I've been tagged! Thank you Christina
:D So, keeping in mind that some of these, um, shall we say simply don't apply? Here's a revised version of the Holiday meme. Enjoy!
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate...with marshmellows. Yum!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa? Who is Santa? Are you talking about the creepy stalker guy who sneaks down people's chimneys to eat their food?
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I actually like looking at the white lights. Some are really pretty.
4. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Believe it or not, Hanukkah isn't that big a holiday in my family. In the last few years we've gotten together for a little family dinner, but that's about it. With that in mind, I'm a sucker for good latkes. I can only eat a few before all the oil starts to get to me. But latkes and applesauce? MMMMMMMM :D
5. Favorite holiday memory as a child.
Again, since it's not that big a deal in my family, I don't have a lot of specific memories. Probably lighting the Hanukkah candles with my papa on the few times it's fallen at the end of December, when we'd be in Florida.
6. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Again, who is this guy? He's everywhere! Really, just wrong. Creepy and wrong.
7. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Only when Christmas Eve and Hanukkah coincide, and even then, it's not a guarantee. Usually I'm at the Chinese restaurant with friends.
8. Snow! Love it or dread it?
Dude, I'm from Michigan. I hate it. Unless it's in a picture. Or I'm tucked in at home with warm toes, a fire in the fireplace, hot cocoa, movies and a good book. Then, I don't mind it.
9. Can you ice skate?
Yup :D I'm very proud of that ability. I may not be good, but I give it my all.
10. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Nope. I think I got an Easy Bake Oven once. That one likely went over very well.
11. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
The tradition of it all. Hanukkah is a time of miracles, and I like to think it's possible to bring a little magic into our lives around that time.
12. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Don't really have one. Though Ms. K's cookies are pretty yummy :D
13. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
I'll be honest...receiving. Mostly because I'm my own worst critic when it comes to my gift giving ability. (Though I have to say I did a darn good job with my Tiara's Secret Angel gift this year. Can't wait to give this one :D )
14. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Adam Sandler's The Hanukkah Song, of course.
15. Candy canes! Yuck or yum?
Not a huge fan, personally. They are okay. I like the raspberry ones. Do those count?
Okay, just for that, I'm passing the tag along. So here you go:
Ms. K, Megan, Heather...you're it! (Though you three may want to hit Christina's blog for the original meme, as I've made some changes)
Labels: holiday memes
What is wrong with this picture?
Seriously folks, what is wrong with this? I talked with my dad this a.m. It's sunny and 55 degrees in Detroit. At the end of November. Where's the snow? Where's the wind? Where's the salt trucks??
Apparently Western Washington. Holy moly. We got dumped on in the last two days, and it has created mass chaos everywhere you turn. First off, the rain. Then came the snow, complete with temperature drop. By 4:30 last night most major freeways were essentially parking lots. And what do I do? Meet a friend for dinner. We cancelled the Tiaras last night, due to weather, but a couple of us braved it for some adult company, and conversation. We met for what, and hour? An hour and a half? Not much. But by the time I started making my way back home, it was practically a blizzard. With thunder! And lightening!
Where did that come from?
I don't think I realized quite how bad it really was until I got back to my town. Cars parked haphazardly on the side of the road. At the bottom of driveways. In the middle of intersections. Craziness! My driveway, you know...the one with the hill I hate? The one that winds it's way up? The one that is treacherous in snow? Yeah, that hill. Blocked with cars who all tried to get up it, but decided it wasn't going to happen. So I chose the smarter route, and took myself down to the QFC parking lot to leave my car there for the night. I still have to go back down and get it. But I can't feel my feet. Or my fingers really. It's just too cold out. Of course, the other log for the fire, which will warm up my hands and feet, is in the back of the car, because I couldn't carry it up to my apartment (even with Ms. K's help) last night along with all my work stuff.
So...what is wrong with this picture? I know I complained about the rain. I know it was silly of me. But really...do we deserve this as payment? No!
So I'll make you a deal. Bring back my warmer, rainy weather, take away the ice and snow, and I won't complain about it for the rest of December.
How about it?
There are not many things I consider truly dangerous to me. I'm one of those people who loves a truly scary book, or a good psychological thriller. I'm cautious, don't get me wrong. I'm not rushing out to confront my fears at every corner. But I'm not hiding from them either.
But today I was reminded of a very dangerous combination. I feel it is my duty to warn you all against it, in order to preserve your happiness.
For the safety of you, and those around you, please heed my warning well.
Never, I repeat never, mix the following items. If you do, the consequences could be more than you ever want to deal with.
Do not mix: PMS, cancelled concerts, snow, Hallmark Hall of Fame movies and Hallmark commercials.
Holiday season...oh wait, I meant
Sale season. I managed to avoid the mad rush to the mall yesterday, on what is commonly known as Black Friday. Thank goodness. I'm one of those weird women who doesn't like to shop.
*pause for shock and horror*
Seriously. I don't like it. Especially when the malls get crazy busy, like they do this time of year. All the people, wandering around, stretching their way out across the aisle so there's no way to move around them, no matter how fast you walk. I can't stand it. But, I also can't stand to pay retail for items that I know I could have gotten on sale. Which is what dragged me out of the safety of my apartment this afternoon to go to Target.
Now, Target is crazy busy on a regular Saturday afternoon. But on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? It's enough to drive me to drink. If I was a drinker that is.
But...how can I be upset when I managed to find the most beautiful duvet. It's exactly what I've been looking for. Soft, scrumptious and classic. And on sale.
Oh, how I love that word.
So here's to me, and my fabulous new duvet. Now I just have to get the rest of the pieces, like the pillow shams, bedskirt...you know, complete the "look".
Wow, is it that time of year already? Seems like just last week Lil Sis and I were sitting on my couch, sharing leftovers from the restaurant she was working at. Ah...good times.
It's the time of year we're supposed to contemplate what we are thankful for. Sounds a bit cheesy, I know, but I think it has some merit. Of course, I also believe we need to stop limiting these thoughts to once a year. But, in light of the holiday, I thought I'd share a few thoughts with you all.
- Long weekends
- The Tiaras!
- Ms. K.
- My family
- a job
- an apartment that keeps me (mostly) warm
- sunny days
- good books
- good music
- all my friends
- my blog readers
So here's to you all. May your day be filled with laughs, good food and good company. And most importantly? Happy thoughts.
Books I'm excited about right now...
Not including my own, that is.
I've read several fantastic books in the last couple of months, and there are several I can't wait to come out. So I thought I'd update you all, in case you're wondering what to read next.
In the category of books I've read and love:
- Fangs4Freaks, by Serena Robar. I love this book, and not simply because one of my best friends wrote it. F4F is the sequal to Braced2Bite, which came out last May. Both books follow the adventures of Colby Blanchard, half-blood vampire and now The Protector. I don't care if this book is in the YA section of the store, you all have to go get it. Right now. What are you still doing here? Go! Buy!
- Knight of Darkness, by Kinley MacGregor (aka Sherrilyn Kenyon). This is the second book in her highly anticipated Lords of Avalon series. No one can take bad guys and make 'em good quite like Sherrilyn. I loved this book, and I'm on pins and needles waiting for the next one.
- I also just started reading Yasmine Galenorn's Witchling. This book sold out in like 10 minutes at the literacy signing at ECWC, but I was one of the handful that managed to snag a copy. I'm very excited about this one.
As for the books I'm waiting on not-so-patiently, here's a sampling:
- Venus Envy by Shannon McKelden. I think only Shannon has been waiting for this one with more excitement than the rest of the Tiaras.
- Shadow of Destiny by Rachel Lee. This is the last installment of the Ilduin Trilogy. I devoured the first two books earlier this year. I haven't been able to find a ton of information on this newest book, which leads me to believe Luna Books is holding it very close to the vest.
- The Dream Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Latest in her DarkHunter/DreamHunter series. OOOOOH! So far the Dream Hunters have really only been mentioned in passing (with the exception of a novella not too long ago). This is the first full-length Dream Hunter novel, and looks to be just as fabulous as all her others.
- The Warrior Trainer by Gerri Russell. Gerri won the American Title contest earlier this year, and her book is due out beginning of January. Everything I've read on this book says it'll be fabulous.
As always, there are a ton more out there...but they'll have to wait for another post.
A week of ups and downs
I met a friend for coffee the other night. We discussed life with a new baby (his), dating (me), and the publishing industry. At one point, he likened a positive rejection to dumping a man because he was too tall. (Okay, I admit, he didn't use that exact word, but this is a PG blog, k?) After I finished laughing over this analogy, I began to really think about it...and he was right! Rejection can be so arbitrary sometimes. Remember that old line, "It's not you, it's me?" I know, sad, right? It's the line we use when we don't want to hurt the other person, even though it's their constant chewing with their mouth open that has prompted the break up. But sometimes there is a person out there who also chews with their mouth open, and can't wait to find a like-minded mate.
See? It's all about perspective. I know I've said this before, but it is. What one agent or editor might find pedestrian or over-used, another might find new and fascinating. Who's to say that even though 20 agents have rejected you (and yes, this is a mass exaggeration...it's for effect people), the 21st won't call you up inviting you for a champagne dinner to celebrate your new partnership? It only takes one, to start. Just one, "Yes! We love this idea and would be thrilled to represent you." Just one voice who loves your characters as much as you do; who can see through the rough patches to the gold beneath. One person to say, "I think we can do something with this." Once you have that one person? Well, the work isn't over. But it's a step in the right direction, now isn't it?
And really, why would you want to continue a relationship with someone so tall they leave a crick in your neck, when someone who is just the right height is waiting for you around the corner? Why settle for someone who merely believes you have possibilities, when you can have someone who believes you to be the star you know you are?
Labels: rejections, writing
Tonight is sad in Ann Arbor...
And anywhere else in the world where there is a University of Michigan fan. Michigan lost to Ohio State.
This is so wrong. 3 points! 3 friggin' points!!
For those of you not familiar (and have you been living under a rock??), the Michigan v. Ohio State rivalry has been going on for years. It can pit family against family, neighbor against neighbor. In Ann Arbor, it literally becomes a Blood Battle as both schools try to donate the most blood during drives held in the weeks leading up to the big game.
The loss was made even more poignant by the passing of Ex-Football coach Bo Shembeckler. This man epitomized team loyalty...leading Michigan to the most winning seasons ever under one coach (something like 17 out of 21).
It's so sad. I'm going to have to go watch Serenity tonight, just to make up for it.
Yiddish Word of the Week...
Or is it of the season? At this point, I'm not even sure, considering I haven't posted one in so long. but here it is, without further adieu:
- Neshome - n. meaning soul or spirit.
I'm not entirely sure how this one should be used in a sentence, but the word itself "spoke" to me this afternoon. And because it spoke, I felt the need to share.
Also! A big, warm welcome to my new readers. I know there are several out there in the blogosphere. I hope you're enjoying the blog. Come back often.
Labels: Yiddish words
Sometimes you just need Mac & Cheese...
The Seattle area has seen more rain in the last week than it's seen all year, it feels like. At one point I had students quoting "It's been raining for 34 hours straight!" Now to put this in perspective, this isn't normal Seattle misty-rain. No, this is like a good old-fashioned Mid-West thunderstorm, only minus the thunder and lightening. All over the news we hear about this city or that town suffering through major flooding conditions. On top of that, the balmy temperatures of earlier have given way to the normal winter conditions of the low-40's. But before you start to think this is all about the weather, let me explain why this all is important.
It's fall. Fall is officially here, with the cold, the wet, the mud and the colds. It's also the time of year built for fires in the fireplace (check), hot tea (check), hot apple cider (on my way to go buy), dinner with friends (tonight), baking (in a couple of hours) and...comfort food. Comfort food...we all have them. For some it's Mom's homemade spaghetti, for others it's Bubbe's chicken soup. For me? It's the mac & cheese in the blue box. Rarely will I allow myself to have it, as it doesn't exactly fit in with the "healthy habits" I try to live by. But sometimes, usually when I have a cold and my resistance is down, I just have to buy a box. Today was one of those days. I stopped at the grocery store after an early morning drive to the airport to drop off Ms. K., so that I could pick up the last minute ingredients for tonight's chili dinner. And as I walked down the aisle with the soup, and the canned goods (I needed tomato paste), I passed by those little blue boxes sitting in a row.
And I had to buy one.
So what are some of your comfort foods? What are those little treats you allow yourself only once in a while? The ones that are really bad for you, but you have to give in to every so often?
I recently received a letter from my college announcing that next fall they will celebrate their 40th Anniversary (***note, this is the college, not the University as a whole). They were notifying alums ahead of time, to ensure we'd have plenty of planning time. But there was an added component. In preparation, one alumna is putting together an art/word-type installation in celebration. The alumna was asking for fellow alums to contact her with their memories of East Quad, the dorm that houses the Residential College.
Me, being a writer, felt compelled to add my 2 cents. And of course, because I'm a writer, I'm going to share those memories with you.
I remember East Quad very well. I attended the RC from 19***, and lived in EQ for 3 of those years. I had to go back and look, but I'm pretty sure I lived in Hayden, Anderson and Tyler. Of course, this is a fuzzy memory, as I'm lucky I can remember my address now!
The first year I had a roommate, but spent the next two years in singles. I loved it. All the rooms had the same "dorm" feel to them. White walls, tiny windows, heaters that never really turned off. I remember my freshman year, in the dead of winter, sleeping with the windows open to combat the heater, which we couldn't turn down. I remember having to memorize codes in order to call my family in FH, and then WA after they moved. I remember rushing downstairs at the last minute to try to grab dinner before the caf closed for the night. And I vividly remember awakening at 2 a.m., to snow outside and blaring alarms inside when someone pulled the fire alarms every year right before finals. Now there's a memory I could live without.
During my last 3 years at school, I acted as a student representative for the RC, which meant giving many, many tours through EQ as I showed prospective students classrooms and living quarters, laundry facilities and computing rooms.
If I had any advice for current residents, it would be to embrace EQ life. There is so much going on, it's sometimes overwhelming. I could never begin to tell you all the things I did, and didn't do, simply because of time. Get to know your neighbors, and branch out from your comfort zone. Most of all...enjoy it. It may not be the most glamorous dorm, but it has history. And sometimes history trumps glamour.
Today I live just outside ****, Washington. I'm an unpublished writer, at work on my 4th manuscript. Of course, for a day job, I teach 5th grade in *****. I still keep in touch with my roommate from freshman year, and we often laugh over memories of Buffy parties and movie nights. Of our neighbors who seemed to spend more time walking around in towels than in pants, and of the crazy squirrels that seemed to take over every spring. I also keep in touch with Lana K., over in the RC office, who gives me the scoop on all the important people I miss. EQ is an indelable part of my life, a part I will never be able to forget.
So there you have it, my memories of some of the more colorful years of my life.
New book checklist...
As I begin to dive into my new book early, the checklist must be accessed...
- Appropriate mood music (currently Barenaked Ladies are Me, Corinne Bailey Rae and Anywhere But Here by Chris Cagle).
- Character names (I love this part...until I have to come up with last names. Why can't they all be like Madonna or Cher? One name wonders...)
- Book view file and regular view file, plus Memory Key file.
- Kick-ass beginning...
And the drive to complete this one in less time than it took on the last...
Check it out!
New word count meter on right!
We all have to excel at something in life. Me? I excel at confusion. I remind my students on a regular basis that they have to be careful as I confuse easily. It only gets worse, the busier I am.
Some of the things that confuse me include:
- Why is it necessary for me to receive taped phone calls from political candidates? How stupid do they think I am? I know it's not really that person on the other end of the line. I can tell when the recording is playing before I can even say anything.
- How is it that I can have nothing to do, and still be crazy busy?
- How can it already be the second week of November?
- How does that stabbing pain in my eye come and go at will?
- Why do the people you want to call you, never call. And the people you don't want to talk to always call?
- How come so few people actually post comments? I know you're out there. I know you're reading this. So why not leave me a friendly note?
There are so very many other things that confuse me. But it's a start...can you help with the confusion? Hm???
To call...or not to call
That is the question.
One of the joys of writing is control over your world. As in, I control the world of my characters and everything that happens to them. Those writers who talk about the characters taking over the book? Yeah, no. That's them pretending they have no say, so as to make themselves feel better when they rip the lives of their characters apart.
And I relish that ripping. I love taking the world I've created and turning it upside down in order to completely break them down, just so they can find a way to recover. I'm the evil witch, the empress and the queen all rolled into one.
I love it!
Take, for example, the every day problem of calling the person you're dating. In the real world, a woman will agonize over whether the guy will call, or if she should call him, or if she should ignore the first call in order to look more unavailable...and so on and so on...
The list goes on indefinitely.
It's craziness. Ultimately, one or the other picks up the phone and dials. The call is either answered or ignored and when the stars align, a date is made.
But in my world, the world of craziness, misfortune, mind-reading and madness, that call leads to all sorts of trouble. So the heroine debates. She hems, haws, cries, calls friends in order to agonize verbally, and basically makes a nuisance of herself until a well-meaning friend tells her to get a grip. This conversation usually occurs on a phone line without call waiting, so that when the poor guy does call? Yeah, he gets a busy signal.
For 2 hours. This is usually about the point he figures she's so busy, she won't notice if he does call. So he hangs up the phone and heads out for a few beers with his buddies.
In the meantime, our heroine is sitting in her apartment, coming up with every possible means of torture she might be able to enact upon his poor unsuspecting soul simply because he's had the misfortune to not call when she thought he would.
Ultimately, as with any good romance, they will find a way back to one another. But until they do, I get to play the puppet-master (to borrow a phrase from a friend). I get to pull the strings and make 'em dance.
And dance they will...
And the winner is...
Heather! All those who had the correct answer were given a number, and Ms. K. (unbeknownst to her) picked 3, which was Ms. G. So Heather! Congratulations, you m'dear are the proud winner of a Starbucks gift card, which will be winging it's way to you...just as soon as I uncover your address from my mounds of paper.
Revealing the truth...
I know you've all been waiting for it so, here's the big announcement. #3 was the lie. Me? Sleep in the jungle? What, are you crazy?! True, I have a fascination with monkeys, but never have I wanted to go live with them in any capacity.
As for the others...
- My freshman year at University of Michigan, I lived in the same dorm as the Unibomber had lived. True! Just ask my roommate...
- I speak French and English (though I occasionally misplace words in both). I can read Hebrew and Yiddish, and I speak a smattering of Japanese thanks to a year in high school when I had lots of fun with my electives.
- We've already discussed this one.
- Sent to sleep away camp 2 times, wrote home in both cases begging to be brought back home. Mom never listened.
- And yes, my high school boasts some pretty famous alums. It's a little weird. We weren't even in some place cool like L.A.
The games we all play...
One of the common themes in my books (as is the theme in many romance novels), is that of the relationship between men and women. Let's face it...we all play games with each other. Never is it more apparent than in the whole dating game. The problem, of course, is I've never been all that good at playing the game, and therefore my characters usually reflect this.
That whole wait 2 days before calling her business? Yeah, I don't hold with that. You wanna talk? Pick up the phone. You want to know what he is thinking? Ask. Granted, it's usually gonna be one of three (maybe four) topics, but ask. You save a lot of heartache and annoyance that way.
I love exploring the games people play with one another. Not to mention the games we play with ourselves. The head games we all go through at the beginning of a relationship makes for great fodder for my stories. The neuroses come out and we make ourselves crazy trying to second guess the other person.
That's why the beginning of a new book is so exciting for me. I get to figure out the head games. I get to work through the many different scenarios and craziness we put ourselves through. And I get to do it all from the safety of my computer.
One friend calls it being the puppet master. I see it as being the grand dame. You know, the one who everyone looks to before they make a move...even if it's just to pick up a piece of cheese off the hors d'oeurve tray. Yup, that's me. I'm the grand dame, the head honcho, the Queen.
And I like being the Queen.