Sunday, August 28, 2005

I was victorious!

Shopping. The word alone is enough to strike fear in most men, with the exception of those who actually know how to create "a look". Stereotypically, women are supposed to love to shop. I'm not sure where I went wrong on this. I do not like to shop. *let's take a moment for you all to get over the shock* In and of itself this is not such a bizarre comment, but when paired with the fact that in certain parts of my life I can be termed as "high maintenance" by some of my friends, this becomes almost heart attack enducing.
I do not like to shop. There I said it. I get nervous and anxious and cranky. Especially if I'm looking for something specific. I'll be honest, I simply do not have the patience to shop. I have had those few moments where I can wander through the mall for no reason in particular. I attribute those to being new to the area and without friends. Now that I have friends and am in a more lucid frame of mind, I have to wonder if someone didn't slip me something in order to watch me walk around the mall at random.
So I do not shop well. But I love to get a good deal. I love it! Show me a dress that is 75% off and I'm ready to dance through the aisles.
So, with all of this in mind, I drove up to the new Outlet Mall with my aunt this past friday. We were on a mission: get me school/work clothes. See, for two years I worked for a company where I could wear jeans to work every day. And I did. My other job required nicer clothes, but I am only there 1-2 days a week. So I had a handful of nicer outfits I could pull together, and that was about it. I realized that wouldn't cut it this fall, as I get ready to spend a total of 10 weeks this quarter, and all of next quarter, in the field Student Teaching. This requires nicer clothes. And not frumpy clothes. I've been warned by the lovely Serena that if I wear frumpy teacher clothes she will be forced to take drastic action against me.
We drove to the outlet mall, we visited the shops. I suffered through trying on the ENTIRE (and I'm almost not exaggerating here) petite department at Ann Taylor. I discovered that pants hate me. But skirts...ah, skirts, they love me. They show off my curves in a lovely way. I love skirts. And especially my new skirt. Of course, said new skirt is of a lovely chocolate brown shade which required me to purchase shoes of a similar color in order to not have to teach barefoot. So now, I have lovely chocolate-y brown shoes, a lovely, lovely skirt, and a few tops to mix and match. A shoes. Shoes that fit (another difficult thing for me). Now I can't wait for fall, when I can wear my new clothes (cuz they just look a bit odd in late August).

Thursday, August 25, 2005


We writers are hardest on ourselves. It's a proven fact that no editor, agent, critique partner, husband, wife, lover, mother or father can be any harder on us than we are.
This has become the most apparent to me over the last couple of days. I'm in a race against the least, the clock in my head that is. I begin my student teaching/classes next week with a couple of days of meetings and a couple of days of room organization and lesson planning with my cooperating teacher. Before this happens, I want to finish the chapter I'm currently working on, plus one more. This will put me in the position where I will only have 8 chapters to write before the end of the year. You did read that correctly, somewhere in between school, work and teaching (and hopefully going out with friends at least once or twice) I plan to write 2 chapters a month over the next four months.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this could qualify me for an insanity plea.
And I'm not the only one who does this. I have a friend on painkillers who's bummed because it means she won't make her page goals. Another friend is bummed because she's barely looked at her book since her baby was born four months ago.
Why do we do this to ourselves? It's not like there is an editor with a guillotine standing over us waiting for us to miss our page goal. Nope. No guillotine in sight. And all around me is encouragement. The Goalkeepers, Ms. K, family...all I get from them is "Great Job!" (and the occasionally where are my pages? from Ms. K, but she's pushy). Their encouragement is what keeps those angry dragons of self-doubt away.

In the meantime though, I have pages to to borrow a phrase, "Talk amongst yourselves."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Always wear your floaties...

I'm home. I know most of you have no idea I was gone, but I was. I went with the fam up to Whistler, BC. It was a weekend full of riding in the car, eating, laughing, more eating, and generally having fun. Somehow I think my family managed to hit every McDonalds between Seattle and Whistler. Don't ask me how, but we did. And of course, we arrived with just enough time to wander the village before heading off to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants up there. Don't ask me the name though, cuz I can never remember it.
Saturday was truly the highlight though. After breakfast, lunch and more Village wandering, we all went off to try out ATVing. It was amazing! First of all, I let my sister drive. In an of itself both terrifying and exhilerating. I will admit when they were giving the safety instructions and discussed bailing out, all I could think was that my sister was driving and would she give me warning before she jumped off the damn thing, leaving me to go down with the vehicle over the side of a mountain. On an up note, there was no going over the side of the mountain, and only minimal need to clutch the handlebars with all my strength. I loved it! Next time we ZipTrek :D (think hooking yourself up to a clothesline up in the trees with only a carabiner and a harness between you and a very sore tush...or possible death).

I took my alpha smart up with me to try to finish off my page goal for the week (which i didn't quite meet considering how my hands felt after the ATV ride). but, i did get a great scene done while sitting by the pool. The scene was partially inspired by watching a couple of little kids splash around with their parents. They were at that age where regardless of their swimming abilities, they still have to use the flotation devices. There was something about it all that just clicked with where I was at in the book. I love that feeling :D

In other news...I've passed the half-way mark on the book. Yay!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Why is it...

That television shows think they can change the actor who plays a character, and no one will notice? Just like we won't notice when they go from 10 to 16 overnight. i don't think so!
Shows that think we are stupid...
-Bewitched (hello, i'm not crazy, there really were two Darrins!)
-Grace Under Fire
-That 70's Show
-others I cannot think of right now.

Let's be honest, it's simply better to kill off the character, than to try to replace the actor. Wa-ay more believable.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tailgating and other driving no-nos...

Seattle and it's environs has another very interesting phenomenon. It's called poor driving. Now, i realize that some of you around the country would stand up and say to me, "NO! We have the worst drivers ever here in [insert name of city/state]." Unfortunately, we'll have to agree to disagree.
I should also preface this with the announcement that is not a surprise to many of you: I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, the world's best driver. I'm decent. I make stupid mistakes on occasion, but I'm a decent driver when all is said and done.

So, the incident that prompted this blog happened on the way home from biking with mom this a.m. The area where I live tends to have low speed limits, and they do not post often. Sometimes you have to guess. That's okay, it adds to the fun and adventure of it all. We were on a pretty major road that specifically states in bold, black on white print 40 mph. So, okay, I drive at about 42 mph. Usually I have no problem with the 5 miles over rule of thumb, but keep in mind I have a rather large bicycle strapped to the back of my car and I don't feel like losing it on the way home. I'm picky like that. So, I'm driving along, minding my own business (happen to be behind my mom who is also driving at a reasonable speed), keeping a good amount of distance between me and the car in front of me (don't feel like having an accident either). And some idiot decides that I'm not going fast enough, so he's going to drive as close to me as possible in an attempt to make me go faster. Now, I would hope that I don't have to point out the stupidity of his actions.
1)Do not tailgate in a Chevy Malibu. It just makes you look sad and pathetic.
2)Do not tailgate a woman driving a car bigger than yours, the larger car will win.
3)Do not tailgate behind someone with a bicycle strapped to the back of their car. Especially when said bike is held down by two bungee cords and two pieces of old, ripped up towel that may or may not hold if I hit a bump.
4)Do not tailgate ME. i'm just perverse enough to slow down to just exactly at the speed limit in order to pay you back.
5) When i make a face at you as you attempt to pass me, do not look at me like i'm the crazy one. it's just bad karma

as a side note, they have now finally patched up the holes in the ceiling, repainted and are bringing a new light bulb for the new fixture. I'm also one very large bruise from yet another attempt at bicycle acrobatics. You'd think by now i would have learned my lesson.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'll be his guitar strings

Okay, maybe not. But it's a nice thought, isn't it? Christina and I went to see two amazing bands yesterday at the South Lake Union Summer Nights Concert Series. If any of you have the opportunity to see either Ozomotli or Los Lonely Boys live, you must go. Seriously, the energy these bands generate is unbelievable. Not to mention these guys are Musicians. their guitar playing alone is worth the ticket price.
And now, some words of the wise from our sponsors on appropriate concert going behavior:

Dance. It's really very simple. You sway your hips and wave your arms. Seriously, it's not difficult. We witnessed what I am beginning to realize is a Seattle phenomenon of people attending a concert, and then either sitting in their seats (who DOES that?) or standing up, but not moving. What's that about?

Scream and yell! Again, why are you all so polite? it's a concert, show some love!

If you insist on dancing provacatively in front of your boyfriend, maybe warn him ahead of time? This poor guy was having a *very* good time. too bad it was in public.

If you insist on bringing your 20 years younger than you boyfriend to a concert, make sure he doesn't look stoned the whole time. People will only talk.

Always, always, joke around with your neighbors. They are who will laugh with you when some guy who almost breaks your toe again can't manage to find his way out of your "chair trap"

But most of all, have a good time :D

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It's all about the pages, baby!

Writers live in an interesting world. Our world is not about how many years we've been writing, or how many times we have submitted a manuscript. No, our world comes down to the following more often than not: How many pages did you write this week?

Our success is based on how much we write. Those weeks when I get only 2 pages done? Not happy weeks. I can tell myself that I'm busy, that I have homework, that I have to work. But in the end, I've only done my 2 pages. On the other hand, how proud am I when I can say I wrote 16 pages in one week? Or 20? The difference in self-esteem during those times is mind-boggling.

And all writers suffer from it. We all set goals in our minds (or our editors set them for us). We have to write a chapter, two chapters, the frickin' book. It all adds up to great, anxiety driven moments that are enough to make us crazy. And you all wonder why we talk to ourselves.

So with that said, I'm proud to announce that in the last two days, I've written 12 pages. *takes a bow*

Monday, August 08, 2005

What is it about August...

that makes me want to buy new clothes and shoes?

It must something about all the back to school signs. That and knowing that in under a month I'll be back in school myself, beginning my student teaching in 4th grade. Brand new school year of course means that I find myself with the irrepresible need to buy the following: new pants, new shoes and new shirts. Technically these are needs. Technically they also cost money. quote a friend, "why wasn't I born independently wealthy and born to fly?" shoes. They are a must :D

The ceiling saga continues...

Well, the dripping has stopped, and they replaced the water heater in the apartment above me and will replace mine tomorrow. Now I have a very large hole (as well as a decently small hole) in my ceiling dripping into my two new buckets to let the insulation in the ceiling dry out. Hmmm...I wonder how long this will continue

Saturday, August 06, 2005

It's raining, it's pouring...

This must be the week for water issues. My friend Serena recently had to replace her dishwasher, as it started leaking. Sometime last night, my upstairs neighbor experienced a similar problem. I came home from walking with Ms. K to the strange sound of something dripping. Did I leave a sink on? Did I not completely turn off the shower in the morning? No. Those answers were way too easy. Nope, the dripping came from the water entering my apartment via the light fixture in my hallway. It dripped through the night and into the morning, filling up a 5 gallon bucket about 3-4 inches deep with water (which let's be honest, is a lot of very gross, dirty water to have falling through my ceiling). My neighbor was not at home until late last night, by which time i started noticing dark spots growing on my ceiling. I kind of feel bad. She must have come home to a lake.

By the time I came home from work (yes, I was awake at 4:30 a.m. to go to work today), the dripping was stopped and her water heater replaced. Unfortunately, I still have the nasty water-filled bucket in my hallway, and dark spots on my ceiling. On the upside, the sky is no longer falling, and on Tuesday I get a new water heater to prevent a similar problem.

Couch World

In another effort at shameless promotion of my fellow writers, I present to you Couch World, by Cathy Yardley.

This book has been at the top of my must own list for ages. It came out last January, and I picked it up almost immediately. I was not disappointed. This book takes a look at the world through the eyes of PJ, a DJ living in San Francisco. PJ does not have a place of her own, but chooses instead to live day to day (or in her case night to night) couch surfing through life while trying to make a name for herself in the San Francisco night life.

"All three stories interweave together in Couch World to make a very engrossing, interesting and original read. The characters were refreshingly unique and well drawn. Set in the glamorous San Francisco Bay Area, Cathy Yardley takes the reader through the interesting world of clubs, DJing, and modeling. PJ's love of music is palpable and gives the book an interesting twist."
-- Rian Montgomery, 9 out of 10 stars from (posted 1.03.04)

"This follow-up to LA Woman provides an intriguing look into a world that few know about but that many will find fascinating, thus adding up to another winner from Yardley."
-- Booklist (posted 1.03.04)

Three women's lives briefly but stunningly intersect in this compelling novel set in San Francisco's hip urban music world. P.J. the DJ, at the center of the story, is on the edge of fame. She's also on the edge of homelessness, having to scrounge couches to sleep on every night. P.J. meets a man who wants to make her dream of cutting a demo come true but clashes with model Samantha, who wants to keep him for herself. And Leslie, an aspiring reporter lets P.J. crash at her place, but digs into P.J.'s past, coming up with information that might finish P.J.'s career before it begins. The music scene and the kids who dance to its beat pulse through the pages of this novel like a deep bass riff. Yardley makes the world she writes about, and the music P.J. so passionately creates, accessible and attractive.
-- FOUR stars from Romantic Times BOOKclub (posted 12.07.04)

Check out Couch World here

Monday, August 01, 2005

Fireman are people too...

It's funny. Ms. K recently loaned me a book titled "Always Talk to Strangers". Now, I'll be honest, this book is a book of dating advice. To be more clear, it's a book of advice on how to go about getting a date. She purchased it after I had seen it in the bookstore and told her it looked like it would make for interesting reading. The reason I mention this is because the advice holds for other situations.
Remember when we were children and our parents continuously reminded us not to talk to strangers? Do you remember how we were admonished for talking to the little old lady next to our shopping cart in the stores? No, no, mustn't do that. I began to rethink this just a smidge while writing last night. I realized near the end of my writing sprint that I would need to talk to someone about how to set a fire. No, I'm not about to become an arsonist, but one of my characters just might. I'm woman enough to admit when I do not know enough about something, and no amount of watching CSI is going to give me the knowledge.
No sooner had I decided that a field trip to the local firestation was in order, then three firemen walk into Starbuck's while I'm writing. For the most part my friends will agree I'm not the shy, retiring type. If i set my mind to something I'll do it. Especially if I don't give myself too much time to think it through.
So up I marched to the two firemen and one (upon closer inspection) high school kid doing volunteer work, and asked if they had a moment to answer a few questions. I explained I was a writer, and that I had some questions about setting fires, mostly on what kind of fire would be best to have someone set if he has no prior experience and little reason to kill anyone. Hayden and Jeff were both kind enough to answer my questions on fire setting, as well as offer some additional, non-fire methods of wreaking havoc. Both seemed very happy to help a potential best seller in the making.

So today we dedicate this blog to the Redmond Fire Fighters, Hayden and Jeff in particular. Hopefully I'll be able to present the firehouse with a copy of this book one day as a thank you :D