Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I've been pondering a rather solemn event that happened in my family recently and thought I would write about that, but I've had enough solemn for the last week, so for now I'm going to give myself a break from the morose. I can always go back to it later.

I read this article on Yahoo today and it made me giggle. It's called "Facebook's War on Nipples."

It's all about the propriety of public breastfeeding, and how Facebook has been removing photographs that show any fully exposed breast (which is defined as showing the nipple and/or areola). So breastfeeding fanatics are going nuts about this.

Okay, I know for a lot of people it's a serious subject. I just find the whole fuss amusing. Here's how I feel about breastfeeing, if anyone cares: I didn't breastfeed my kids, so I'm slightly irked by all the militant women who insist that breastfeeding will make their kids better, stronger, smarter and/or healthier than every other kid on the planet. My kids are of way above average intelligence, and healthier than most kids, so I think the whole breastfeeding-is-superior-to-everything-else myth is a load of crap.

That being said, I don't really care if women breastfeed in public. It would be nice if they'd have a little modesty and throw a towel or something over their shoulder, but it's certainly not pornographic. However, as a culture we tend to squirm in our seats when we see a naked breast unless it is pornographic. For some reason boobs are more acceptable in pornography or "artistic" black and white photography than they are feeding a baby.

Just like almost every other contentious issue in our culture, people seem to believe it must be one way or the other. Groups, organizations, associations, and factions line up on either side of the issue and start hurling accusations and threats as if only one side can win the argument and from that day forward there will be no other choice but to adhere to the views of the winning side. Did we all forget that there is a middle ground, if anyone is brave enough to wade out into it?

Because at heart I'm a peacemaker - mediator - conciliator, always looking for a happy medium, I wondered:

Women breastfeeding in public aren't hurting anyone, so those people who freak out about it should just lighten up - maybe turn the other way or don't stare at the naked boobs? And women who breastfeed in public might just take into consideration that they're not alone in the world and that when you're in a public place other people's sensitivities should be taken into consideration. How hard is it to put a towel over your shoulder?

Anyway, I found this article to be a welcome diversion from all the stories reviewing the woes of 2008 and speculating on the woes to come in 2009.

So where would you stand on this issue? Are you a mediator or agitator? Are you pro-public breastfeeding or are you squeamish about it? Or do you even care one way or another? Come on, it's the last big issue of 2008...weigh in!

Monday, December 29, 2008

In Reading Heaven

Even though I've been down in the dumps over the holidays because of the uncertainty about my job (see previous post), I was overjoyed at the amount of new reading material received by family members as gifts at Christmas.

My son and I read like crazy, so family members know that books are always an excellent gift for both of us. Of course they obliged, as always, by restocking us with books this year.

Between us we received:

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
Critical Mass by Steve Martini
The Testament by Eric Van Lustbader
The Prodigal Spy by Joseph Kanon
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

We also got a book full of IQ tests, and a book about herbs and their medicinal uses, as well as a book about "freaky science" facts (beware: I'm likely to be posting some of those in the future!)

So we got a pretty good haul for reading this year, but I don't think these books will last very long, though, since I've already finished Artemis Fowl and Inkspell and I'm well into Inkdeath. Both Artemis Fowl and Inkspell were awesome. I can't help myself...books are like chocolate. Once I get started I just can't stop until they're all done!

Having the Rug Pulled Out

Just when I think my life is sailing along smoothly, life pulls the rug out from under me.

I found out last week that the company I work for is being acquired by a much larger company. I have been offered a job with the new company and assurances that my job and my pay will remain the same at least thru Jan 31.

Wow, that long? Gosh, the security is so warm and fuzzy. A whole month.

After having looked at the teeny tiny bit of information they've provided to us after much begging and pestering, from what I can figure out so far is that my job will be significantly different as will my pay after Jan 31...and not for the better.

I've spent a lot of frantic hours lately looking for another job, but of course with the economy in the tank, the job market is not so great. Everyone's cutting back. Nobody's hiring. They're making due with the employees they've got.

So it seems I'm trapped. I either tolerate a significantly different job that I don't want, with less pay which will make it incredibly difficult to support my family, or else I don't have a job at all. What a choice.

I've been just sick with panic. This company, coupled with the company I currently work for, chose 5:00 p.m. the Friday before Christmas to inform everyone of this merger. All of us have been upset and there seem to be few, if any, answers to our questions. I hate to be a glass is half empty kind of person, but what does that say about the company we're going into?

So, I will be spending January desperately searching for a new job, and crossing my fingers that things won't turn out nearly as badly as it seems they will.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Meatless Mincemeat and Peppermint Pinwheels

These are two of my favorite Christmas recipes. My mom made them when I was a kid, so they are very deeply rooted in my memories of Christmas.

The first recipe is meatless mincemeat pie. I understand that way "back in the day" mixing meat and fruit was both a flavor preference and a way to help preserve the meat. Those folks were much more accustomed to the savory flavors of meat and fruit, and in some situations I like it too. But as a dessert, it just doesn't work for me to mix meat, suet, and fruit. So this meatless mincement works just fine for me:

1 large orange
1 small lemon
15 oz raisins (I mix both golden and regular)
1 cup dried apricots (add more to taste)
8-9 medium tart apples cored (peeling is a personal preference...I prefer them peeled, my mom always left the peels on)
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tspns each of powdered cinnamon and nutmeg
3/4 tspn ground cloves (more or less to taste)
Remove seeds and skins from orange and lemon. Chop orange, lemon, and apricots in food processor. Peel (or not, as you prefer) and core apples, and either chop in small pieces or send them thru the food processor, too.
Put fruit and raisins in a pot with the apple cider. Bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add sugar and spices and simmer for 20 minutes longer or until thick. Makes enough for two 9-inch pies. Can either be frozen for future use, or baked immediately in a double crust pie.
The second recipe is for Peppermint Pinwheel cookies. The dough rolling sometimes gets a little unwieldy in this project, but the cookies are well worth it.
2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 egg yolk
1 c butter, soft
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn mint extract
1 tspn vanilla
red food coloring
Beat butter and sugar together in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Mix in the flour and other dry ingredients a third at a time blending well after each. You may need to add a little extra flour to make dough stiffer and less sticky. Divide dough in half. To one half add red food coloring and mint extract. Mix until the dough is dark pink.
Between sheets of wax paper or parchment, roll out each half of the dough to approximately 16x10 inches. Peel top sheet of wax paper or parchment from each half of dough. Invert one half and place on top of the other half, then peel off the wax paper or parchment that is now on top. Tightly roll the dough, jelly roll fashion. Wrap in foil then chill or freeze dough. Take out of freezer 1/2 hour before baking. Unwrap dough and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday, no matter how, where, or with whom you celebrate!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Inaugural Brouhaha

I'll admit that I am, generally speaking, a political junkie. I've been detoxing since the campaign and election season.

I was interested to read today, however, that Obama chose Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. My first reaction was - ewwwww. Honestly, I'm not a fan of organized religion. I consider myself to be a moderately spiritual person, I just don't like religions - I find them limiting, negative, and intolerant, for the most part, and I think that rather than bringing people together they generally push people apart.

I try not to pay attention to religious stuff, other than to notice that there's usually way too much of it in every day public life. It gets pretty tiresome.

So after I thought about the whole Rick Warren issue I came to several conclusions:

1. First, why is there a religious invocation at the inauguration at all? Isn't the swearing in of a new president a government/state/secular event? What ever happened to separation of church and state?

2. If we must include religion in yet another public event, it seemed at first glance that Rick Warren was not a very wise choice for Obama. His selection has stirred up quite a bit of controvery in socially progressive quarters. I'm not a big admirer of people like Warren who use their power to exclude, subjugate, or pass judgement on other people, and by choosing Warren, Obama seems to be condoning Warren's views and actions. Coming from a man who ran on a fairly socially progressive platform, this doesn't appear very logical.

3. On the other hand, Obama has a seriously big partisan mess to deal with and he also promised during the campaign to try to bring people together. Reaching out to a man with whom he claims to disagree on many social issues is a step in the direction of inclusiveness and healing across parties. Choosing Warren for this ceremony doesn't mean Obama is going to adopt his views. It is only a symbolic ceremony, after all.

In trying to mend the broken and bitter feelings left after 8 years of one-sided overzealous cliquishness, it will be impossible for Obama to make everyone happy all the time. He has a very difficult job to do aside from being president: he has to find a way to help peevish and petty politicians and other leaders and organizations come together and compromise, accept each other, and agree to at least listen to each other, even if they disagree.

He needs to help all of us understand that it's not us against them, but rather we're all Americans and we have to tolerate the vast variety of people who make up our social fabric. No one ideology or lifestyle or geographic location is superior or more acceptable or more valuable than any other.

I, and the majority of the country, have really high hopes for Obama and people want to believe in him. He has enormous expectations to live up to. Let's give the man some room to prove that he can do the things we need him to do. By choosing Warren for the inaugural invocation Obama is not purposely snubbing the social groups and issues that Warren disapproves of, but rather he is trying to reach out and smooth the waters.

Anyway, that's my rant for today. I guess I haven't completely detoxed from politics can be a tough monkey to get off your back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Out of the Blue

I didn't think I'd have anything to write about today - then the phone rang.

It was a theatre company in New York telling me they wanted to produce a short play I had submitted to them a while back as part of a short play festival in January. Boy, was I surprised! I happen to be quite fond of this play, so it was exciting that someone liked it enough to want to produce it!

I try to keep up and submit plays to a couple of places every month, but over the last few months I've been focusing strictly on fiction and haven't spent much time either writing or submitting plays.

All you writers out there will appreciate how much of a boost it is to your creative drive to have your work appreciated. Angie over at Gumbo Writer posted a piece at her blog today asking readers "what inspires you?" asking writers why they write.

I'm a fairly shy person so oddly I'm very self-conscious about actually watching any of my plays being performed, or having people read my writing. However, I write because I love to write. I love language and putting it together in new and different ways. I like painting pictures with words.

But I also like to know that what I've written has had an affect on someone. Maybe it's just a need for validation, I don't know, but who ever said artists make sense?

I'm sure most creative writers feel the same way. They may feel that their words are inadequate, flat, or faulty, and by making their writing public they're opening themselves up to potential humiliation. But there's always the chance that despite your trepidation, people will like what you've written! I think that's why a lot of writers write. Because it allows them to share that vulnerability with others. As a writer you put your humanity on the line and ask people to share it with you.

So, although I won't be able to actually attend the performance of my play in New York, I am very excited to have it produced, and I hope that whoever attends the performances enjoys watching it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

I guess Santa gave me an early holiday gift....I must have been a good girl this year! ; )

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gotta Love a Northern Plains Winter

Here in the frozen tundra of North Dakota we had a blizzard last night which left us with approximately 10 inches more snow, on top of the snow we already had.

It's currently about 8:00 p.m. and the air temp is somewhere around -17, with a wind child around -45. BRRRRRR.

Hubby and I went out earlier today to check things out, and I took these pix.

Gotta love winter in ND!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rejection Dejection

I am elated to announce that I will (finally) be graduating with my Bachelor's degree (in English) in May. This after having begun it 24 years ago.

However excited I am about this accomplishment, I'm realistic enough to know that it really gets me squat (other than a warm fuzzy feeling). So, I'm in the process of shopping for an MFA program in creative writing. Because our family is not in a financial position to be able to relocate so that I can attend a program full time, I'm looking for a low residency program.

I was excited to apply to the program at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. I have waited patiently and expectantly for several months now for an answer.

Today I got an e-mail with the news: I wasn't accepted to the program.

Like any artist, I took this rejection personally.

Despite this setback, I have several more programs on my list where I still need to apply. Hopefully one of them will see some promise in my writing.

If anyone has any recommendations for a good low residency MFA creative writing program, I'd love to hear about it.

Until I'm finally accepted somewhere (which is all each of us really wants, anyway, isn't it?!), I'll try not to feel too dejected over my first rejection.


Well, Brian at New Author was gracious enough to nominate me for the "Real Blogs, Real People" award. Thank you Brian, you are most kind.

The rules of this awardarama say that you're supposed to post the logo on your blog, place a link from the person from whom you received the award, nominate 7 other people, place links to their blogs on your blog, then leave them a comment to let them know.

Well, I've done the first two, but I think all of the blogs I follow deserve an award for being real so I'm going to respectfully decline to choose only 7 of them. I love them all. And since this award seems to quickly be making the rounds, most of them probably already have it anyway!

Thanks again Brian!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Daily Giggle

Snowmen fall from Heaven unassembled.

Hope for the Holidays

Yesterday on Written Expressions: The Blog there was a post entitled "Ho Ho Hum" about having difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit.

As I read, I was nodding my head in agreement. I've had difficulty getting into the spirit of Christmas for several years now. Decorating and cleaning up after Christmas ends up being my responsibility and it just adds to my work load. No matter how much I nag everyone else in the family, when it comes down to crunch time, I'm the one who ends up doing it.

And I'm so tired of buying more stuff for people who don't need more stuff. It's pointless.

I struggle to get through the holidays because I find no joy in it. It's just a matter of going through the motions and then getting back to a normal routine. I realize it's sad, and I really crave the days when I enjoyed Christmas. I just can't figure out how to get back to that feeling.

But today I read an article at Yahoo News entitled "The Grinch as Hero" with some pretty interesting suggestions for alternative ways to celebrate that shun the now standard holiday commercialism.

As I read, I found myself thinking maybe I can break out of my holiday ambivilance. Maybe there's another way! I felt my heart growing two sizes today! (okay, maybe I don't need the Grinch references).

But the point is, I think in order for me to recapture the holiday spirit I need to start thinking outside the same old, tired, worn out box.

I think maybe I'll ask everyone in my family to make one gift for each other. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. But handmade gifts are much more personal. It shows a lot more thought and consideration than just going to (insert giant super store or mall here) and buying more stuff.

For those of you who have tapped into the Christmas/Holiday spirit, what do you do differently that makes the holiday special? How do you renew your enthusiasm for the holiday each year?

I can't wait to read everyone's ideas. Maybe I can regain that spirit yet!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Silent Voices

My characters are not speaking to me.

I'm sure all of you who are writers have experienced this at some point or another. Knowing that is comforting, but somehow not quite helpful.

I've written the character studies. I know these people. The plot is all outlined and summarized. I've even written the first 2 chapters and one in the middle.

But now I'm drawing a blank. I've fallen victim to my own self-criticism. I'm crippled by doubt. It sucks. It's amateurish. It's too outlandish. The devil is in the details and even though I can come up with the summary and plot outline, I feel unable to write the nuts and bolts. I'm incapacitated by fear over the sheer magnitude of the project.

I have to write how many pages?!

I believe in the characters and the story. But I fall into the trap of comparing my writing with already-published writers and of course I pale by comparison.

I ask myself, is it even worth the effort? Can I ever hope to compare?

All of this inner hand-wringing is obviously stifling my creative process. Although I am tempted to give in and believe the inner critic, I am also determined not to give up.

So, what do all you other writers out there do to get your inner critic to shut the heck up and allow the words to flow?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tootsies vs Piddies

This is a discussion that ensued at our house this evening as we were making dinner.

My son started basketball practice yesterday and his feet are sore. So I told him he should ice his little tootsies (which is actually ironic because his feet are gigantic). He seemed confused.

I said, "Tootsies are feet." As if nobody knows that.

He said, "No, tooties are toes." I was incredulous.

I said, "No, piddies are toes. Tootsies are feet."

He said, "You're wrong." I am never wrong. At least I don't like to be, and I fight like crazy to prove that I'm right. I knew I was right in this instance.

However, being a democratic household, we took a poll. Everyone else in the family agreed that tootsies are toes and piddies are feet.

Of course I knew they were all insanely incorrect and because I absolutely hate to be wrong, especially when I am convinced beyond a doubt that I am, in fact, right, I set out to prove myself.

I immediately looked up "tootsies" on the online dictionary, where I was proven right. Tootsies are, indeed feet. Not being satisfied with one source of correctness, I had to corroborate my correctness with another source. I found another dictionary which also proved that tootsies are feet.

Proving piddies are toes was a little more difficult, but I was able to do that as well.

I then marched triumphantly into the room where the rest of my family had completely dismissed the conversation and moved on to something much more important, like playing retro games on the old Sega machine that my hubby dug out of the storage room.

I said, "I was right. Tootsies are feet and piddies are toes."

Everyone else said, "No they're not."

My family obviously has no respect for truth, and much more respect for the democratic process.

Reading List

I've had the same 2 books listed in the "what I'm reading" section on this blog for quite a while.

Well, I finally finished Brisingr. It didn't take me forever to finish because I wasn't interested in it, just that I'm a very busy girl.

However, it is a very, very long book and it tends to drag in many places. My 16-year-old son read it too and had the same complaint. We're both fans of the series (this is the 3rd of 4 books), but I think as a middle book in a series it suffers the sad fate of over-narration. Although Paolini's prose is often very lyrical and impressive, he could have easily condensed this book down to at least half its current length and had a book that was a much quicker read that moved the story along much more efficiently. It felt almost as if he had several pieces of action planned and then had to fill the gaps between with extra narration.

Don't get me wrong, I admire anyone who is capable of filling that much space...and then selling it. I have trouble writing longer pieces because I tend to want to get to the point. I'm not a very good rambler.

For anyone who is a fan of the Inheritance series (Eragon and Eldest), Brisingr is definitely worth reading, if for no other reason than it prepares you for the upcoming conclusion. There are some interesting battles, and some useful character development, and, of course, the story is moving along toward it's eventual completion. However, there's only one significant revelation in this book, and the rest is pretty much back story and busy work for the characters while we wait for the finale of the series in book 4.

(I'm still working on Palm Latitudes. It's an extremely dense book. I like it very much, but it's very time consuming to get through. It's like a book written in poetry rather than prose, so you have to pay very close attention to catch all the nuance. It's exhuasting!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Birth Day Reflection #2

Okay, I've been absent for a few days, but I have good excuses.

1. Thanksgiving got in the way.
2. Birthday for son #2 got in the way.
3. I am a member of the local Chamber Chorale and we are preparing for our annual Renaissance Christmas Feast and Concert. We have had rehearsals from Sat thru today, then performances are Thurs, Fri, and Sat. So between working and rehearsing, I have literally no free time.

So, in all fairness, since I posted a birthday reflection for son #1 on his birthday last week, I would like to give equal time to my youngest child.

Again, birthdays at our house always seem to elicit a reflection on the actual birth event. Even though this was his 10th birthday, a momentous one, the reflection was no different.

At 3:30 a.m., on the day he was born, I woke up to use the bathroom and as I hauled my hugely pregnant body out of bed, my water broke all over the carpet. Yuck. We lived a good hour's travel from the hospital and since contractions started right away and began to build quickly in strength and intensity, we had to scramble to get moving.

By the time we got to the hospital I was going like gangbusters. The nurses told me that labor and delivery was packed to overflowing as they ran around busily keeping track of all the laboring mothers. I asked the nurses about an epidural, so they checked to see how dilated I was: 7 cm and over 50% effaced. I panicked that I may not get an epidural because I was already so far dilated.

A side note here: I had given birth to my second child, my daughter, a mere 16 months previous to this birth. Her birth had been a harrowing and nightmarish experience where she suffered from shoulder dystocia (after her head was delivered, her shoulder stuck on my pubic bone), and the doctor literally had to insert both of her hands inside me and wrestle the baby's shoulder into the correct position for delivery. This was all done without any anesthesia of any kind. As anyone who has given birth knows, that exit is not very big, and certainly not meant to accommodate both a baby's head and 2 adult arms. Needless to say, it hurt a lot.

So, when it came time for my youngest to be born, I was determined to have an epidural because I had already had 2 difficult and painful deliveries. I wanted to avoid a third. Thankfully, they approved an epidural and the anesthesiologist was able to accomplish it in short order. Ah, the blissful glory of epidurals. Hallelujah and amen.

The rest of the birth was easy for me. I didn't feel a thing. But after my son was born, the doctor told me that he had also suffered from shoulder dystocia, though apparently not as badly as my daughter had.

The whole event, from water breaking to birth, lasted less than 5 1/2 hours. I've told my husband before that I may have difficult births, but at least they don't last very long!

So that's the story of my youngest child's birth (and inadvertently the story of my middle child, too!).

Daily Giggle

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As is the custom on Thanksgiving, it is time to give thanks. Here are the top 5 things for which I am most thankful:

1. My family.
2. My health (and that of my family).
3. A roof over our heads and an income to pay for it.
4. The opportunity to continue and finish my education.
5. A new president.

I'm certain that everyone else's list is identical for at least #1 and hopefully #2. Aside from family and health, what are you most thankful for?

I hope everyone has a very wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Birth Day Reflection

I am currently doing two things:
1. Avoiding homework.
2. Reflecting on the birth of my oldest child.

Today is my son's 16th birthday. I know I've already discussed my melancholy over this day in a previous post. But something I have always found quite interesting is that birthdays always seem to trigger a reflection about the actual event of being born.

I don't know if it's the same in your family, but in mine when your birthday rolled around, you were always treated to a retelling of the story of your birth. Birth stories are family legend. It's a tradition on the level of turkey on Thanksgiving, Christmas trees, and fireworks on the 4th. Birthdays involve birthday cake, presents, and birth stories.

So, here I am, avoiding database design and construction (BORING), and thinking about my oldest child and how he came to be in our lives.

We had miscarried once before him, which had left us quite nervous. Other than having had a problem with preterm labor and a month on bedrest, the pregnancy went well. My water broke early in the morning, and although we lived an hour away from the hospital, there were still no contractions by the time we got there so they started me on pitocin (which, in my opinioin, is an extremely evil medication). Contractions began as suddenly and painfully as if I had been hit by a Mack truck.

Hard labor lasted for several hours (or rather an eternity) and then it was time to push. Keep in mind that throughout this entire experience I had no medication of any kind. No epidural, no other meds, nada. I was young and idealistic (perhaps stupid). When it came to pushing I had no idea what I was doing. Nobody teaches you the nuts and bolts of shoving a watermelon through a pinhole. It didn't help that this child was 9 pounds and had a big head.

After two and a half hours of pushing and no progress, he started having decelerations in his heart rate and the doctor was seriously concerned for his well-being so she pulled out the forceps. These are another of the most evil medical inventions ever. The doctor managed to grasp my son's head and as I pushed, she braced a foot on the bed and leaned back, pulling with all of her strength. I'm surprised that when he finally gave up and entered the world the doctor didn't land on her butt with the baby in her lap.

Thankfully we were none the worse for wear and proudly bore the scars of the ordeal: I with dozens of stitches, he with the only blackeye he's ever had (the doctor got the forceps on crooked in her desire to get him out quickly).

Now, 16 years later to the day, we will share the day again by celebrating our family, consuming birthday cake, taking pictures, opening presents, and reliving the story of how he came into the world and made us a family, rather than just a couple.

Happy Birthday Scooter!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Daily Giggle

Never do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics.

Conference Relief

For those of you who read my first "Conference" installment, "Conference Jitters," you know that yesterday was my senior seminar conference where those of us who are graduating from the English department this year were required to give a presentation regarding the papers we've written as the capstone project of our degree.

All I can say is that I'm so incredibly happy that ordeal is over. However, as with most situations we dread it was, of course, not nearly as bad as I anticipated it would be. In fact, it ended up being pretty anti-climactic. Next week we will receive all of the comments from the instructors who were present, so that should be interesting. Thankfully, no matter what the rest of them thought, only the instructor of the course will be grading our efforts!

So, now all that's left is to finish writing the paper. I set out to write 3 chapters from a proposed novel. I have two and a half completed, so it shouldn't be very difficult to finish. Of course, then I have to begin the arduous process of completing the entire novel. I think I will make December my personal NaNoWriMo month since I just haven't had time to participate in it this month. We'll see what kind of progress I can make on the entire novel by Jan 1!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Language Laziness

Over at Written Expressions today's blog is a rant on the misuse of "I," "me," "us," "we," and "them." (Me and him are best friends, etc). I agree that this is a seriously irritating epidemic. It makes me cringe every time I hear it.

However, my personal language laziness rant has to do with the misuse of "less" and "fewer."

For instance:

Diet soda has less calories than regular.
10 items or less.

Apparently advertisering copywriters everywhere have less intelligence or education than they need to do their jobs!

(p.s., the misuse of "your" versus "you're" gets me irritated too....)

So, what's your language laziness pet peeve?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daily Giggle

Typos: tehy mkae ilfe mroe ufn :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Can't help it. I love this piece of facebook flare.

Daily Giggle

A classic is a book that is much praised and rarely read.*
*C'mon, admit it. You didn't read ALL the classics you were assigned in college. You faked your way thru some of them, didn't you?

Conference Jitters

This Saturday is the conference for my senior seminar course. We're all going to be presenting the very long papers we wrote as our English capstone project to a group of professors and audience who are all only vaguely interested because they're obligated as university professors and family/friends to attend this conference.

There are 10 of us graduating from the English department this year (it's a small university) so there are 10 papers to sit through.

This year, for the first time, along with the option to write a painfully dull academic research paper, the instructor gave the option to write a creative paper. Oh Joy! Because I did not want to write a super long and boring academic paper.

So, I chose to write 3 chapters of a novel I'm working on, and I'll be presenting one of those chapters at the conference on Saturday. I was the only person who chose the creative writing option. The rest of the paper subjects consist of:

1. A biblical analysis of Fellowship of the Rings
2. A feminist gender analysis of Katherine Mansfield's "Bliss"
3. An analysis of how Hawthorne's story "The Great Stone" is symbolic of man's connection to nature
4. An exploration of the tendency of Victorian authors to revere the dead female form
5. A paper by an English ed. major on the importance of teaching reading for deeper comprehension
6. A feminist analysis of Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek Voyager
7. A feminist analysis of Hawthorne's "Blithedale Romance"
8. A feminist critique of Kerouac's "On the Road" and "The Subterraneans"
9. A feminist analysis of romance novels as a genre.
10. My novel chapter.

(There's only one guy in the class...can you guess which paper is his?)

Lucky for me, I drew the very last spot on the conference schedule, so if anyone is either a) left in the audience, or, b) still awake, I get to close the show with a literary reading from my novel-to-be.

Needless to say, as the only creative piece in the bunch, I'm a nervous wreck. On the one hand, I feel like I lucked out because I haven't had to kill myself researching, citing sources, making airtight arguments, etc. Blech. On the other hand, I feel like because I haven't done that work, because my whole paper is fiction, that perhaps I will command less respect for not having worked so hard on an academic analysis of something.

So, I have 2 more days to polish my presentation, practice reading my chapter out loud, and trying to squeeze the whole thing into 10 minutes.

Wish me luck...and send me all your positive vibes on Saturday! I'm hoping I can make my little creative piece shine in comparison to all the high brow academic work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daily Giggle

Why do they put Braille on the drive-thru bank machines?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Daily Giggle

Is there another word for synonym?

Absent. . .

I haven't written anything for the last 2 days because we're in a desperate search for a house. We finally sold our house, after 3 summers of trying, and now that it's sold we have nowhere to go. This is causing us some serious anxiety. Unfortunately for us, the housing market where we live (the windswept boonies of North Dakota) has not suffered the same fate as the rest of the country, (at least in the small towns the houses sit collecting dust as the tumbleweeds fly by) and houses are still overpriced and selling before they even make it to the MLS. There are no rentals and no for-sale-by-owner.

We have to be out of this house by December 12th. I can hear the clock ticking.

We made an offer on a house today which the seller bought 2 years ago and is now selling with an asking price of 20,000 more than they bought it for. They rejected our offer because we offered them a mere 2000 under their asking price. They won't budge a dime. That pissed me off. Unfortunately, it's still the most reasonably priced house in our price range. Dang.

Our realtor told us she could get us a great rate at one of the hotels in town. So where do we put everything we own while we're living in a hotel? Park the U-Haul in the parking lot and stare at it from the hotel window? I don't think so.

So tomorrow we're going to look at another house we can't really afford, and a possible rental that is a mere yards from the major north-south highway in the state (there's one major north-south highway and one major east-west highway in's a simple state), and 13 miles south of the city, where we really wanted to move in the first place.

On top of all that, if we ever find a place to live, we'll be moving right in the middle of finals week.

Can anyone say nuclear-event-stress-meltdown?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Daily Giggle

Accounting is accrual profession.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daily Giggle

(something new...)

Never moon a werewolf.


Well, Small Footprints was tagged earlier today and added some spice to the game by tagging everyone who commented on the post. I commented, so here we are!

So, 8 things about me:

1. I'm proud to say I've been happily married to the same man for 18 years and we're still in love.
2. I'm 42 years old and excited to FINALLY be finishing my Bachelor's degree (and hopefully moving on to an MFA if I can get accepted into a program!)
3. I hate housecleaning, so I avoid it.
4. I'm a feminist.
5. I'm painfully shy and hate to have my picture taken.
6. I'm left-handed.
7. I'm a new blogger and currently addicted to it (though I don't have nearly enough time to read all the blogs I want to!)
8. I'm not a fan of organized religion, but I am spiritual.

Now, here are 8 bloggers who are being tagged!

1. Suldog
2. C. Beth Blog (cuz she loves the attention!)
3. My Own Velvet Room
4. Written Expressions
5. Alana at Random Thoughts of a Crazy Liberal
6. Brian at The New Author
7. Eavesdrop Writer
8. Up the Hill Backwards

The tag rules are as follows:

Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag eight people and list their names.
Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and to read your blog.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Word of the Day - A Very Short Story

I originally wrote this as a very short play, but thought it would make a cute very short story, too. Hope you like it!


Jake walked into the break room and poured himself a cup of coffee, then sat at the table and shuffled through the newspaper until he found the sports. Then Amanda walked in. Jake groaned to himself and wondered if he could slip out unnoticed, but since he was the only other person in the room he figured that might be tough. No matter. He knew he had to make a run for it before it was too late.

“Hey Jake, how’s it going?” asked Amanda. Damn, too late, Jake thought to himself.

“Not too bad, how about you?” he answered as casually as possible.

“Pretty good. Are you going to the sales meeting this afternoon?” she asked. Jake cringed at the tedium of the small talk. Now he knew he was stuck. He had to escape the conversation before she got to the calendar. As he stood up he answered.

“Um, yeah, see ya there!” With that he thought he was home free. He strode confidently toward the door, hoping he could make it before:

“Hey, Jake, it’s time for ‘Word of the Day’,” said Amanda cheerfully. Double damn. So close and yet so far. Jake pondered his choices:

1. Suffer through the Word of the Day humiliation where Amanda reads the word of the day and Jake doesn’t know what it means and Amanda makes him feel like a small, stupid man.
2. Protest the ridiculousness of her daily ritual with heated indignation.
3. Leave.

He reasoned that if he just left, she’d follow him until he caved and went through the humiliating ritual anyway, this time in front of coworkers. He’d seen her do it before. Every other person in the office had been her target at one point or another. If he protested then the whole scenario could last longer, get louder, draw a crowd, and then he’d just have to go through it anyway. So he sighed to himself and, not for the first time, cursed Amanda as a linguistic bully.

“Okay, Amanda, let’s get this over with. What’s the Word of the Day?”

“Today’s word is ‘ineffable’,” she proclaimed.

“What kind of word is that?”

“It’s an adjective. You know, a descriptive word?” she said.

“I know what an adjective is, Amanda. I’m not that dumb,” said Jake. “I meant, is it a real word? Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the value of it, I just think it’s kinda rude.”

Amanda seemed confused.

“I’m not following you. How is the word ‘ineffable’ rude?” asked Amanda.

Now it was Jake’s turn to be confused.

“Well, isn’t everybody effable? I mean, some people are less effable than others, I’ll give you that, but for the most part I think pretty much everyone’s effable, give or take a few exceptions,” he said.

“Are you serious?!” she asked.

“Now I’m not following you. You said the word of the day is ineffable. I get it. I’ll even use it in a sentence: Becky is so effing ugly she’s ineffable,” said Jake, pleased that he had finally beat Amanda at her own game.

Amanda just rolled her eyes in disgust.

“Wait, that’s not what it means?” he asked. He couldn’t believe it. He’d been so sure.

“No, not even close. It means: Incapable of being expressed in words; indescribable; as, the ineffable joys of heaven,” she said.

Jake just stared at her.

“That’s just stupid. Who’d ever use that? My definition is much better,” he said.

“But it’s wrong!”

“Who says? I reject your definition and substitute my own!” Jake said. He was tired of playing her game. He marched over to the coffee machine and refilled his cup, then headed for the door.

“It’s not my definition,” she said. “It’s Merriem-Webster’s.”

Jake turned and faced Amanda defiantly.

“Well, he’s dead, isn’t he? He’ll never know if I don’t use his word properly. Besides, with a name like Merriem Webster, I’d be willing to bet he was ineffable, too.”

Amanda looked stunned. Jake couldn’t believe it. He’d never seen her speechless before. He’d won!

“I give up. You’re insane,” she said indignantly.

Amanda huffed and pushed her way by him as she left the room. Jake was delighted he’d finally beat her, and couldn’t just let it drop.

“Nope, not insane, just impudent!” he said as he followed her toward the maze of cubicles. Drunk with linguistic power, he couldn’t control himself. He didn’t really know what impudent meant, but he knew he’d at least heard the word before.

“That’s an adjective, too!” he said. “It means. . .”

Amanda stopped, turned around to face him, and he watched as a sly little smile spread across her face. He suddenly had a bad feeling.

“Yes, I know. It means you can’t perform,” she said triumphantly as she turned and disappeared into the sea of chuckling coworkers who parted to let her pass. Jake knew he’d been burned. His linguistic impotence had allowed her to use her damned “Word of the Day” to emasculate him yet again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Santa's Wish List

I can't think of anything profound to write today because my brain is completely wiped from work. So I'm posting a picture of one of our cats. His name is Klitschko, after the boxing Klitschko brothers (because, well, he's 20+ pounds and looks like a big scary Russian boxer). But he's really a big...pussy cat. You see where he's laying? On my work. He comes into my office and jumps up on my work space without regard to the fact that I'm WORKING!
For those of you who believe in fate, or answered prayers, or Santa Claus, the story of how we came to adopt Klitschko the cat is a sweet one. Two years ago at the end of November, my daughter, who was 9 at the time, wrote a Wish List for Santa and posted it on the fridge. The first thing on the list was a "kitty who will sit on my lap and let me rub its belly." (You see, our other cat is not so friendly. If you try to pet him you're likely to pull back a bloody stump.)

About 3 days later, in freezing snowy weather, what do you think happens but this poor bedraggled, half-starved stray cat shows up at our door with sweet pathetic puppy-dog eyes. Of course my daughter fell in love instantly, and Mr. Klitschko became a member of the family.

He has definitely lived up to her request, too. He lets everyone rub his belly, and sleeps on everyone's beds, and sits on everyone's laps (and makes me sneeze).

So, that's my story of the wonder of fate, or karma, or unity in the universe, or Santa, or whatever you choose to call it.

Hope everyone has a great evening!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bittersweet Sixteen

My oldest child is about to turn 16. This has caused me some anxiety. Not just because it makes me feel old to realize that I have a near-adult aged child, but also because I dread the day he wants to leave.

Here's the thing: No one ever told me when I gave birth to that red screaming bundle (who, by the way, didn't really even want to be born in the first place and caused me screaming agony as the doctor literally ripped him from my body), that time would suddenly shift into overdrive and as the years flew by in a blur I would almost instantaneously find myself 16 years later wondering where my baby went.

We have a very close family, and aside from being a really rotten infant, this son of mine has been a wonderful child and has turned into the kind of adolescent everyone dreams of having: well behaved, intelligent, considerate, responsible. Not only is he my son, but he's my friend and I enjoy spending time with him every day.

I am having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that I'm going to have to let him leave and have a life of his own in a couple of years. How does anyone raise a child who is so much a part of your own identity and then figure out how to live without them in your life every day? It's a concept I'm currently unable to wrap my mind (and heart) around.

Although I have always had a rocky relationship with my mother, I'm beginning to have an inkling of sympathy for her (whereas in the past she just plain annoyed me) every time she says, at age 63, that she is still suffering from "empty nest syndrome."

My only scrap of solace is that this son is somewhat of a homebody. He likes to be at home with us. So I'm hoping that he'll want to spend at least his first year of college at home, giving us all the chance to wean slowly into his adulthood. Is it greedy of me to hope for this? I certainly don't want him living at home when he's 30 or 40. That would be pathetic. But 18 is only 2 years away, and I'm just not ready to let him go.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Veggie Pizza Recipe

Friday night is pizza night at our house, but we live in a tiny town where the only takeout pizza to be found is from a gas station; so needless to say, we make our own.

Since pepperoni is the kids’ favorite, that’s what we usually make, but my husband and I were craving something a little less pedestrian, so we started experimenting and came up with an awesome vegetarian concoction that makes me wish every day was Friday!

Keep in mind that this recipe is flexible. You can use whatever veggies you want, add chicken if you like, use more or less sauce to taste, etc. I’ve written the recipe the way we like it, but feel free to experiment.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures for you (because we ate it all), but you can use your imagination. Give it a try! It’s easy to make, and absolutely delicious!

Veggie Pizza Fabuloso

2 packages of Jiffy pizza crust mix prepared per package directions
¾ cup ranch dressing
1 tspn garlic powder
Chopped spinach
Broccoli florets
Finely chopped white onion
Chopped Roma tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare pizza crust per package directions. If it’s too sticky, add some flour. Be sure to allow dough to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. (I boil water in a coffee mug for 3 minutes in my microwave so the inside of the microwave is nice and warm, then put the bowl of dough in for 5 mins).

Chop, dice, mince your vegetables. I didn’t put quantities in the list because it’s really up to you how much you want to pile on.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Roll your dough to desired thickness (for this pizza a thin crispy crust is yummy). Place the pizza crust in the oven for about 5 minutes to prebake it slightly.

Mix the ranch dressing and garlic powder in a bowl.

Take the slightly prebaked pizza crust out of the oven and top with the ranch mixture, veggies (including tomatoes), and then Mozzarella cheese on top.

Put the whole pizza back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is slightly brown on the bottom.

Remove from oven, cut with a pizza wheel (or any other cutting device), and enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Winter Weather Update

Here are the latest pix after 24 hours of snow. We literally had to shove the front door open this morning, there was so much snow. Some of the drifts were several feet deep. Schools were closed, and if you know anything about North Dakota you know that's remarkable because they NEVER close anything. Needless to say, the kids had a great time all day long!

Finish This Line:

Many of us have jobs that make us crazy. My "real" job is sending me over the deep edge recently.

I telecommute to my job with an office in my basement, and spend hours on IM with coworkers, often commiserating about the insanity. Today has been especially stressful, and in a moment of giddy madness we've started this ongoing fill-in-the-blank challenge in order to ease the strain.

It's a sort-of stress management writing prompt (I'm multi-tasking by combining work and blogging!)

I'm wondering what kinds of things you can come up with? Let me know how you'd finish this sentence:

You don't have to be crazy to work here .....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Welcome Winter!

This is the weather we woke up to this morning. I took these pictures out our front and back doors. It's definitely winter in North Dakota today! Supposed to snow all day and into the night. We'll see how much we end up with.
Welcome Winter!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My thoughts this morning are still on the election yesterday. I have to admit to feeling a sense of relief that the last eight years are finally behind us, and beyond that I'm beginning to feel a growing sense of joy. I know the economy's a disaster, and we've got two messy wars to deal with, but I can feel change in the wind and it's very refreshing.

I work with people all over the country and the concensus of opinion from everyone I've talked to this morning is the same: overwhelming happiness.

It's nice we can all finally come together. It's the way America is supposed to feel.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Jitters

Here we are at election day...finally! I have to admit to being somewhat of a political junkie. I'll be up until all hours watching election results and hoping that it will be decisive enough that we don't go through another debacle like 2000.

However, I really worry about all the "political pundits" and talking heads like CNN's "Best Political Team on TV." What are they going to do with themselves after today? Is there someplace they can go in order to rehab? I imagine detoxing from a political campaign isn't easy. I hope someone takes care of those poor people and makes sure they get the help they need....

But, we still have to get through today. Hopefully things will go smoothly, no major hanky panky, no Supreme Court involvement and with any luck Americans will choose more wisely this time than they have in the recent past and we can look forward to getting our country back on track.

The most important thing, though, is TO GO OUT AND VOTE!!!!

(I voted absentee so I won't have to stand in any lines!)

Good luck and good voting.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lollipop vs Sucker

This is leftover Halloween business.

We stumbled upon a philosophical question Halloween night after the kids had dumped their monstrous bags of candy on the floor and were sorting the hordes into categorized piles (i.e., "how many Snickers do you have?" "I don't know, but I have 8 Butterfingers," etc).

My youngest son (he's 10) had separated his suckers/lollipops into two piles and we asked him why. He said one pile was suckers and one pile was lollipops. So we asked him how he defined the two. He said suckers are the round blobs of hard candy stuck on the end of a stick, and lollipops are the flat blobs of hard candy stuck on the end of a stick.

My husband and I were amused that he'd even made a distinction. As far as I'm concerned, they're all the same. So, today I spent some time researching lollipops and suckers (yes, I do have a life, but this was moderately interesting, so I wanted to resolve it!)

I discovered that technically speaking, the official term for any blob of hard candy on the end of a stick is lollipop, and that sucker is a synonym and/or dialectic reference to a lollipop which apparently originated in about 1907. I did find an interesting discussion about the subject on which generally seemed to support my son's assertion of the difference between the two, but that's not necessarily a reliable source - more like a poll.

So, I'll tell my son what I discovered when he gets home from school, but I'm sure it won't change the way he defines his candy. He was pretty adamant about it. Let me assure you, if anyone knows about candy, it's a kid and you never want to get between a kid and his candy.

How do you define a blob of hard candy on the end of a stick?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prisons Going Green

I saw this article on Yahoo news, and thought it was worth passing along. It's good to see that prisons are making efforts at conservation, sustainability, and reduction of their impact on the environment. Kudos to them!

"Green Prisons Farm, Recycle, to Save Energy, Money"

Sublime Irony

For any of you who read my post yesterday, you'll know that I spent it complaining about having to clean the house so that another realtor can show it to another client who won't buy it. I admitted to the world that I and my family live like slobs, and lamented that they'd have to haul our cold dead bodies out of here because it'll never sell.

Well, guess what? The irony is that these people made an offer on it. Go figure. Just when we've completely given up and become unrepentently jaded, fate steps in and says "gotcha" (which, of course, fate is wont to do. That's why they call her fickle).

Now we have to find somewhere to live. Tomorrow, the search begins....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shipshape - NOT

Today is Saturday. Our house is for sale, and although I have little hope that it will ever sell and that we will live here for eternity until they haul our dead bodies out in black zip-up bags, we still have to go through the motions when a realtor calls, like one did last night, and says they have a client who wants to take the tour.

The problem is that we are slobs. Deep down in my soul of souls I know this. But they say that the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. At times like this, when I know strangers will be looking at every cranny in my house, the stark reality of what we are is unavoidable.

It's not that I want to be a slob, or ever set out to be one. I would like to live in a pristinely clean, magazine-cover worthy home. But I just can't seem to manage it. We live in clutter, disarray, chaos. I work full time and I'm a full time student. As you can imagine, that leaves little free time, and what free time I do get, I guard jealously. Who wants to spend that time as a drudge? Certainly not me! I can think of dozens of things I'd rather do with my pitifully small reprieves from commitment: read a book, watch TV, play with the kids, go for a walk, bake a cake, go shopping, take a nap....anything but clean. YUCK.

I also do not subscribe to the idea that just because I am mother, wife, woman, the chores of the house fall to me by default. No way. I'm a liberated feminist. I've raised my kids on the mantra of: "You live in this house too; if you contribute to the mess, you contribute to cleaning it up." However, slovenliness doesn't seem to bother them so much. They clean when my husband and I crack the whip, but not before.

It is somewhat of an inconvenience for them when I tell them they can't have friends come in the house because I'm mortified by how we live. At that point they tend to resort to whining and begging, rather than cleaning up. They spend a lot of time at their friends' houses rather than the other way around. Sometimes I quiz them when they come back, asking them to compare the state of their friends' houses to ours. I don't have the chance to see many other peoples' homes, so I often wonder where ours falls on the cleanliness scale.

So here I am, admitting to the world that we live in a cluttered, messy, disheveled, and sloppy condition. I've taken the first step. My mother will be humiliated, since she raised us in a home so clean it bordered on sterile. But there are times when you just have to let go of the weights that drag you down. Is having an immaculate house really that important in the grand scheme of things? Would I be proud if after I died and the best that could be said about me was "she kept a darn clean house?" I say there are bigger fish to fry, better ways to spend my time.

So I'm admitting my faults, and letting them go. I want my epitaph to read: "She had better things to do with her life than worry about dust bunnies."

Unfortunately, we still have to dig out so the realtor can show the house today. Damn.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Brainstorm Mini-Challenge

Cece: At It Again: I have come to storm your brain.#comments

This is my response to the brainstorm mini-challenge at Cesia's blog:

Angela had counted herself among the lucky who'd survived cancer. But hers was not the typical survival story, and as she sat in the diner in Vegas, disguised in a wig and sunglasses, she considered how she had ended up running for her life.

Per her instructions for the mini-challenge, let me know what you anticipate the story to be about? Genre? Conflict? Resolution? Then check out Cesia's challenge and try it on your blog!

Halloween Rant

I hate Halloween, which I'm sure will be an unpopular sentiment.

Halloween bothers me for several reasons:

1. We're subjected to violent, bloody movies for an entire month leading up to Halloween day. I don't like scary movies anyway, but the majority of them have no plot, they're badly acted, and their only purpose is to show as many people being maimed and killed with as many different appliances and implements as possible. Pointless. If it's really necessary, why can't it just be on Halloween day? After all, the holiday is just one day, not a whole freakin' month.

2. Halloween is expensive: costumes, pumpkins, decorations, candy, classroom parties. I gave up buying costumes for my kids years ago because they're cheesy and lame and EXPENSIVE. For the last few years the kids have made their own costumes from what we have around the house (much like we did when I was a kid), and we usually end up buying a few accessories, but they've liked these costumes better anyway. The kids have to shell out money to have a party in the classrooms. They're not even allowed to participate until they pay. It's not like school isn't expensive enough, but I'm being nickeled and dimed to death for classroom parties.

3. Carving pumpkins. First, it's another expense. Second, it's messy. Third, they rot and stink.

4. Sugar wars. After traipsing around town in the cold and dark and begging for candy at every house in town, each of my kids has a giant haul of candy. Now I become the bad guy because I won't let them binge and overdose on sugar until they puke. So I have to spend the next month doling out candy and listening to begging and whining about why they can't have just one more piece today? Not to mention the fact that all that sugar is just plain unhealthy.

5. It's the principle. I'm all for stimulating the economy, especially since it's in the tank these days, but I'm broke enough as it is. Why in God's name would I care about supporting the candy industry for the third time in a year (Valentines, Easter, Halloween).

I don't want to feel obligated to celebrate something. I want to celebrate it because it's meaningful and fun. Halloween has become an obligation and we're just going thru the motions: dressing up, spending money, porking out on candy.

So, that's why I hate Halloween. Bah humbug.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Magnetic Verse

Even though I'm a writer, I'm not a poet. In my opinion, good poetry is very difficult and takes a certain talent and lots of practice.

However, last Christmas I bought a box of Refrigerator Poetry for my daughter and found myself inexplicably drawn to it. I would sit on the floor in front of the refrigerator for hours, mesmerized by the piles of magnetic words.

I've posted below some of my favorite results from those sessions. I'm still not a poet, but it turned out to be a surprisingly useful creative exercise!

Misty forest floor
Sweet and cold.
Deep silver wind
Tears the still morning.
Land cut shallow by wild rain.
The power of nature orders the universe.
Winter rest,
Shadowy peace.
These long naked nights,
Broken and beautiful.
Perfect snow
White and cool
Green spring soon.
Computer dreams,
Internet storm.
Ancient books,
Quiet and bright –
Words from the beginning of time.
Down into his desire.
One game,
Very quick.
Don’t look!
Gotta have it.
So hot;
Playing with fire.
Please just finish.
Secret beast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If The World Could Vote

I found this interesting web site on another blog and thought I'd pass it along.

Pet Peeve

Here's a reader's pet peeve that I'd like to take a reader's poll on: to dog-ear or not to dog-ear? Are you a bookmark user or a dog-earer? I'm personally a dog-earer.

My husband and I have an ongoing argument about this, and as shallow as it may sound, it actually gets at the root of a philosophical argument about how people view and value books.

My husband's argument is that if you dog-ear the pages of a book, it's disrespectful. You should treat books with respect, and deference. You should honor your books and be considerate of them.

My argument is that a book is like a cozy blanket, or your favorite jammies: they're meant to be loved and used. To me, a book with lots of dog-ears and a ratty binding, and maybe fingerprints inside shows that it's adored, well-read, and loved.

So tell me, do you bookmark or dog-ear?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So, the thing is, I'm a virgin blogger. I've never done it before. So the chances are good that I'm going to make mistakes, feel awkward, and giggle nervously, and I'll probably need lots of practice in order to get good at it. But I'm hoping that I'll have fun while I'm learning and be the better for it.

I wanted to start this blog because, at heart, I'm a writer. But I'm also a voracious reader. So it occurred to me that it would be nice to have a place to write about the things I read, because deconstructing literature is a helpful way to learn about writing, and it also helps to understand the deeper and richer meaning of stories.

Now, although my primary purpose in starting this blog is to discuss both "serious" and "popular" literature, it's very likely that I'll want to talk about any number of other things, so be prepared to shift gears. After all, I don't read so fast that I can blog every day about a new book (maybe a new story, though).

Anyway, welcome to the site, share your thoughts and your literary criticisms and interests. I'd like to know what other people are reading and what they think about it.

By the way, I'm currently reading: Brisinger, by Christopher Paolini.