Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to my life.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.
I worked, which was cool, I want to work. Although, somehow, it's easier (and harder) than I remember. I trained Thursday and Sunday and Saturday I expo'ed (which is getting the final touches on the food (honey mustard on the side, butter on the potato, that sort of thing) and ran food and was a general helper. It was nice, even if I do feel like the token old person(not true, several people are older than me, I just feel that way.) I didn't expect to find work so quickly, so I'm dealing with end of the school year stuff (and dance recital hoop-la) on top of a brand new work schedule.
On top of which, I'm getting a ton of flack for working.
I do understand. I mean, I'm really lucky. I don't HAVE to work. It isn't about the money at all. It's about me having grown up time, and feeling useful and productive in the process. I have a ton of great friends who I'm fortunate enough to get to spend scads of time with (more often than not, however, we can't finish a two minute conversation due to various I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, she hit me, where's my shoes? -type interruptions.
I am also aware that with my education I could do more than JUST wait tables. But, I like it, it happens to be good money and it won't make me stressed out and sketchy when I am at home.
There are a lot of reasons someone decides to do things, but the simple truth is, I needed something else. I thought about taking a class (I still might do that) I thought about volunteering (ditto, I love to volunteer) but I LIKE to work, I just do.
I love staying home with my kids, but for my sanity, I need to get away from them to appreciate them.
I won't work forever probably, and honestly, I'll probably only work here and there after school starts in the fall, but over the summer, after all three kids, all day long, it will be a relief to get in the car and listen to grown up music for half an hour, and then work more (maybe I should have taken a class!)
I didn't mean to get snarky, but I really think it's unfair to judge some one when you have no idea what's going on with them.
So, it's un-necessary to send me emails telling me that it raises my children's blood pressure when I leave them (for the record, they're with their DAD or their GRAND MOTHER, not a STRANGER) and that any job I have with take away more than it adds to our family.

(stepping down off soapbox)
whew! Sorry 'bout that. I just had a few nasty emails and wanted to address them. Along the same lines, I am going to try and respond to people's comments. I love reading comments on some blogs and I'd like to start that here, if possible.
I had an interesting thought this weekend while I was writing.
When are you at your best?
Are you at your best when you've had enough rest? (ok, sorry, I had to)
or when you're being challenged, are you at your best under pressure?
I'd love to hear when you're at your best.
I think I'm at my best when I'm sleeping. (ok, just kidding)
I'm at my best when I can meditate before I do something. If I have to just start, I usually falter, but when I can mentally prepare, I do so much better. I do pretty well under pressure (now that I'm older and my temper isn't such an issue!)
So, when are you at your best?
Have a great week!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lee-ving On a Jet Plane.

First things first-

Denver Brunch Bake-
(note: this is NOT the actual recipe this is how I made it for MOPS on monday)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 loaf french bread (loaf bread is fine in a pinch)
4 oz cream cheese softened
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. all purpose flour
6 eggs (yup, six)
1/2 tsp all-purpose dill mix(this is a pampered chef product, you can use dill for pickles or leave it out)
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz deli baked ham (about a half a pack)
1/2 c. onion (I used a little less, sometimes not at all)
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese ( I actually use about a cup)

Preheat to 375,
Mix all this mess together (eggs first is best) except butter and bread, pour in 9x9 (8x8 is fine, add 5 min to cook time).
Slice bread and soak in butter and line side of pan, bake 30-35 minutes.
Serve warm (also, may add red or green pepper, sliced green onion or mushroom depending on taste)

I think that's everything, please email me with any questions.
Last night was my first 'training' night at work, and after almost three years with Outback, it just doesn't change that much. It was cool, and it's nice to have 'training' time to get back into a groove. However, it sucks sooooo much to work a table completely by yourself and then someone else gets the money.
I don't like training anyway, I always feel like I'm in the way (uh, because I am) and you don't want to step on someone's toes..blah blah..
Along the same lines, new shoes + first night on feet for five hours=yucky blisters and painful toes.
Ok, I know better, yet somehow, I felt I had no choice. This is not true, I knew like a week ago that I'd need NON SLIP completely black shoes (and given those instructions, how did I not rush right out to snap up a pair?) but I didn't get them until I AB-SO-LUTE-Y needed to get them, so of course I'm shoving them on my feet as I'm walking in the door and then peeling them off five or so hours later when they've created a new and interesting shape for my foot.
Thanks Wal-mart, for creating a shoe that is both non-slip, hideous and so painful I may as well wait table in high heels.
The good news (and isn't there always some good news!) is that I have a day recover, then I have to wrap those suckers around my feet again.
Another cool new thing about the 'NEW' improved Outback is online scheduling (I can also get text messages when my schedule comes out woo-hoo!) so no driving to Gaffney or calling and begging someone to give you your schedule over the phone.
Brilliant. Some one some where was totally on the ball.
So, I logged on to make my (actually more numerous than I'd originally thought) requests and realized that even though we aren't doing a 'set' vacation, we are travelling quite a bit.
Which is nice, but also a bit scary with gas prices so crazy, it makes a huge difference in what you decide to do and how much you can do when you get there.
who saw this during the idol finale?
David Cook the winner the super fantastic winner is first and the only one worth watching (if you're an Archuleta fan, he's cute and all...but just not American Idol matieral, more like doing voices and singing for Disney matieral)
Also, if you aren't a fan of Guitar Hero, you will be after you watch.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I don't actually love driving. I used to love it, when I first got my license I adored the feeling that when I got into my truck, I could go anywhere (and I could, gas was way cheaper back then, you know, in the dark ages) now driving is more a duty than a pleasure but that didn't stop me from LOOOOVVVVING Jess Riley's debut, Driving Sideways.

Today, live and on the blog, Jess Riley herself was kind enough to drop by for a little soiree' in honor of her new book. Sit back, have a drinky-poo, and read on for the most informative interview questions EVER!!

Ok, we're here at the hottest launch Par-tay of the season with Driving Sideways author Jess Riley, somebody get Jess a drink! Jess, first things first, who are you wearing?

A sandwich board advertising a local vacuum cleaner repair shop. Actually, I’ll tell you the glamorous, jet-setting truth: my comfiest slippers, a workout outfit that hasn’t been worked out in properly for some time, and lots of residual dirt from working in my garden all day.

Perfect, now, if you were getting a famous kidney, who's would you wish for?

Hmmm…I feel very fortunate to not be in that position, but I’ll tell you—if I needed a new kidney, Keith Richards wouldn’t make the list. Maybe I’d wish for Cillian Murphy’s…but if I received Cillian’s kidney, I’d walk around blushing constantly. (Because of the, uh, recent proximity and connection of said organ to his … um, well, you know….)

I have to say, Jess, you are glowing. Now, what is your favorite thing about the writing process?

Thanks! See, I knew something positive would come out of growing up near massive power lines. I’d have to say my favorite thing about the writing process is finishing. No, actually, I still can’t get used to the fact that someone liked a story I wrote enough to pay me for it so they could share it with other readers. That part is pretty freaking cool. Also (and here’s a serious answer for you), I love when my characters take me in directions I had no idea they wanted to go. That feels like absolute magic.

Convertible road trip-top up or top down?

Top down, but only on the back roads. Top down on the Interstate sounds like a recipe for never combing my hair again.

Hmmm, I am intrigued, what's on your Ultimate Road Trip mix tape?

Oooh, I love this question!! I actually just made an iMix of songs I listened to while writing Driving Sideways or mention in the book.
Here's the link.

Fabulous, now are any of your characters based on real people, any situations on real life experiences?

HELL, I’d like to introduce you to YEAH. My protagonist Leigh’s best friend is a massage therapist based on my best friend Cindy…who was an AMAZING sport about it, because I do poke some gentle fun at her new-aginess. There are also tons of anecdotes I lifted from life (the truth or dare game with the pube incident? True.), and a run-in with an ex-boyfriend very loosely based on some of my exes. Well, one of them, really. And he should be very grateful I didn’t give his fictional counterpart a tiny penis.

That is funny! and so true! What's up next?

I’m currently working on novel number two, which takes place in a medium-security men’s prison. I taught in one in college and felt the setting was absolutely ripe with potential for dark humor and fascinating storylines. I don’t touch on the inmates much—it’s actually a story focused on the staff, featuring a social worker in a wheelchair who falls for a teacher who falls for a guard. It also deals with getting over one of the worst kinds of romantic betrayals. I just figured out how it’s going to end last Friday. THANK GOD.

OK, well I'm sure we'll all rush out for our own copies and copies to give as gifts...and so on, by the way, does this cake make me look fat?

You’re so sweet! Thank you so much for chatting with me and plying me with drinks. And no way does that cake make you look fat. It’s a scientifically proven fact that the larger the slice of cake, the slimmer we look holding it.

Everyone, Go, go, go to your nearest Amazon or bookstore and scoop up driving sideways, it's the perfect combo of hilarity and heart tuggyness. I really loved it.
Thanks to Jess for stopping by, we hope she can get the cake out of her hair, and we wish her MUCHO sucess ....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.

I just finished one of Jodi Picoult's fabulous books, Vanishing Acts, and as per usual, I'm floored. I'm amazed that she keeps coming up with brilliant ideas and executing them so flawlessly and brilliantly. I also feel a kinship because she has three children and a husband with a full time job (he did retire early recently to help, because of her overwhelming success)
This book had an interesting theme (all of hers do, I recommend Nineteen Minutes) a father had kidnapped his daughter and was only arrested after she had grown up and was an adult. He took her for a lot of reasons, but the main one was that her mother was an alcoholic.
Alcoholism is thick on one side of my family and I struggle to understand how a liquid could be more important than a child. I'm sure that addiction doesn't make that distinction, but sometimes I wish it would. I won't be tedious with the details of the book, but it's definitely worth a read.
On a happier note, my kids continue to be hilarious and comedy club ready.
My middle daughter, the Queen of Drama, is far more verbal than she rightfully should be.
She and her younger brother (not that much younger) are constantly mistaken for twins.
A few days ago, as we are strolling into the Y, she and a lady began conversing about all manner of things, not the least of which were the fact that she and YB were twins.
Q of D: We are not twins, I'm so much older than him (not true, only 16 months separate them, but apparently in her mind, it's eons)
Nice Lady: I see, what's your name?
Now, how many times have I told my daughter to not share her name and her brothers name with strangers, no matter how nice? At least a bajillion.
Q of D: Leesy Finnegan. And this is Brady Michael Finnegan.
OK, again, this is why I've not taught Leesy our address and phone number. Not that strangers understand all of what she says, but still.
Nice Lady: And where are you from?
Q of D: (I'll note here that Ailise had her are you stupid? look on, she adopted from her older sister who brought it home from school. I wish she could have just brought home the flu like a normal kid) I'm from Jesus, where are you from?
At least her Baptist Preschool teaching is sinking in, although, I'm pretty sure the lady thought we lived on Jesus St.
MOPPERs, I'll post the denver brunch bake recipe later in the week.
Also, don't forget to check out writing MOMMY, my works in progress blog, I love to hear what people think.
And, I will have Jess Riley here ON THURSDAY, I'm very exited. Her new book came out this week, and I'm honored that she's going to be a guest.
I also would like to thank all my friends who've linked my blog to theirs, I'm met some great friend of friends, and it's been really nice.
I'm back in the land down under (OUTBACK) for the summer at least and although I'm just waiting tables, it's a grown up job, out of the house so I'm pretty exited. Come visit whenever you can, I'd love to see one and all, plus you can visit the Yellow mall and snatch up all the deals.
Ok, I should go, there's mutiny afoot.
Hope every one's having a great week.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whack sing Poet tic.

Can I just say how much me loves the spell check?
Because I do, do, do. So much. Spell check is my friend. And it's not that I'm a bad speller necessarily, just that I constantly second guess myself.
I do this a lot in life too, not just my writing. I have many moments of panic hysteria when I think, should I have just said that? Just because I think it, does that automatically mean I have to spurt it out? Yes, it does.
I eat foot.
A lot.
Yummy, toe jam.
Am I proud that I just wrote a whole paragraph on how much I love spell check? UM, not so much, but hey on the bright side, I'm not cleaning my toilet!
So seriously.
Is anyone else concerned with the mass of celebrities 'writing' cookbooks? And they are bestsellers! Cookbooks!
I'm all for the cookbook, I went through a phase early in marriage, pre rugrats when I bought up all the cookbooks I could find. Bisquick cookbooks, Asian fusion cookbooks, crock pot cookbooks. I was horrible.
I've sold most of them on Ebay, because they were threatening to mutiny in my kitchen and I didn't want to deal, so I kept my favorites, which incidentally are those cute fundraiser cookbooks that people contribute their fave family recipes to and compile and cute little cheerleaders/cub scouts/people in wheelchairs sell to you on Saturday mornings when you are innocently trying to buy other people's junk at yard sales.
But, never in my life...I'm sure it started before Jessica Seinfield and her Deceptively Delicious madness, but for some reason this irks me more than others. Who among us has not snuck something into our children's food?
This is not an original idea people! As a matter of fact, several years before Mrs. Seinfield pitched her idea, a regular Parents' magazine contributor wrote almost the same exact book, with several of the VERY SAME RECIPES! But her book did not get featured on Oprah, or on Letterman. Sigh.
I'm not sure what ole Jessica did before she married Jerry Seinfield and started reproducing madly, but what qualifies her among all the people who have written countless articles and even the very same book?
Oh, yeah, she's married to a millionaire.
Right, she needs the money.
And now, Katie Lee Joel (who looks just as young as Mr. Billy Joel's daughter Alexa Ray, but is, in fact, his wife) has 'written' the Comfort Table, you guessed it, a cookbook.
Is she a chef?
A nutritionist?
A food Savant?
She is from a good southern family, which traditional southern recipes to share.
Oh, yeah, and she's married to a millionaire.
Totally qualified.
Ok, enough of my bitter rant, I'm moving on.
I'm going to give Bill Gates a call, see how his marriage is working out.
If this whole writing fiction thing doesn't work out, I'll hook up with a bajillionare, 'write' a cookbook, and sit back and wait for my royalty checks while getting a mani/pedi/facial.
Good times.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Party over HERE (it could mean cake, people)

Hope everyone had a good Mother's Day weekend, I for one feel like I've been hit in the face with a shoe. (toothache, I haven't actually been assaulted with footwear)I relaunched Writing Mommy, so my excerpts will be exclusively over the-ah, feel free to visit, comment, or to be just plain voyeuristic, and lurk.
Now, for the random book review portion of the month.
I told you it was coming and NOW, I'm delivering.
Next week I'll have Jess Riley, her Brand Spanking NEW book will be coming out on Tuesday May 20th (though it will not be available at TAR-Jey until June 19th)
It's called Driving Sideways, and I'm superexited because the chapter excerpt on Amazon promises big fun and big suprises. If you have time shoot over and pre-order or you can wait to be intrigued by our fun Blogstravaganza next week!
We will be having a launch party her at Target Diva, so I want everyone to crank up the White Stripes, pop open a bottle o' somethin' somethin' or mix a nice sweet daiquiri and prepare to tell your Road trippin stories. We are gonna get buck wild up in here. (Ok, honestly, probably not so wild, but fun stuff, seriously, superfun) Stop by, you just might get a super bag o' swag or just win a free book.
Jess will not just be here, but she'll be all ovah, so look around you never know where that crazy girl might be.
As school winds to a close, my oldest ankle-biter gets more and more anxious about the onset of
'actual summer'. She needs daily updates on 'when the pool will be open?, and when can I stop going to school for a while?.
Which I am going to be OK with, because she's done really well this year, and she's allowed to be a little disenchanted at this point.
I won't lie, however, no pre-school, play school, actual school, or dance classes leaves me in a bit of a bind. I will have ALL my kids, ALL day long, FOR two whole months.
Maybe I should look into dog kennels.
joking, joking.
I'm hoping now that all progeny are mobile units, we'll be able to spend some time outside this summer, and not hide away as if we are allergic to sunlight, and might sprout unsightly fangs if exposed. I wasn't much of an outside girl as a kid, much preferring to lounge in the shade with the latest 'Sweet Valley Twins' tome and squeal when anything with legs, antennae or freckles came anywhere near me. But now as an adult, I appreciate a little fresh air, and of course the ability of the outside to calm even the most savage toddler.
I'm stocking up on suntan lotion and hoping for the best.
(The best being I'm not institutionalized on Day Two of summer)


Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane...

Nope. It's a mom.
She can fly, she can swoop, she can clean the dishes while tying a loop.
(this, my friends, is why I gave up on poetry)
OK, so I was not a fan of Mother's Day for a long long time. It only served to remind me about the things I did not have. I had certain things in mind about what Mother's should be. In the motherhood lot, I did not get my wish.
It's no secret that my Mom did not stick around. It's a hard thing to deal with the person who manufactured you not wanting you. Or not wanting to be with you enough to fight for you. The commercials around Mother's Day would make me scornful and envious, everyone else's mother cares, and yet....not me.

Now, that I'm older and I have a slightly more clear view of things, I adore Mother's Day.
I always wanted to be a Mother. A mother and an underwear model.
At least I'm a mother. Not only that, but I can appreciate My Mom for who she is, not for what she isn't. I can appreciate my stepmother for opening up the world to me.
My Mamaw for unwavering prayer, and constant support.
My Grandma for the show tunes and killer use of red lipstick.

And I know that Mother's Day is not just for women who gave birth.
It's for the aunts and sisters who read bed time stories and give good advice and love with all their heart.
It's for your friends who are fighting the same three a.m. fights you are and love you even though you have bloodshot eyes and a short temper.
For the network of women who will not judge you when you're fighting your two year old over a sucker, but instead give you a sympathetic smile and a wink.
Mother's Day is for your children to celebrate all you mean to them.
It's for your husband, who made you a Mommy.
For your Dad, who loved you and made you strong enough and smart enough to parent in your own right.

To everyone who has at some point been called Mommy, Happy Mother's Day.
To everyone who hasn't, the same.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Warm and Fuzzy Rejection.

My first rejection letter was when I was around fifteen. I entered the seventeen young writers contest and well, because I was not quite 'with it', I sent in a handwritten six hundred word masterpiece ( I believe the word count min. was 1200). All my hopes pinned on my story of a girls first kiss and first tattoo (unbelievably the same day!) Anxious, hopeful and a little sick to my stomach I checked the mail every day. When the creamy white envelope from seventeen finally arrived I was giddy with joy. I got MAIL! from a MAGAZINE! that everyone I knew READ! I'm pretty sure my hands were shaking as I tore open the envelope and......you guessed it. Ms. Treadway...we regret to inform you....

I was heartbroken.
I had already fantasized about telling my parents and throwing it in my brother's face and bragging to my friends....
But it was not to be.

Fourteen or so years later, I'm still no stranger to rejection. I've hit on strangers who laughed in my face (ok, that was once and I really don't want to talk about it.) my kids have spurned me for their father countless times and I'm pretty sure that even my immediate family doesn't like me sometimes.

Finally...Finally FINALLY I got a rejection letter with positive feedback.

I'd submitted two short stories to Harlequin back before the end of last year for ePublication.
Months and months had gone by with no word and I assumed just like all my other submissions, it wasn't even good enough for a form rejection, or it got lost in the mail.
Two days ago, I heard from Mary-Margeret Scrimger, an associate editor at MIRA (an imprint of Harlequin) actually heard from her, a personal email to me from her!!!

She said my story line was strong, but some scenes were unbelievable and the character introduction was weak (I'm paraphrasing)
She also said that they strongly advised me to continue with my writing, and they would love to see future submissions.

I know, it's still a rejection. And I'm still pretty heartbroken (I was proud of this particular story) but honestly, this is THE BEST rejection I've gotten. She told me what was good (strong, original story) and what was bad (far fetched scenes and watery dialogue). I can use that to make my other stuff stronger, as well as reworking this particular story for resubmission.

I still get a warm feeling just thinking about it.

Hope everyone has a great Mother's Day, I do have a post for mother's but it will have to be later today or tomorrow...
Best R

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

messy and unexpected

OK, so random book reviews are going by the wayside for a bit, in light of Mother's Day being right around the corner and all.

Recently, I was filling out some formamajig and one of the 'questions' (I'm using questions, because really we all know they are not questions, more like passive aggressive statements, but, I digress) was

Describe yourself in two words.

oh Crap.

oops, was that my two words...shoot.

You surely see my dilemma, I'm many things, but a women of short and sweet I am not.

If anything, I need two words to simply begin describing myself.

I thought long and hard. Realistically, it was like two seconds because if I was given time to think about something, I overthink.

Which of course, is what I'm doing now.

My two words were Messy and unexpected. Now, I do realize that messy to one person is not necessarily messy to another. I didn't mean sloppy messy, I meant happy messy.

I meant that given the choice of cleaning the living room or playing kitchen with the monster brigade, I would mess up that play area even more because my kids mean so much to me. I meant that if I had to choose to load the dishwasher or listen to one of K's original arrangements, I would give her the same attention I intend to give the American Idol tour.

My children are young still. And so am I. (well, relatively)

They won't have me to tea always and I won't always get to be their biggest fan. One day, I'll be the last person on their list instead of the first.

But, I didn't get to say all that. I just said messy.

Sometimes you have to say it all with one or two words and this is not me at all. I'm not sloppy messy (most of the time, or on purpose) I like when my house is clean, but I love to hear one of the kids say Thanks Mom even more.

Unexpected, well that one is a lot easier.

I have several paradoxes to my personality, due to my unconventional childhood. Which, while I was in it, hated, but now that I've grown up and gotten over it, I really loved.

So I am, Messy and Unexpected.

But, I'm also, Late, but reliable

Fun, and serious.

Devoted and wishy-washy (ok, is this one word? or two?)

Now that I'm approaching thirty, I appreciate who I am.

Someone who can't be described in two words.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Am not Crazy..Am Hormonal. is good excuse.

Dear Rhianna***,

Hello, Hope you are doing well, It's good to see that you still don't resemble a bus backing up when you wear an yellow sundress. I hope you are starting to feel a little bit better, but if not, please consider antidepressants. (Yeah, drugs!) We can send you a FREE month. That's thirty pills for NOTHING*. If you'd like to be in on this exiting ground floor opportunity, all you have to do is fill out this easy form (please include current credit card number, children's names and social security numbers and last will and testament).

Thanks in Advance.
Random big name drug company...**
*UM? hello? why do you need my credit card if offer is free?
**Can you see crazy all the way from new york city?
***names and some identifying details have been changed to protect innocent.

Dear Money sucking economy ruining spam mailing Pharmaceutical Company***

Am not crazy, am mother of three children under the age of five.
Am only fat because cannot find time to eat well and exercise (and quite frankly, like food)
So, you and "FREE" product do not tempt me.
Also, am uninterested in quick fixes for mental state, am just fine two weeks out of the month.

Thanks after the fact for your concern****,

****is sarcasm.
PS. Am girl, last time I looked so I have every right to be crazy.

did they really think spamming me for my CREDIT CARD NUMBER would work?
Sadly, I'm thinking they did, and that someone may have actually fallen for it.
Do you think they'll only say I'm mad cuz I'm crazy.
Good thing I'm a lunatic, otherwise, I might be concerned.