Monday, March 31, 2008

As Nature Intended...

Run, don't walk, to see this movie. Bliss, absolute movie bliss.
*** So sorry. The movie is Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (if you click on the word movie above, it will take you to an overview).

Open Doors, Green Grass

Thank goodness. It's finally here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I took a time out. I rested on the patio, read a book and did nothing. Nothing at all. It was a welcome respite from the past few weeks of insanity. As I began to ponder my impending search for an agent, I began to consider the idea of rejection.

Rejection. It doesn't matter how old you are, how good-looking/not-good-looking you happen to be, no matter your financial standing, no matter your job, no matter if you drive an old jalopy that squeals when you put it in reverse. Wait, I'm telling on myself with that one. Anyhoo, Rejection sucks.

I remember my first bitter taste of rejection. I was in the 2nd grade. I liked a boy named Wesley, although for the life of me I don't know why. After all, he did wear his collar flipped up even THEN (and I don't care what anyone thinks, flipped up collars are an affront to the fashion community at large). Wesley also thought Howard the Duck was the best movie in the world. But, I digress.

I was in 2nd grade. Valentines Day flooded upon our little classroom. All the girls wore red and white, there were paper snowflake hearts taped all over the room, and I was beyond excited. I had carefully assembled a Valentine Card box. It was basically a decorated shoe box with a hole cut in the top. We all labeled our names on them, and then the teacher lined them up in the front of the classroom. The idea was that everyone could give out Valentines in secret, so no one would know who it came from. A silly little romance scenario, especially for 2nd graders, but we girls thought it was fantastic.

My Valentine Box beat everyone. Seriously. My mom (the artist) decorated mine with lace and ornate beads and gemstones. I wore my favorite red Mickey and Minnie sweatshirt with a jean skirt. Carefully hidden in the middle of my Valentines, was one especially for Wesley. I'm a little foggy on what it said exactly, but I do remember distinctly that it had a picture of Kermit the Frog and a lot of hearts on it. I think I scrawled something pathetic at the bottom, "I like you do you like me?"

When the time came, I stealthily slipped Wesley's special card into his box. Now, here is where the story gets complicated. After cards were handed out, we grabbed our boxes to see if anyone 'liked' us. I watched Wesley secretively, and he eventually pulled my card out and examined it. Now, the following series of events have always mystified me. Wesley proceeded to stick one of his fingers deep into his nostril, pull out a monstrous bugger, and wipe it on my card. Then, waving it in the air, he began to prance around class, hissing and booing about the 'booger card' somebody gave him. There was my carefully planned message of love, with a bright green snot smear right across Kermit's face.

What possessed him? I have no idea. Perhaps my love filled message was too much, overcoming his little brain and causing it to short circuit. No one knew the card was from me, but the horror was unimaginable. I cowered behind my little flip top desk, my toes sweating inside my ruffled ankle socks; praying no one would find out.

But when it comes to books, I'm finding there is no flip top desk to hide behind. You send the query letter, your name emblazoned for all the publishing/agent world to see. I don't look forward to that. But in comparison, I'm finding some comfort in knowing that no matter how brutal the rejection emails and letters may be; they won't be smeared with Wesley's snot. And somehow, that's comforting.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gotta Love the South

This was my street almost three weeks ago.

I took this picture this morning (at one of my many, many red light stops... don't worry Rebecca, I was in my car with the window rolled up). All the trees are in bloom, people mow their yards after work, and I wore flip flops while I ate on the back patio again last night.
Now before you envy us southerners too much, I would like to point out that we'll be sweating our butts off in October, still in shorts while trying to carve a pumpkin. It's a give and take. But each March, I'm always so thankful for the upside of our weather. March, April, and May are pure heaven. Then it's 'heat stroke' season. But until then, we live it up down here.
On another note, I realize I probably owe some of you an apology. I started this blog to write about house stuff, and lately Ive fallen off the wagon. The explanation is simple, I've stalled. With a book that seems to be endlessly full of grammar mistakes (they're like little gremlins breeding; each time I find one I hold my hands up and say, "I DID NOT type that!") and the beautiful weather outside; I'm finding mountains of distractions.
I hope to be back on the wagon soon. My little house is poorly neglected, most days I'm lucky to get our towels washed. But yard sale season is upon us, and that always sparks my pilot light. Thanks for bearing with me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Old House

I pass this house every morning on the way to work. An industrial business has encroached on it's back yard. The neighborhood is not great. Old curtains hang in tatters, the windows are always dark and cold.

But I just love this house. It's one of those things I think about each morning. Who lived there? What children skipped home from school to that house each afternoon? When was the last time someone lived there? Were they happy there? Which front window did they put the Christmas tree in?

Did they ever think their beloved home would end up this way? Run down, disregarded, empty.

Each day I drive by, hoping that someone will give it a second chance. I hope that someday I drive by and see pretty lace curtains hanging, flowers in the yard, a lamp lit in an upstairs window. I love that old house.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Patio Back In Business

We cleaned the yard. We dined with Mrs. Fox. We went to Easter services. Much to the chagrin of my movie-buff husband, I watched Van Helsing. It wasnt too bad.
It was a good weekend.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Little Sparkle

On the trip to NY, I was lucky enough to get to go inside St. Paul's Chapel. It was built in 1766 and stands across from what was the World Trade Center. It's a tremendous church, unlike any I've ever been in; complete with George Washington's pew.

But somehow, of course, I was too busy looking up. The ceiling, the colors, everything was so dreamy and beautiful. I felt very begrudgingly about my own church, with it's industrial carpet and folding chairs. There was something about the beauty of St. Paul's, everyone walked around in whispers. I stumbled several times gazing up at the beautiful stained glass and chandeliers.

So on this Friday, I wanted to share it with you. Here's wishing you a little sparkle in your weekend; may the Lord bless you and keep you safe.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ikea, Again

Of course I couldn't stop with just one room. I snapped some shots of this one too. Here lately I find I'm just in love with grey and white rooms. It all started when we painted our kitchen a very pale grey, now sometimes I wish I'd painted the other rooms the same color.

And we all know how fabulous white painted furniture is. But then again, these white slipcovers would last all of five minutes in my house. I always crack up when people talk about how easy they are. All I'm saying is; you cant bleach out dog barf. Several duvet covers have died along the way from such a death, I cant possibly imagine how a white slipcover could do any better.

And for some crazy reason, I loved this light fixture. Who knew I liked such modern stuff? But then again, I could have been dizzy from the cheap price tag (I think it was $50).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear, I will help you."

Isaiah 41:10,13

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Rogue Picture and Some Thanks

First, let me give each and every one of you that left a comment yesterday a big blog hug. Consider this monumental, I'm not a huggy person :). I cant tell you how much it meant to me, I feel so lucky to have so much encouragement! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In answer to Aimee and Oliver Rain; it's a YA/Middle grade book for girls. It's a story about three sisters, a comedy/adventure with a little bit of horror thrown in. And yes, I totally stole from my sisters to create the characters. In the words of Zelda Fitzgerald, "Plagiarism begins at home." :)

On a side note, I wanted to share my 'rogue picture' that I'm so proud of. I took this IN Tiffany's. I realize this is a big no no, but I figure since the photo doesn't show any of the 'goods' I'm probably in the clear.

My cousin, sister and I decided we had to at least set foot in the famed store. Now, upon entry I was fairly sure there would be no photography aloud. After all, they don't let you take pictures in Zales... so it was safe assumption about Tiffany's. Normally I'm a big rule person. I stay within the crowd control ropes in line at McDonald's, I signal in parking lots and I never cut in line at Walgreen's. But, that particular day I was feeling extra adventuresome. After all, I'd just finished posing for a 'thumbs up' picture in front of Trump Tower.

We entered through the revolving doors, I took three steps and snapped the photo. They were on my like white on rice! Immediately this little guy approached me, and in a very serious tone stated, "Miss, we do not allow photography in Tiffany's. You will have to put your camera away or we will escort you from the building." OK... I don't remember if he actually said 'escort you from the building' but I tell it this way for theatrical affect.

Anyway, that's my daring picture story from NYC. Dad did give Rebecca and me a lecture about 'not shaming the family' while we were up there. Whoops. Sorry Pops.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Hard Part

It's done. After three years, countless tears, an unhealthy amount of coffee, five revisions, one complete gut job, and hundreds of hours spent at the computer (music playing, oblivious to the world around me); I finished a book. It's done, for better or worse.

I seriously debated publicly announcing this kind of thing. Mostly because a year from now, when people read this and ask, I might have to say, "Yeah, after 58 rejections I had to call it quits." I've actually been pretty secretive about it, not wanting to be one of those people who talk about their 'book' while sipping drinks and looking self important. Who are they kidding? Barf. But then again, sharing it with others makes me accountable. It makes me more motivated to act on it.

And the truth is, I enjoyed myself more than ever before. Writing this thing made me realize what's important, what really makes life fun. Even if it never makes it to print (which is a long shot to say the very least), it was worth every minute, every month, every year. I think it's safe to say we all have something, some hobby, that we secretively live for. For some truly lucky and talented people, they find a way to make their living doing the thing they love. I think that's pretty much a universal dream.

But, if I never see a dime in return, I'll keep on writing, just like my friends in blogland will do the same; keep writing, decorating, crafting, cooking. Mostly, I'm just thankful to remember what it feels like to be driven, to feel an overwhelming sense of urgency doing something that makes me feel alive. I know you all feel the same way about your passions.

And now for the actual hard part. Rejections. Wish me luck and some tough skin.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Not Since College

Not since college have I been this insanely busy. I'm swamped, but it's a good, adrenaline pumping, exciting sort of swamped. Thanks for bending your ears to my previous rants about wanting to write more... b/c I think I got my wish. The past few weeks have been one big blur, a blur of inspiration and working. I go to work, come home, eat, and start writing. I even woke up with good ideas at 3:30 in the morning, hauling myself out of bed, making coffee and starting the day very early.

Who knows if this sudden spurt of inspiration will amount to anything spectacular. But I do know that I'm much happier this way, dark eye circles and all. So why am I telling you this? Well, it would seem in light of my recent and seemingly all consuming project I'll probably be slacking on my daily posts. I hope you'll all understand, because I know how much I look forward and count on reading your blog posts.

Bare with me, I'll return soon. Who knows, maybe if I work up enough courage I'll give you a peek at what I'm doing. We shall see. Until then wish me luck, and some more sleep!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Perfect Room

It was one of those moments. One of those moments where I walked into Ikea, spotted this little room and choir music burst into my head. A spotlight from the industrial ceiling shown perfectly on this little room and it was magic.
I was also immediately pissed at my house. Thanks a lot Ikea, thanks for making me covet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New York

Sorry for the delay in posting! We had a late winter snow storm (shocker) and I've had a lot of extra projects pile up at work. But I'm back.

There are no words to describe this past week. The city is huge and dwarfing. Its sidewalks move quickly and crowds pack closely around you. The air has a heavy aroma, a smell that can’t be described; something like hot dogs and spice and subways. The buildings are giants, the parks are beautiful, the experience unforgettable. It makes you feel brave and full of adventure. The bustle and the vast overwhelming nature of it makes everyone, even if for only for a second, wish they lived in that giant city.

I loved the sights, the tourist attractions. I got into trouble for taking a picture in Tiffany’s (one of the perks of being a tourist is easily faked ignorance). We bartered for purses in the back rooms of Chinatown. We ate wonderful, fabulous Italian food in Little Italy while the waiters smiled and said “bella” in our direction when passing (Italian men do SO much for a girl’s self esteem). Rebecca hailed a cab and we all nearly blew away on top of the Empire State Building. We visited Times Square, 5th Avenue, Broadway, Ground Zero, Battery Park. We even made a sashay into Sleepy Hollow for a day. But what I loved the most was the girl time.

My sister and I planned this trip together, a trip to visit our very gracious cousin. We don’t see her very often, in fact it’s been years. There is something magical that happens to female family members get together; somehow you just pick up wherever you last left off. We laughed, we joked, we slathered ourselves with antibacterial soap in a pack-like sync that only comes with genetically inherited phobias. Rebecca and I got the chance to meet her son, one of the happiest, chattiest little boys I’ve ever been around. He was pure sunshine.

I was sure that once I returned to ‘real life’ I would be sad. Once I eyed my dirty house and piles of laundry, once I sat at my desk for work again, that I would be wistful and longing for the fun to continue. But, it was the perfect vacation. I’m rested (even though we probably tracked miles upon miles each day in the city) and rejuvenated. My mind feels very satisfied. After spending so many moments, so many months longing to do something exciting, I finally got the chance.

Thank you Chandra for the marvelous time. Thank you for all the walking you did, the money you spent, the time you gave us. Thank you for letting us stay in your beautiful home with a guest bath full of marvelous hotel size shampoo bottles! We loved it more than we can express. And hopefully, we’ll see you and your precious family again soon.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Whew. We're Back.

We went. We saw. We ate. We laughed. We blew our noses and found lots of dirt in our handkerchiefs. We loved it. More later...