Monday, February 28, 2011

Cleaning That Garage, Er, Manuscript

The Garage is the Man's Domain at our house. That means when we moved in here three years ago, I shut that door and didn't look at it again.

I had to find a crate for Bob last week. The Hubster insisted that he could find what I wanted without my help. When he couldn't, I trudged out there myself with him hot on my heels telling me to just go buy a new on. As I thrust the garage door up and open, I was horrified at the sight.

It looked like a bomb had gone off (see above, but picture all of that covered with dust and cobwebs because someone, ahem, did SEAL the garage off like I asked as well). I felt my energy drain just looking at the overwhelming project. I wanted a crate, but now I have an entire garage that needs organizing again. Where do I even start?

Are you crying? he asked me. I wiped the tears, swallowed the panic and started divising a plan. Looking at it as a whole was far too much for my brain to comprehend. I couldn't imagine adding the clean up and organization to my already full plate. I mean, we're talking renting a shop vac, buying a heavy duty mop, getting my gardening gloves out (there be black widows in them boxes, loves)...not to mention all the supplies I would need to buy - more clear plastic bins (Cost Co), labels for the label maker (Target), shelving (Home Depot). The list started piling up so I shut down.

It reminded me of the first time I sat down (come on, you knew this was coming!) with my full manuscript to start revisions. Those 321 pages seemed so overwhelming that my brain shut off. I got up and did the dishes, the laundry, vacuumed and then ran a few errands. When I finished all that, it was time to make dinner. There went my day and no rewriting was accomplished.

I sat down to it the next morning...and it went much the same. For probably two weeks I had that problem. Overload. Too much to do and where to start?

Finally, after reading all the advice out there on how to tackle rewrites, I realized that you just have to do it. Just start. Anywhere. You find what works for you. I dug in to my first 100 or so pages and started revising. And you know what? It wasn't bad! I didn't get lost in the pages. I got lost in the story, which guided me through the rewrites! I started with one small part and just worked my way through it.

The garage can't be any different! Taking a deep breath, I thought - one thing at a time. I started with the piles of EMPTY boxes from every new item that has entered the house these past three years. (Why do you men keep empty boxes???) Grabbed the box cutter and went to town. Quite theraputic, actually. Slash, slash, slash. In the recycle bin they went.

I'm chunking the garage like I did my WIP. Taking it bit by by, starting with the empty boxes or the first 100 pages, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. In fact, when I finish that part, it feels like a big accomplishment! I often find that when I just MAKE myself do it, everything starts to flow. Those boxes took 30 minutes of slicing and dicing. That first 100 or so pages took me a week. See? Not so terrible after all!

Soon my garage will look like this:

Neat and tidy, just like my manuscript.

What about you - does rewriting seem overwhelming? Where do you start?

I have an interview with Melissa Wideen from Through the Looking Glass over on our Paws and Learn blog. It's all about her gorgeous cat, Mia. Stop on by and give it a read when you have a moment and let her know how cute that cat is. Mia loves the attention!

Friday, February 25, 2011

FUN Friday

Today is all about the FUN and the FUNNY. We need to laugh!

Anyone remember In Living Color? Such a great show. If it's available on Netflix, I highly recommend checking it out.

What's cuter than a little kid singing Hey Jude?

And I leave you with...

Which looks intriguing.

Have a FABULOUS weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Self Cleaning Floors - Hey, we have an oven that self cleans, why not my floors? I want them vacuumed and STEAMED. Lily had a playdate tonight. It would be great to get all the animals up onto furniture, push a button and have the floors so clean they could eat off them (because WE wouldn't ever do that, would we?). Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle like a diamond.

2) Clean bill of health for Bob - Fingers crossed I get him in the trap in the morning. He's got an 11am vet appointment. Now, by clean bill of health, I don't mean that he has to be miraculously rid of his Upper Respiratory Infection. But I would like no surprises. No FIV, FIP or FeLV. No "he's suffering kidney failure and you should put him down." I know he's all bones. I know he weighs maybe 5 pounds at the most. THAT I can fix. Kidney failure I can't.

And Wednesday is hoping for a microchip. She's a jealous little kitty and doesn't want another cat in the house to compete for lap space, nap spots and catnip.

3) Weather Control - I think that would be my super power - the ability to control the weather. Make it rain when I'm in the mood for rain. Stop the rain and the sun comes out (but it still remains cool!) for walking Lily in the afternoon. Sun when I want it. Oh, and probably never any wind. I am not a fan at all. Lots of sunshine but crisp weather. Clouds when I need to hike, but not rain clouds. Thunder when I'm in the mood. A little bit of lightening. Oh, that could be so much fun!! I love walking Lily at night but could have done with a bit more than 49 degrees out. I would love to make it 70 degrees when I walk her at night! Then it can dip low again once we're cozy in the house!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Your Focus Needs More Focus

We were watching The Karate Kid this weekend, the remake with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. I was all set to NOT like it. Picture me sitting with my arms across my chest and a pout on my face as I declared to The Hubster "You can't BEAT an original. I refuse to watch this." I loved it. It's really hard to go wrong with Jackie Chan. I do love him. It didn't beat the original, though. (Note: That's my cousin, Bren, in his Karate Kid headband that my aunt made him. He just turned 27 last week. But to me, he'll always look like this.)

"Your Focus Needs More Focus"
I feel like this right now. I've had some great opportunities to write this week. Rainy days, no classes. I get a good hour, maybe two and I start to lose focus. My mind wanders, then my body follows.

I cleaned out and organized all the drawers in the bathroom on Thursday. Six drawers. On Friday, I hit the hallway closet.

My focus needs more focus.

But how do you get yourself to stay seated? After two hours, I start to squirm. I HAVE to get up and move around. The problem is refocusing. Coming back after I've gotten up. The next thing I know, I'm looking at the clock and it's time to cook dinner for The Hubster. I kick myself mentally as I chop veggies for not getting another three or four hours in.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to turn this around. I want to be like this woman:

I want to have so much focus that my story follows my every movement. If she can stand in that pose on the ledge and get a cobra to mimic her, I can sit in my chair and get several hours of writing done. Yes, I know it's a movie. But I believe there are women out there standing on ledges and leading the cobras. I believe that I can be one of those women.

What about you - how's your focus?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flashback Friday

It's FLASHBACK Friday! That's me in my groovy pants my mom made me holding my grandparent's neighbor's puppy. My love of animals started early! We always got our dogs from the neighbor's when they moved or the shelter and my dad had a "no puppy" policy so it was a rare treat when I got my hands on one!

The sonnet I bring you today was from my high school AP English class. While studying Mr. Shakespeare, we had to write a play and a sonnet. Since the play would be too long to post here, I went with the sonnet. It's tongue in cheek, in case you don't notice.

The Writer's Stain
I sit alone and ponder through the time
With empty page and inspiration gone
And never find a word or phrase to rhyme
My pounding head reminds me of a gong.
Attempt to write then mold into some shape
The careless blobs that form upon my brain,
That ooze on out and down around my nape
And leave what I have name the writer's stain.
And yet I find a way to use my pen
In capturing the necessary words.
Painstakingly I count from one to ten
I feel this sonnet is but for the birds.
At last I've reached the welcome end of this
And find it something I will never miss.

There were so many great things about growing up in the 80s. Commercials were a big part of that. I bring you a few of my favorites!!

Who doesn't remember the little jingle that began "Hello mother, hello father, greetings from Camp Hiawatha"?

This was a catchy little well as entertaining. I used mine as a night light for the looooongest time!

Remember McGruff the Crime Dog? This one was my favorite, but also freaked me out. They disabled the embedding on it so you'll have to click.

Here's another good one.

I love the old lady calling in the crime. Too funny.

Help take a bite outta crime!

Happy Friday everyone! Any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) I want to win one of the two prizes in Nutschell's contest! She's got two great prize giveaways so hop on over here and be sure to say that I sent you so that I get an extra 5 entries! Follow her - you won't regret it. The thing that I love about Nutschell's blog is that it's informative, entertaining and has great pictures (think professional quality). She interviews authors, posts everything from book reviews to helpful writing programs (some of them FREE) to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. She gives great linkage as well! If you're not following her, you're really missing out!

2) Magical Cupboards - everything organized, please! I go through them every six months and reorganize, but it would be so nice if I didn't have to. If I could just THINK it and it would happen? That would be...magical. And worth its weight in leprechaun gold. Or Goblin gold. It would save me several days a year. Everything exactly where it should be. If The Hubster is so kind as to put the dishes away (which he has been known to do!) in the wrong places (which he has been known to do!), it would magically jump to the cabinet it is really supposed to be in! I wonder how much time it would save me not having to look for missing items I need when I'm cooking? I wasted a good five minutes looking for the can opener on Sunday night. If we added up all the times I have to search for the certain soup pot I like, the steamer, the coffee scoop (seriously, we use it every morning, it should NEVER move), can opener, monster frying pan, garlic press, my favorite wooden spoon, I bet I'd get another few days in my year! Fantastic!

3) 50 degree lows. Don't be mad. I know most of you are laughing. It's not for me. I am blessed with with a warm house, warm clothes, a warm bed. But little kitty out there is not. He's sleeping in the dirt under a house and I'm not sure how warm he can actually get. We're set for a "storm" (which is truly laughable compared to what REAL storms are). I think he's got Upper Respiratory. I won't have a trap until the weekend. He's starting to look better. It's only been a week so not enough time to put on any weight really, but he's grooming daily, making regular appearances and exploring the area! All very good signs. I don't want him to make a downhill slide because of the weather. The crawl space isn't big enough that I can get under there and give him a blanket. :-( So I need the weather to cooperate!! It's not for me - you know I love the cold, rainy, wet weather. Think of the little kitty...

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Did You Know Dinosaurs Can Open Doors?

I was teaching Dog Safety today and I opened it up for questions at the end like I usually do. When you're teaching Kinder kids, you never know what you're going to get. Usually their "question" is something like "I have a dog. He's black. We call him Blackie." (Brownie is another popular name for brown dogs)

Today, my first question was...

Miss Jennifer, did you know that Dinosaurs can open doors?

Yes, we spent thirty minutes on when it's okay to pet a dog and when it's not okay to pet a dog and my first question was about Dinosaurs. It's one of the best things about my job - you never know what is going to come out of these little mouths!

I asked, "Like in Jurassic Park?"

"What's that?"

He had never seen the movie. "How do you know?" I asked.

"I just know," he said as he shrugged his little shoulders.

In his mind, Dinosaurs not only exist they can open doors! Let's set aside how scary bedtime must for him and look at his imagination. As children, it's so easy for us to believe - in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, that monster under our bed. To us, it all comes alive and truly exists.

As we get older, we lose that imagination. I think our teachers and parents might start discouraging it at some age. Fairy tales are set aside. We stop opening our minds.

When I was writing Dark Forest, it was fun to be a kid again. There were times when the adult in me would try to stop the flow of something. "That's ridiculous. That would never happen." "Impossible!" I had to lock my adult self out of the house while I was writing. It was MY book. ANYTHING was possible. Elves and Magic and Healing - all possible.

Did you know that Dinosaurs can open doors?

Monday, February 14, 2011

When Words Escape You

Happy Valentine's Day!

I have the house all to myself for the morning. The Hubster and Lily went off in search of an adventure worthy of a man and his beloved dog. I have the windows open, candle burning, music on and Dark Forest open.

I also have clogged sinuses. An infection crept in there on Wednesday night. Ugh. The problem? Words escape me. Common words. Well, maybe not entirely common but words that should come easy to me. I can think of the definitions (which really, should be the harder part), but the word escapes me. This has happened multiple times, throwing quite the kink in my morning session!

Normally, I can bounce things off The Hubster. This doesn't always work. At times it's like a bad comedy.

Me: Whats's that word?
Him: What word?
Me: You know, that word that...when someone doesn't miss anything?
Him: When someone doesn't miss anything?
Me: Do you know the word or are you just going to repeat what I say?
Him: Sharp.
Me: No.
Him: Smart.
Me: No.
Him: Ingenious?
Me: NO!
Him: Perceptive. Brainy. Slick. Acute.
Me: Astute!
Him: That means someone doesn't miss anything?
Me: No, but that was the word I was looking for.
Him: And you wanted me to help you find that word based on a definition NOT for that word?
Me: Shhhh. I'm trying to write.

Even if he was here, he might not be able to help me. This morning, I've turned to the internet. Google search has become my best friend. Goal for the morning: Three Chapters. Current Progress: One and a half. I might even smash through that goal and get past it by a few chapters. But not if I stay here writing posts all morning.

What about you - do words sometimes escape you? How do you find them? Chase them down and trap them in a butterfly net? Have a spouse or friend help you? Or do you Google like I've Googled?

Thank you everyone for your well wishes! I'm recovering quite well save for the nasty sinus infection that had nothing to do with that awful procedure!! I was very touched by everyone's comments!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Out of Office

I will be out of the office for the rest of the week. Once I'm recovered, I'll be back at the computer typing away again! So you can look forward to Wednesday Wishes and Flashback Friday next week.

Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend! And here's to Thursday passing fast as lightening!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Carefully Balanced Week

This is how my week looks. I'm carefully balancing all the things that have to be done. That long rock in the center is an unpleasant medical test that is looming large for Thursday. I have two more days this week to accomplish all the things that need to be done. Two. Many things. Not sure if the balance will hold. It's unclear how many days this procedure will put me out for. I may be able to suck it up and write while flat on my back in moderate discomfort (I'm looking on the bright side). Or I may be in too much pain to do anything other than ask my husband to wait on me hand and foot. Since the future is unknown, that leaves me two days.

Typical of Jennie, I bit off more than I could chew this week. I continued to add rocks and now...I'm dangerously close to the whole thing tipping over. In all fairness to me, not all of the rocks are my fault. I couldn't see that hiking Lily where I did on Saturday would result in something stuck up her nose. Vet appointment added to the plate to find it and remove it. In the meantime, listening to her constant sneezing and reverse sneezes is driving me up a wall. Then, we had a stray cat that is no more than bones take refuge under the neighbor's house. You know me, I can't just let it die. So I'm feeding it several small meals a day and shutting it in at night so a coyote doesn't make a small meal of it while I'm sleeping. Fingers crossed, I'll get it in a trap and vetted before Thursday. What will I do with it after the vet appointment? Um, not thinking that far ahead or those rocks are going to come crashing down.

I have the day off today, which is supposed to mean - windows open, candle burning, music on and rewriting. Did I mention coffee? Have I told my newest discovery? NO!?! Oh, if you love coffee, you have to find a Gloria Jean's Coffee Bean near you - or order it online! Chocolate Macademia Nut is apparently seasonal (who knew?) so you have to hurry. I've stocked up. It's worth getting out of bed for every morning. You must try it. If you lived close, I would make it for you. See, there I go adding another rock without thinking.

I'm starting to get anxious that I'm not going to have to write. That last rock being gently put on top? That's my rewrite. It might tip the balance and send the rocks crashing...onto my foot! Ouch! Or it might fit on there perfectly. I won't know until I try. We're going to see how many dishes I can keep spinning tomorrow. Or perhaps I'll take a few off - dusting, vacuuming, steaming the floors, of the lower rocks. Or two. Or three.

It's all a balancing act at the moment. Let's see if this one last little pebble will tilt it or if it will hold.

How much is too much?

What about you - do you carefully balance out your week? Your list of things? Or are you one of those amazing no list people that I envy so much?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blogfest

Today is Top Ten Horror/Sci Fi Movie Quotes Blogfest hosted by iZombieLover and Ellie Garratt. Be sure to click on their names to visit all the other participants!

This was so much fun, but really difficult (to narrow down). In fact, I cheated and used a few lines in some places...

1. Army of Darkness
Ash: "Lady, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to ask you to leave the store."
Possessed Lady: "Who the hell are you?"
Ash: "Names Ash. Housewares."

It was hard to pick just one line from the entire trilogy because there are so many great lines.

2. Silence of the Lambs
Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb: "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again."

3. The Lost Boys
Sam: "Look at your reflection in the mirror. You're a creature of the night Michael, just like out of a comic book! You're a vampire Michael! My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait 'till mom finds out, buddy!"

This was another hard one to narrow down. Soooo many great lines in this movie. They never get old.

4. Zombieland
Columbus: "When Tallahassee goes Hulk on a zombie, he sets the standard for "not to be fucked with".

5. The Shining
Jack: "Wendy? Darling. Light of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna kill ya. I'm just gonna bash your brains in."

6. Scream
Casey: "Who's there?"
Ghostface: "Never say "who's there?" Don't you watch scary movies? It's a death wish. You might as well come out to investigate a strange noise or something."

7. The Mummy
Rick: "You came back from the desert with a new friend, didn't you, Beni?"

Another hard one to pick just one line!

8. Galaxy Quest
Guy Fleegman: I changed my mind. I wanna go back.
Sir Alexander Dane: After the fuss you made about getting left behind?
Guy Fleegman: Yeah, but that's when I thought I was the crewman that stays on the ship, and something is up there, and it kills me. But now I'm thinking I'm the guy who gets killed by some monster five minutes after we land on the planet.
Jason Nesmith: You're not gonna die on the planet, Guy.
Guy Fleegman: I'm not? Then what's my last name?
Jason Nesmith: It's, uh, uh - -I don't know.
Guy Fleegman: Nobody knows. Do you know why? Because my character isn't important enough for a last name, because I'm gonna die five minutes in.

9. Resident Evil
Red Queen: "You're all going to die down here."

10. Jurassic Park
Dr. Ian Malcolm: "God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs."
Dr. Ellie Sattler: "Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth."

What about you - do you have any favorite quotes? Did you like mine?

Friday, February 4, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! I hope your Friday is as wonderful as mine is going to be! I have the day off so it will be full of writing and fun adventures with Lily.

That's my nephew busy texting his peeps on The Hubster's iPhone while using Lily as a couch cushion at my mom's last weekend. Today's adventures will be off the couch and on the trail, hopefully.

Mitch Hedberg. Not everyone gets his comedy. It's all in the delivery, I think. He always made me laugh.

Here are a few of his jokes that aren't on that YouTube video:
I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, “You’re gonna have to move, you’re blocking a fire exit.” As though if there was a fire, I wasn’t gonna run. If you’re flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.

My friend said to me, “You know what I like? Mashed potatoes.” I was like, “Dude, you have to give me time to guess. If you’re going to quiz me you have to insert a pause.”

You know when they have a fishing show on TV? They catch the fish and then let it go. They don’t want to eat the fish, they just want to make it late for something.

You know that Pepperidge Farm bread, that stuff is fancy. That stuff is wrapped twice. You open it, and then still ain’t open. That’s why I don’t buy it, I don’t need another step between me and toast.

On a traffic light yellow means yield, and green means go. On a banana, it’s just the opposite, yellow means go ahead, green means stop, and red means, where’d you get that banana?

I like buying snacks from a vending machine because food is better when it falls. Sometimes at the grocery, I’ll drop a candy bar so that it will achieve its maximum flavor potential.


I did Dog Safety this week with the little kids and had two fun interactions today. Both classes were Kinder so the kids were roughly 5.

Me: Do you think it's a good idea to yank his tail?
Class: NO!
Boy: Because then he will bite you and keep on biting until there's blood everywhere and your mom and dad have to call 911 and the ambulances comes and they take you to the hospital and you don't even get to come home for maybe three weeks and when you do comes homes you have to go back for they can take out all your stitches but you still have scars.
Me: Did that happen to you?
Boy shakes his head.
Me: Your brother?
Boy shakes his head.
Me: Cousin?
Boy shakes his head.
Me: Who did that happen to?
Boy shrugs: I don't know.
Me: You don't anyone who has been bit by a dog.
Boy: Nope.
Teacher (whispers): He has a VERY vivid imagination.

Um, vivid? How about SPECIFIC? I had a vivid imagination growing up - but I made up an imaginary friend named Jessica with purple hair. Every meal, my mom had to put an extra plate next to me so she could eat too. But she would only eat Spaghetti-Os. Then one day, I told her that she didn't have to set a plate anymore...because she died. My imaginary friend got hit by a car. Nevermind. I guess even the best of us make up dramatic stuff!

Second classroom was English as Second Language learners. That exchange went as follows:
Me: Do we want to pet him on the mouth?
Class: NO!
Me: What's in the mouth?
Class: Teeth!
Boy #1: Sharp teeth!
Boy #2: Super sharp. And they can bite yo finga clean off!
Boy #1: And then you have trouble to use a fork!
I opened my mouth to say "that depends on which finger he bites off" before remembering that I was there to teach them how to be safe around dogs, not to scare the you know what out of them around my lifelike puppet.

What about you - any big plans for the weekend?

Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Middle of the Night Inspiration

"I got to write these jokes. So, I sit at the hotel at night and I think of something that’s funny. Or, If the pen is too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of wasn’t funny." - Mitch Hedberg

I had a Mitch moment last night. It was about one a.m. and I had finally gotten comfortable in bed. Sometimes it can take me an hour to find just the right spot so I can relax then drift off to sleep. It was super chilly (I can hear Colene snort, Abby chortle and Melissa guffaw at that - see girls, I gave you all your own action!) and I was so toasty under the new flannel quilt Mom had made me. The alarm was set for 6am so I was already looking at a much shorter amount of sleep than I require to be coherent even WITH coffee in the mornings.

It hit me. That perfect transition. The solution to all my WIP problems. Okay, not all of them, but the one that is most vexing me at the moment. It was sheer brilliance (as it always seems at one in the morning). I wasn't willing to compromise my position, but not to worry - I keep a pen and paper handy next to the bed for just such moments.

I thrust my hand out quickly, stretching down as far as I could to the nightstand. Feeling my way around, I had my paper. I pulled that pad up and under the covers, then reached for the pen. No luck. Anywhere. I came up with two cough drops (yes, I even hide them under books so The Hubster doesn't know I'm sneaking them before I fall asleep), a paper clip and a bookmark. No pen.

Crap. I have to actually roll onto my side and peer down into the darkness. This didn't help either. It was entirely too dark to see what I was rummaging for. Not to worry, though, because I keep a flashlight right there (it's Cali, people, we're expecting the big one any day now...and have been for the last twenty years). Flip it on, shine it all around and find no pen.

Wednesday our Magical Cat? She loves her some pens. Hours of entertainment. I find them every time I move a couch, a chair, the bed to vacuum. Drat that little gray cat!

I roll back into my comfy position. The clock (which my sadistic monster-in-law bought for Christmas two years ago to torture me) shines it time on the ceiling: 1:15am. Oh, not even five hours of precious sleep now. If I get up, I know it won't stop at a simple scribbling. I'll trudge down the hallway, fire up the computer (since I'm up, might as well just get it on computer) and be there until the alarm goes off at 6am. Likely, everything from 2am on will be trash because my brain doesn't function at those times (well documented fact from my production days). So wasted sleep.

I try to reassure myself that I will remember the brilliance. This brings a soft laugh. My memory...well, let's just say that's why I keep a pad next to the bed, in my purse, in the car, in the kitchen, next to the couch. I remember Mitch's joke. I try to convince myself that what I came up with isn't brilliant at all. In fact, it's just not going to work. But it does work. Beautifully. Perfect, even.

I fought with myself for another fifteen minutes before sleep caught me and pulled me under. I slept so deeply that I didn't respond to the alarm. But guess what - I remembered it! Then I ran off to teach. No worries, I have a break coming up. I'll write it down then! Only the break never materialized because I had teachers asking me training questions, cat questions, etc. that held me up and made my day run together. I got home, ate lunch and fell into bed for a nap. Got lost on blogs for the afternoon.

Here it is 12:15am and I'm ready to crawl in for the night. I have no blog post. I still haven't written down that great idea. Mitch's quote hits me and I race to the computer to pound out this post! I've got the pad next to me and I'll write my brilliant idea down on the way to bed. If I can find a pen. Drat that little gray cat!

What about you - do you ever have Mitch moments? How motivated are you to chase that story? Will you get up in the middle of the night to write things down?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

This is Wednesday leaning out of her cat tree. She may look like just your average gray tabby cat, but she has many skills. Most of these skills, she uses for The Good. Okay, 'most' might be a slight exaggeration. Wednesday is a good little kitty, though, at heart. She loves her family, loves her sisters, loves annoying those sisters and she also loves to grant wishes. Every Wednesday morning, I will rub the side of the cat house and summon our magic cat!

My Wednesday Wishes for the week:

1) Time Skipper - Wouldn't it be great to have a little dial that moved us forward in time? Dental appointment? Hit the dial and you're on the other side - cavity filled, root canal done. I have a test next week that I'm not looking forward to. I haven't liked any of the medical tests recently, to tell you the truth. But next week? The worst so far. You know it's bad when you aren't concerned about the results, you're just concerned about getting through the test. That's me. Hence the Time Skipper. I could fast forward just before the test to that evening when I'm at home, relaxing, recouping, watching whatever I feel like on TV to distract myself. Time Skippers would get us through those awkward moments - that speech you don't want to give, that meeting you've been dreading, that party joke that fell flat...right through it.

My Time Skipper design is simple, but stylish (see above). It's easily disguised as a kitchen timer! This way no one knows what we're up to!

2) A Home Gym - I used to be a workoutaholic (totally a word!). I love the burn, the sweat, the results when I'm zipping up those jeans. Sigh. We used to live a few blocks from the gym, which was perfect. The parking lot is small so we walked. I would go six days a week. The seventh day was for hiking. Then we moved. Small parking lot, long drive. Not worth it. We canceled the membership. But I miss the classes - kickboxing, spinning, yoga. Okay, I don't miss yoga. I keep trying to take it and love it because I'm supposed to but about five minutes into a class I remember why I hate it (it hurts and I'm bored). Walking Lily twice a day burns nothing. Two hours, no burn = 40 pounds that I need to lose. That's right FOUR-ZERO. We canceled the gym membership. Have you seen the cost of gym memberships?? They went WAY up. We were paying $19 a month for both of us where we were. It's astronomical. And classes? Expensive. They add up at $10/class. If I want to take 3 classes a week, that's $30 a week/$120 a month and more in a year than I want to think about. So a home gym - simple. Just a spin bike, an elliptical and a treadmill. I'll hook Lily up while I'm on the elliptical. I'll unhook her and jump on the Spin bike. Oh, a killer weight set too. I have small hand weights but I want a bench - the kind you can do leg presses and curls, sit ups, etc. on!

Does a Personal Trainer come WITH my home gym? Wait, this is my wish - of course it does!!!

3) Magic Table - Picture Hogwarts. You sit down and food magically appears. An entire vegan feast! When you're done, everything disappears. Then yummy vegan dessert appears (or whatever kind my guests desire!). Glasses are always FULL! How cool would that be? I wouldn't abuse it. I would only use it for guests and at dinnertime twice a week or so. I'm willing to cook the rest of the time. But I reserve the right to use it seven days a week if I want to in the future.

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feed the Body to Feed the Mind

We all have our favorite writery snacks. Mine vary - sometimes it's the salty goodness of Pop Secret Homestyle Butter Popcorn. Other times, it's my homemade pumpkin muffins (one Weight Watchers point!). Every so often, I need some sugary goodness like York Peppermint Patties. I buy the minis so I don't feel like I'm consuming as many calories (HA HA) when in reality I consume more!

My husband is the primary breadwinner (translation: He makes all the money). Because of him, I can have my non-profit. I can spend my days off writing. He puts up with an awful lot. The least I can do for him is to have a hot meal from scratch on the table when he walks in the door at night. I'm big on healthy meals. I'm also big on quick meals. Tonight, I made a Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots and Broccoli. It was so easy, so quick and very delicious. I wanted to share the yummy recipe with you! Click here and don't be intimidated if you have never cooked Quinoa. I didn't include the tofu because quinoa had enough protein.

Another recipe that I make once a month - Dr. Oz's Spicy Chili. I use fake meat (Soy Taco) and canned chili beans with their sauce. The prep time is not 45 minutes. I use a food processor and toss the garlic, sweet onion and shallots in that (oh, I add shallots to everything!). Quick, tasty meal! I vary my writing schedule depending on the week and what is going on.

When I eat a meal like these, I find that my brain can go for hours into the night. I'm pretty sure it's the food and not the Pine Scented candles. The quicker I can prepare a meal, the quicker I can get back to my W.I.P. After sitting down to enjoy the food with The Hubster, that is.

What about you - do you have any yummy recipes? Any favorite writing snacks?