Monday, December 29, 2008

Duffy and new music and getting back to me

J and I had a nice talk yesterday during Date Day about how I get lazy now that I'm married because I just want to cozy up and watch tv with him and I have lost all my goals and ambitions. He was very understanding, and said that he didn't like to see me get lazy either, and so he would help encourage me to not be lazy (which is funny because he's so not ambitious himself, but very much wants to support me). So today is my early new year's resolution of Not Being Lazy.

To that end I am doing some new things.
1. Listening to new music that I have been meaning to listen to but didn't because I've been lazy - today it's duffy - I LOVE her mix of beatles and norah jones.
2. working out five times a week to get more energy
3. cutting back on sugar, also for energy
4. drinking more water, also for energy
5. going to one museum a month
6. finding a church for spirituality and friends
7. finding a choir or starting one
8. reading at least one "smart" book a month (ie not chicklit or stupid fiction)
9. journaling and meditating daily
10. playing the piano a few times a week.

those are my new year's resolutions to get me back to me.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our (future) baby has his first Christmas blanket

I was at the after-Christmas sales at Target and bought my future-baby a winnie-the-pooh blanket that says "my first Christmas" because it was too cute and $6. So Baby already has a blankey. And I'm not even pregnant. Of all the luck.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A heartwarming sports story (and getting ready for Christmas)

my inlaws are coming for Christmas tomorrow, despite the snow. I'm looking forward to cooking and making a good spread. I think I'm probably the only person who misses being alone at Christmas, though. J and I spend so much time together, and I haven't had any time alone in the house with the decorations and cats. Plus we're all snowed in, so we're on top of each other. I used to love being alone with the decorations, and then with my cats, and I never missed having someone with me, or being with family. I guess I'm too much of a loner.

All my stuff is done, though, which leaves me with plenty of time to bake cookies. The house is pretty clean, despite the snow which makes it hard to keep clean. And my presents are all bought and/or made. We got out of the house yesterday and I got everything done. We still can't get to the post office, though, which means my parents are getting New Years' presents. Oh well. I'm snowed in. I'm not stressing.

And in the spirit of Not Sweating the Small Stuff, here's a heartwarming sports story. A football team learns that there are more important things than winning, and that sports are about empowering people. It made me cry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowed in

Yeah, I live in SoCal, but at an altitude of about 5,000 feet, so I've got snow. This was my deck yesterday afternoon. More has fallen since then. It's just one two foot mess, that's all I can say.

I went up to San Mateo on Sunday (which feels like forever ago now) for meetings and our holiday party on Wednesday. I heard that snow was on the way, so I left the toilet seats up in case the cats needed emergency water if Tara couldn't make it over, and I made sure they had tons of food. On Monday night we heard from Tara that she was completely snowed in and unable to get out, and her road hadn't been plowed. So we started panicking, and thinking about driving home. We live closer to a main road, so in a worst case scenario, we could drive up, park and then walk to the house.

Everyone was telling us we should wait and leave early Wednesday morning, but we just really felt in our "gut" that we needed to get home sooner, so I went to some of my meetings on Tuesday, and then cut out by 3, and we headed home. LOTS of rain through the central valley, and snow through the grapevine, which is only 4000 feet at its highest point. We stopped for gas in Pasadena, and the Girl Scout in me thought to get some groceries in case things were bad at the top of the mountain. I got a chicken, carrots and celery to make soup, potatoes, green beans, eggs, milk, J's favorite saltines, a loaf of bread, some gouda cheese, and some Christmas cookies. I managed to fit it all in one canvas bag, except for the saltines, and when I explained to the bag guy that I wanted to bag it myself as I needed it all to fit in one bag because I might have to carry it a mile in snow, he looked at me like I was crazy. We also bought cat litter because we had no idea what the litter situation would be like after so long.

The drive up the mountain was spooky. No one was on the road, and we couldn't see because of the cloud cover. Everything was pitch black. We kept scanning the road to see where the snow started, but couldn't tell. It was kind of frigntening. Like we were driving into this world of the unknown. When we got to the top, J put the chains on the tires, and we were happy to see that our road had been plowed, so we were able to drive right to the bottom of our stairs. J started shoveling the driveway so we could park, and I took the groceries, my computer bag, and my purse upstairs and began reassuring the cats that we did not hate them, beg for their forgiveness, and clean up their - erm - "statements" around the house. It wasn't that bad, actually. They were definitely clingy, though, and I can tell they missed us.

We went to sleep happy to be home, but thinking that perhaps we had overreacted a bit since everything was ok. Then it started snowing overnight and by the end of Wednesday we had another foot on the ground, the 5 is closed through the grapevine, and all of our mountain roads are closed. So we would have been well and truly screwed if we had waited to leave until Wednesday. As it is, we're quite happy, all the electric is working, the cats are happy, the dish works now that it's stopped snowing and we could clear it off so we can watch tv, we're warm, and eating all of our lovely groceries. Last night we had roasted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and garlic green beans. Tonight we had chicken croquettes. And the stock is boiling on the stove for soup tomorrow.

I'm hoping I can get out by Saturday or Sunday, though. I still have Christmas shopping to do, and I'm getting a bit cabin-fevery just hanging out at home all day looking out at the imposing pile of white stuff that's going to need to be shoveled. The snow plow came today and the road has a semblance of being clear, but it's really going to take some warm weather to melt this stuff, and who knows when that's going to come? Plus it's supposed to rain on Monday and Tuesday. And if that would freeze - ugh - that would be bad. So I guess we'll start to shovel tomorrow.

It sure is nice to be so warm and have the snow outside for the holidays, though. J's parents are coming for Christmas, and I'm hoping that it still looks pretty for them, and not just all gross and dirty.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The shame of liking Britney Spears

I'm listening to the new Britney Spears album on Rhapsody, and I am so ashamed - I love it. It makes me want to go out clubbing. Ok, so it's not Beethoven. But that Britney sure has some staying power.

I threw my back out this weekend. I think. I've never had a backache before. I always wondered what the big deal was when people talked about backaches. Like the Sex and the City episode where Miranda is lying on the bathroom floor and Aiden goes to rescue her. I remember thinking "what can be that bad??" and now I know. I don't know what I did to do it, but I now have a new appreciation for my back, and need to figure out some good back exercises because not being able to get up from laying on the floor with the cats SUCKED.

And I hit over 50,000 words in my novel, so I'm a NaNoWriMo winner. Go me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

when did I become a ma'am?

I'm chilling out today after a weekend at a conference, and I went grocery shopping this evening. I'm just minding my own business, walking out with my little cart, and a man says "have a good evening, ma'am." Ok, I get it, he was trying to be nice, but come ON. My mom is a ma'am! I am not, nor will I ever be, a ma'am.

On other topics, I'm at over 25,000 words on my novel now. Nice. And the cats sure were happy to see us. It's nice to be loved by little furballs.

Friday, November 14, 2008

22.006 words on my novel so far (and Crappy Hotels Part 1)

I'm stoked because I've written 22,006 words in my novel so far. Pretty cool. Have to get to 23,500 by the end of today, I believe, so I can easily hit 25,000 by tomorrow, the halfway mark of national novel writing month.

Anyway, I'm hanging out at the California Library Association's annual meeting. This year it's in San Jose and I'm staying at the swanky Hilton. You'd think for the amount of money you pay to stay in the hotel that is attached to the conference center you'd get things like, oh, I don't know, Free Wifi? But no, it's $23.95 for three days. AND it's by the computer. So me and Hubby have to each pay. How completely stupid is that? AND they wouldn't let us load up the luggage cart to unload the car ourselves. And I didn't want to have to tip the bellguy for all my overpacked 12 dozen bags, so we wound up parking in the parking structure and carrying all of our crap - two trips each - the long distance rather than just having me unload the car and stay with the cart while J parked. SO that sucked. AND we said we didn't want housekeeping service. I don't like the way they make the beds, and I don't like people poking around my stuff. So we filled out a little card saying no housekeeping. And of course, we get housekeeping. And of course, we get housekeeping. What the phuck? Stupid stupid stupid overpriced hotel. I much prefer the best western. It IS nice to walk to the convention center wtihout going outside, but man, this hotel sucks. Stay away from the Hilton San Jose!

Monday, November 10, 2008

So what's the deal with chin hair?

Who thought it would be a good idea for women close to thirty (and slightly over, in my case) to get chin hair? Is this a joke?

I first noticed chin hair when I was 27 and at a hotel with a ginormous magnifying mirror on an extending arm in the bathroom. I noticed three big old witchy hairs and suddenly started panicking and checking for moles and age spots.

Fortunately I have a chubby face, so don't have wrinkles yet, but these chin hairs have just got to go. Once evert three months or so, one just appears. I swear, it doesn't grow in like a normal hair - it's just born 3 inches long.

This sucks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Energy-Sapping Mothers

I didn't write my 2500 words today because I talked to my mother, which saps just about all the creative energy out of me (and hence, doesn't happen very often). I managed to spill out about 1050 words - up to 14301. Tuesday is a holiday. Hopefully in between thanking Veterans for their service, I will be able to get 2500 words in. Must have a couple of good days because this weekend is the California Library Association meeting in San Jose, and heaven knows I'll be having so much fun partying with librarians, I won't get my word count done.

Hardwood flooring is nearly complete in the bathroom. Now I just have to be careful not to make big messes when I'm taking baths. No more mildew.

Also made a pot roast in the crock pot today. We'll have french dip roast beef sandwiches for leftovers tomorrow. The cats are all cuddled and warm, and I am too.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Suburban Dates and Lazy Saturdays

Last night J and I had what I call a Suburban Date. We went to Ikea. I call this a Suburban Date because the only people at IKEA are generally Suburbanites driving their large SUV's and making a mess out of the parking lot. I guess the crappy economy is hitting even Discount Swedish Furniture Places, though, because it was EMPTY. We parked right by the entrance, and didn't even have to wait in line at the cafe (where J gets chicken fingers and I get apple salmon with veggies). After our Discount Swedish Dinner we bought flooring for the bathroom. J is determined to have me decide what is going to happen next in the bathroom (we took out the gross shower when we moved in and put in a nice new bathtub, which necessitated taking down the mildewy drywall, and putting up new concrete on which to put tile once I decide what kind) but I'm lagging. It's just too much to decide. Skylight or no skylight. Beadboard or no beadboard. What kind of tiles. It's just too much. I lack direction. Hardwood flooring at least gets us started in the right direction.

Today I woke up for two hours and then napped. This is unusual for me. I'm not a napper. J is a napper. But not me. I get 8 hours of sleep at night, on a good night, and that does me for the day. But today I napped for 2 hours on the couch, which was quite nice.

I worked out and watched Seinfeld reruns, then we went to dinner in Big Bear at the vacation condo of some friend's of J's. I got carsick on the mountain-road drive, coming and going. Realized that I rarely drive at night anymore, and my eyes are really bothered by the Assault of all the bright lights on the dark mountain. Recovered from my carsickness by 10pm, and then wrote 1600 words for my novel. Up to about 13,240. Now it's bedtime, after I clean up the messiness from tuna sandwich lunch in the kitchen. Yucky and smelly. J is installing the hardwood floors and the cats are going crazy.

We're so adult and boring. Tomorrow's big excitement is the Sunday Paper, a goal of 2500 words, a long bubblebath, and Laundry!

Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm still bursting into tears at random moments when I think about Obama and how proud I am of America. is a genius.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ode to Partying

When I was 25 I had my "going out on the pull" outfit, which was a pair of slinky black trousers with this little teensy TopShop magenta sweater that was cut waaaay too deep in both the front and the back and barely met the waistband of the trousers. I know it's probably tame compared to what "kids these days" wear, but having grown up in Amish Country it was quite risque, and I felt like a hussy whenever I wore it on Big Nights Out when I thought being a hussy would be fun.

I partied like a rock star, and since it was London and I never had to worry about driving, I did it the "right" way, too. On more than one occasion, I peed my pants on the Underground (if I was coherant enough, I'd get off at the first stop and wait for the next train so the other passengers could deal with my little accidental puddle). Once I threw up on myself. Another time I fell asleep while my friend was trying to get a cab, and when I woke up a few minutes later, I was surrounded by coins. People obviously thought I was homeless. The perpetual 25 year old in me thinks that was really hilarious.

I didn't even mind the hangovers so much. There was this fun sense of comraderie standing in line at Burger King with the other hungover people in the morning, trying to get enough grease and salt to soak up the alcohol so that the world wasn't blurry and our heads weren't splitting. Eating a salty croissant thing for breakfast, getting a 10am packet of kettle chips, guzzling water. Being able to say "god, I hope last night was worth all this..." and knowing that it probably wasn't, but it was still fun.

These days I get excited by getting my Ralphs Rewards bonus points for bringing my own bags to the grocery store. The Anya Hindmarch bags at Target gave me a wee bit of a Targasm. Going out to chase the skunk off the porch is always a little bit scary - what if he sprays? Oooh, the danger....


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I proudly filled out my ballot for Obama/Biden this morning.

Now I'm at the office. Tonight I will be chopping and dicing turkey for croquettes, and watching the election results, and John King's crazy map, until they are all in. Wolf Blitzer and I will become very close.

A break for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and hopefully a bit of novel writing. I'm currently at 7000 words. Trying to get a few days ahead for when thanksgiving arrives, bringing Sandor and his girlfriend Nicole from England along with it.

The other thing I'm happy about today is that Lewis Hamilton won the Formula 1 championship on Sunday. He's some kinda hot. And he's dating the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls. A girl can still dream, though.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A novel, A novel, my kingdom for a Novel!

So I'm doing National Novel Writing Month, which is in November. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, in between cooking the turkey and thinking about Christmas gifts, that is. It started November 1, and thus far I have about 6,000 words of something vaguely resembling a memoir/chick-lit story.

I've been writing in the morning, in the evening, and any other time. I am avoiding all books this month because I don't want to accidentally take their voices. Which is kind of a bummer, but that's ok. One month without a book won't kill me. Especially since I am ordering the new Matthew Shardlake mystery and can look forward to that. Tudor mysteries do it for me, what can I say.

I also spent the weekend being super-domesticated. I made pumpkin bread with real pumpkin. And then practiced making my Thanksgiving Turkey, with homemade stuffing (I cut up the bread myself). I have discovered a great appreciation for cooking in the past few months. As in cooking from scratch. No mixes, no boxes. When I go to the grocery store I buy fresh ingredients. It's been theraputic and meditative, and I love opening the fridge to see lots of fresh veggies that I've never heard of before. Like a celery root. What's a celery root? Who knows, but it sure was yummy in my turkey/leek/celery root soup.

And I'm super-excited to vote Obama tomorrow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday morning football in London - and mini self-Pep-Rally

The Saints and Chargers are at Wembley today, and I'm not in London. I'm getting kind of annoyed with myself these days. When I first came back from England in 2002 (where have the last 6 years gone?) I was all committed to getting back there right away. I was completely in action about it. Writing to people, submitting stuff everywhere, going back all the time to make sure people remembered me. In my defense, I was 25, living back at home, didn't have 9 cats, wasn't married, and had a lot more energy. But ok, so I had more energy and time. But so what? Am I still committed to being able to live in London part time? If so, I need to get off my butt and make it happen.

Ok. So that's my pep talk to myself.

It's Sunday, which means laundry, cleaning up, fresh litter boxes, and cooking.

Also, I'm finally participating in National Novel Writing Month, so I need to start brainstorming and working on that a bit. Nothing too exciting. A nice fall day. Maybe a fire in the fireplace later and pumpkin carving. And writing. And working out. And dreaming. Yay for sundays.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Gin Blossoms

On Friday nights I go grocery shopping. Well, usually I go to Target first and buy exciting things like cat litter and new comforters (though right now I am very happy with Target as the Anya Hindmarch bags are in stock. I've already purchased five of them. I am not allowed to buy more until they go on sale).

Anyway, so I'm grocery shopping, trying to pick out a whole roasting chicken, and the Gin Blossoms comes on - Hey Jealousy. This gets me for two reasons. The first is that they really only play Light FM tunes at the grocery store. Safe things that my parents would hum along to. So the fact that the Gin Blossoms is on at Ralphs is very disconcerting to me. Second. I spent the summer before my senior year with the Gin Blossoms. I went to their concert wearing my beat up jeans and an orange/brown/blue striped tshirt that I thought was grunge. That night I smoked my first cigarette in the car with my friend Nikki Smith.

Also, the Gin Blossoms will always remind me of Steve Stancliff, a brilliant artist/poet I went to high school with who also lived up the street from me. He was a year older, and Very Cool in a Depressed Artist sort of way, but he liked to hug me, and sometimes I'd drive him home after play practice and we'd sit in the graveyard by our respective homes and look at the stars and talk. I don't think many people knew we were friends. He was way too cool for me. He died when I was a freshman in college. He fell off a roof at his college. So whenever I hear the Gin Blossoms, it makes me think of Steve, and I say hello to him.

That was almost 15 years ago. But in the cliched way, it seems like yesterday. I've lived in lots of places since then - New York, London, LA, Nashville - and now I live in the mountains above LA with my husband and 9 cats and I have a mortgage. Steve never got to experience Turning 30. Suddenly my life is moving at warp speed, and I don't know where it's going. This year I'm Turning 33. How the hell did that happen? I'm not dealing too well with this whole Adult Thing.

Coming home from grocery shopping I was listening to Lyle Lovett. A CD that the alt-country reviewer for the Village Voice gave me when he took me to see Mr. Lovett at Carnegie Hall. I can't even remember the guy's name, but I remember I didn't think he was very attractive, but I made out with him in Carnegie Hall anyway. He gave me the prerelease CD. I listened to it when I was moving to Nashville. There's a song about a truck driver loving the open road and waht a good life it is.

So I was on the freeway thinking that maybe I should head over to Cline's Corner's Truck Stop in New Mexico. Heck, I had groceries and cat litter. I was set. I used to do stuff like that. Just take off and see where I woke up. But not now. Now the animals need feeding. Twilight, one of the cats, has an infection in her eye and needs regular medicine. Litter needs changing. Laundry needs doing. Husbands need feeding, too. So I sighed and got off at my exit and drove extra slowly home. It saves gas and it also gives you more time to look at the stars from your mountain road, above the smog, and sing along with a country crooner and imagine you're still heading towards Tucumcari.

I feel like I already have postnatal depression, and I don't even have a kid. Is it possible to have postnatal depression from aquiring 8 cats in 6 months? Who knows. All I know is that I have responsibilities now, beyond the plants I regularly kill, and I don't know that I like it all.

On the upshot, I left the dome light on in the car, and J came in and asked me if I wanted to play rock-paper-scissors to see who got to go down, in the cold, to turn it off. I said I really didn't want to, and he did. He's a good man. We have a good marriage. I just want to be perpetually 24. Is that so wrong??