Sunday, February 25, 2007

41 One Ways to Avoid (re)Writing A Book

1. It's spring in California--at least this week. Time to start weeding
2. Read the papers: the Washington Post, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, LA Time, San Jose Mercury News--whatever you can get your browser on
3. Do the dishes—let them pile up during the day for when you run out of other distractions
4. Laundry—7 loads and Counting! (Handy (?) tip: if you are ever in the regrettable position of having to make a deal with the devil and he asks when he can have your soul, just tell him "when I'm done with the laundry")
5. Pretend to read the books you got for research
6. Renew said books for the second time
7. Open one ordered from Amazon (also research), scan it and decided that you are crazy to think you can write a book on the same topic
8. Call sister to see if you are, indeed, crazy for thinking that you can write a book on the same topic
9. Stretch the conversation out to 45 minutes
10. Call mother-in-law, just to bug her at work
11. Feel guilty about calling someone hard at work just so that you can put off your own project
12. Have another cup of coffee
13. Do the crossword puzzle
14. Do yesterdays crossword puzzle
15. Clean up dog poop
16. Curse husband for not cleaning up dog poop, even though you are using it as an excuse to not write
17. Eat chocolate from daughter’s Valentine’s box
18. Break open a couple of the chocolates—just a bit—to see if you actually want to eat it
19. Start picking up the toys that your daughter was supposed to clean up before school
20. Take the dog for a walk. A long walk
21. Put together a list of the music you really like right now. Include links
22. Start another writing project
23. Sort the recycling
24. Reread the list of 700 hobo names from John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise
25. Wonder why so many people take personally books and articles (and blog entries) that were written in the abstract
26. Begin ultimately vain attempt to find the kitchen counters
27. Watch hummingbird outside window. Marvel that they are so plentiful here
28. Wonder if #27 actually two items
29. Reformat one writing project (not the one you’re supposed to be working on)
30. Search through three notebooks for your notes
31. Decide that now is the right time to consolidate the notebooks
32. Rest your head in your hands, daydreaming about how far into the book you might be had you just remembered to back up the file
33. Snap self out of the daydream and quickly e-mail all current projects to yourself
34. Put George Bush’s photo on the punching bag for inspiration
35. Wonder if just writing that is going to get you a visit from the Secret Service
36. Wonder why they are still called “Secret” Service when everyone knows who—and usually where—they are. “Psst: The glasses kind of give it away"
37. Call sister again and read list of 41 ways to avoid writing
38. Go to the grocery store. Only buy one gallon of milk so you have to go back tomorrow
39. Wonder when George Washington and Abraham Lincoln started selling cars
40. Check to see if Macy’s is having a sale because that hasn’t happened since, wow, yesterday
41. Read the Esquire cover article on Robert Downey, Jr., because, admit it, after all these years you still have a crush on him

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

About that Hair . . .

You must know by now that Britney Spears has decided that Bald Is Beautiful--that or she was desperate to, at least momentarily, change the subject from her other hairless bits that most of us wouldn't normally think of flashing in public. (I'm trying not to be cynical enough to think that it was just to get back in the public eye after Anna Nicole Smith grabbed the headlines for the past couple of weeks. I think it's actually a sad and not-very-subtle plea for help. Where is her mother? Her manager?)

Whether stunt or plea, the photos are everywhere. So when you get tired of seeing Britney's oddly asexual bald head, Jess at Apropos of Something has a list--and photos!--of eight women who look better bald. (My votes go to Persis Khambatta, Kylie Minogue, and Natalie Portman.)

And if that doesn't get the image out of your mind, allow me to insert another, almost as unsettling: This weekend, Thomas removed a hairball from the shower drain that was about as big as the pile of hair Brit left lying on the salon floor.

You're welcome!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Music I Love

We could also call this the "because I'm trying to avoid rewriting my book" list, but I'm working on that as a separate post. Basically, it's most of the KFOG new-music play list because I'm a dork and don't stray too far when looking for new, non-classical or jazz--although sometimes they throw one of those in, too. Maybe for the WTF?! factor, but I still appreciate it. I get a lot of other recommendations from a great place for book and movie reviews and recommendations. So, in no particular order:

Brandi Carlilie, The Story (available in April)

Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (available as an import--warning: explicit lyrics!)

Keane, Under the Iron Sea

Blue October, Foiled

The Decemberists, The Crane Wife

The Killers, Sam's Town, When You Were Young (single, import)

Mica Lee Williams, Lucid Dreaming High (also has a new CD coming out in April)

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Self-titled (Charlotte's favorite, next to any Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Arvo Part, Alina (If I were given a choice of one classical CD to listen to for the rest of my life, this one would be a top contender.)

Josh Ritter, Animal Years

I listen to a lot of classical music too, but I'll save that for another avoiding-the-book list.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

So, Where Are You From?

One of the fun parts of using a counter on my blog is being able to see not just how many people come to my site, but where they come from.

Some have linked from another blog (many thanks to those who include me in their blog rolls--I know it's precious real estate).

Some come from BlogHer.

Some obey the command and click the signature file in my email--"Just Read the Damn Blog and Share it With a Friend." (I know; subtle. And no, you can't steal it. It's already under my copyright--coming soon to a t-shirt near you!)

And some, of course, arrive via Google, Yahoo! and Windows Live searches.

But I still have no idea why my all-time favorite got here. The Google search string was "older mom banged hard."

My mother would be so, um, proud?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's a Minivan, Guys . . .

. . . not a threat to your manhood.

I am a firm believer in the alternate merge. I don't cut you off. I let you in when you need to change lanes. I don't tail gate (OK, sometimes). And yes, there is another car I might prefer to drive. But I, like so many other minivan drivers, have kids. And a Great Dane who might think he's a lap dog but would never fit in that car. So I drive the minivan with the oh-so-handy automatic doors and sanity-saving GPS.

So please, if I am trying to pass, don't speed up just to block me in. Don't cut me off, though I do understand the occasional emergency or "oops, I didn't see you there." A friendly wave usually takes care of that. Don't slow down in the carpool lane or flip me off just to protest my right to use it. Try to remember that I probably have at least one whining and/or screaming kid in the car, and maybe even a dog in the middle of a musical performance reminiscent of grandma after a dinner of cabbage and broccoli.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Pet Peeve: The Non-Apology

Politicians, actors, pop-stars, bloggers for presidential wanna-bes.

Caught with their pants down; saying something outrageous, homophobic, anti-semitic, or offensive in some other way. We see it every day and, with few exceptions, the response is some version of:

"I'm sorry that XXXX was offended by what I said."

That is not an apology. Saying that you are sorry that someone was offended is not the same as apologizing for what you actually said. It is putting the blame on them. Sort of like saying "I'm sorry you heard that and that your skin is too thin to allow you to blow it off."

So, for occasions actually requiring an apology, here's a new one to try out:

"I'm sorry. I was a dolt."

Then you send out your publicist and/or spokesperson and/or issue a press release to let everyone know you are entering drug/alcohol rehab and/or seeking counseling.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Meet the Neighbors

The vacant house next to us is vacant no more! The girls and I and a bottle of wine went over last week to introduce ourselves. The next night, Lisa came over for a get-acquainted chat.

Hannah's contribution:

"My sister is Charlotte. Charlotte has blond hair.
Mommy had blond hair when she was a little girl.
Then it was brown."

"Ok, Hannah, can Mommy and Miss Lisa talk now?"

Hannah, ignoring the interruption:
"And then it was gray.
Then it was, um, red but the gray came back.
Then it was brown.
Now we don't know what color it is."

That's the last time I let her choose the color.

Hopefully, it's not the last time we see the new neighbors . . .

Friday, February 02, 2007

Not a Typical Week, But . . .

Because I am of the more clumsy sort, this type of week is not entirely unusual:

Sunday: Fried hard drive, as already mentioned. (Ok, this wasn't clumsy so much as heartbreaking, but it set the tone for the week.)

Monday: Saw the estimate for data retrieval. Banged head on desk. Too hard.

Tuesday: Charlotte managed to pull a 60+ pound mirror from the wall and drop it on my foot. My foot was there because I went over to stop her and wasn't paying full attention to foot placement (I was on the phone at the time). Because the laptop was out of commission, I had to go downstairs to Google "broken foot when to call doctor." I decided a modified hop would be less painful. Up until I fell down the stairs, that is.

Wednesday: Swung a sock at a mosquito doing an early test flight around the kitchen. Decided that it wasn't worth the risk to life and limb to Google "jammed finger when to call doctor." Later in the day, I bent over to take off Charlotte's jacket just in time for Argus to whip me across the face with his tail.

Thursday: Dropped a can on a glass serving bowl. Did you know that you can't recycle broken glass serving bowls? (This may actually have also happened on Wednesday; I've lost track.) Caused gastrointestinal upset when I inadvertently served moldy tortillas. This from the woman who throws away everything on or before the date stamped on the package of all food products (except cans; what the hell are those doing with "best by" dates anyway?). Fortunately--and predictably--only I suffered from the annoyed system.

Friday: Is it over yet? I'm almost afraid to say that nothing untoward has happened today, but I don't want to tempt the universe. And tomorrow I'll be safely buckled into the passenger seat--for some reason, Thomas gets a bit nervous when I drive--on our way to Disneyland. And that, hopefully, will bring a bruise-free end to the week.