gnomes of Despair (hereinafter referred to as the Gns. of D.) that writers Maegan, Janiel, and Russo have slipped under the radar of said Gns. of D. and have managed to gather 52 followers to their "blog" of "writing". (Let it be noted that Gnome Darkspume disparaged any notion that what goes on on said "blog" could actually be confused with "writing.")
- The Gns. of D. suggest that the only reason the "Gnomeslayers," as they like to call themselves (let it be noted that Gnome BadKarma guffawed into his gnome-tea at this absurd self-stylization, spraying Gnome Fangxiety with the slimy stuff, necessitating Gnome Fangxiety's departure to shower and prevent any contamination to his person) . . where was I? Oh yes, the Gns. of D. suggest that the only reason the "Gnomeslayers" have managed to garner 52 followers is because they are cute, and not because of any actual talent.
- Gnome Darkspume protests the use of the word "cute." "Special Spirits" (hereinafter referred to as Spec. Spits.) is suggested as a replacement reference. Is voted on and accepted.
- Suggestions are accepted on how to stop the Spec. Spits. from garnering a larger fan base. The following Destructive Business Plan of Destruction is voted upon, a referendum passed, and the meeting adjourned in time for the Gnomes of Despair to conduct their weekly "Glee" viewing party:
- Sabotage Gnomes blog with flashing clipart images of glittering paranormal creatures.
- Hack into the URL and redirect visitors of the Gnomes blog to Parishilton.com.
- Hack into Gnomes blog and delete all references to Viggo Mortenson.
- Place subliminal messages of despair on blog in the form of sound files recorded at canine frequencies with messages such as: "Oh yeah? Well you STINK!" and "You're NOT CUTE!"
- So let it be written, so let it be done.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Did I succeed? That would be a definite no. I bit off one chuck of the brains and nearly vomited.
So, instead, I gave the slimy wonder to my two cats, BeBe and Lux.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I don't claim to be an expert on these guys. I've never read Robert Burns (although I know the tune, if not the words, to Auld Lang Syne), Sir Walter Scott (I own a nifty antique copy of Ivanhoe that I have yet to open), or Robert Louis Stevenson (does Muppet Treasure Island count?). But the city of Edinburgh has dedicated a whole museum to them. It's near Edinburgh Castle, just off the Royal Mile at the end of Lady Stair's Close. ("Close" is a fancy British-y word for "narrow passage that's ridiculously difficult to spot unless someone points it out." But trust me, it's there.)
I enjoyed wandering around the Writers' Museum because:
A) the warped windows produce eerie effects on the buildings outside
B) it's full of cool quotes and artifacts, like Sir Walter's childhood rocking horse
C) it features life-size mannequins of the authors and their friends
D) actually, the mannequins were a little creepy
So if you like dead Scottish dudes and you find yourself on the other side of the pond, drop in on the Writers' Museum. Now, what did I do with Ivanhoe . . .