Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas



Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

The pneumonia has made a return so I'll be concentrating on getting well until the new year is here.
I will try to pop in and visit blogs when I'm awake and able to do so!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Déjà Vu Blogfest

Today I am participating in the Déjà Vu Blogfest hosted by Lydia Kang, DL Hammons, Creepy Query Girl, and Nicole Ducleroir! We are posting a favorite blog post from the past. I can hardly wait to blog hop - to read some for the first time that I missed out on and to rediscover some from favorite bloggers!


REWRITE EUPHORIA

A lot of writers don't like the rewrite process. It's not as creative as that first draft when everything is flowing, including great little nuggets that seem cool at the time but no sense with the story (how many times have you said to yourself, "I'll come back to that later"??).



You stare down at that HUGE manuscript that seems to have multiplied in pages now that you have to edit the thing and think "now WHAT?"


You do what you do best - avoid. You clean the house. You run every errand you can think of, including ones that have been on the list for two years. Suddenly, that closet in the guest room that you haven't organized in three years seems to bug you so much that you must do it NOW. You go have lunch with the friends you've been putting off for the last few months as you finish your book. You take the dog on all those fun adventures you've been wanting to do but didn't have time.

Then, that feeling sets in - you haven't written in a week or two or five. You start to get antsy. Your chest is tight. You need to create. Briefly, you're tempted to chase that shiny new idea. But you don't. You force yourself to sit down with your colored post-its and your favorite pen. You sit. And you sit. And you sit. And then the phone rings so you have an excuse to get up.

I forgot to bring a book to school last week when I was teaching. Best. Thing. Ever. I had one scrap of paper - my schedule of classes. I flipped it over and did some sketching. Redesigning. I remembered why I love rewriting so much. It's every bit as creative as that first draft. I rolled up my sleeves and got muddy like a five year old in a puddle.

And it worked. Like, really worked. Everything flows now in the story. Scenes have been moved around, forward, deleted. There is nothing hitting that moment where it all comes together. Rewrite euphoria. The Writer's High.











I was going on less than five hours sleep and I could not wait to get home. I was actually irritated that I had to run a real errand on the way (Lily has to eat, you know). When I sat down to my computer, it felt like I had slept ten hours! My fingers flew across the keyboard. They've been flying ever since! Who needs sleep?

Now, the laundry has piled up again. Cupboards are bare. The dog is wondering what happened to all that fun hiking that she got to do with Mom the last few weeks. That five pounds I lost is finding it's way back to me. But I don't care. I'm on that writer's high!

What about you - have you had a dose of that Writer's High? That Rewrite Euphoria?

Wednesday, December 14, 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) House of Wormwood C No. 20 - At the Renn Faire last year, I purchased a candle that smelled like eucalyptus. It's an odd fragrance that I love. I think I burned it once and then we had company over so the tin was closed and put away. I rediscovered it tonight while riffling through the hall closet for wrapping paper. It made my night. Possibly even my entire week. The house smells of eucalyptus. The migraine that was starting vanished. I went online to search for a new candle only to find that they didn't have this number anymore. Boo. I've tried many eucalyptus candles over the years and this was hands down the BEST. So I'm wishing that somehow I will get a new candle. I think that's an easier wish than the fast forwarding of time so that tomorrow is suddenly the Renn Faire.

2) Donations - We're wrapping again (Paws and Learn), but our first day was not very lucrative. Our organization relies mainly on donations in this down economy because most of the grant money has dried up. We do not get a salary. This is a labor of love for Meredith and I because we believe so strongly in the importance of Humane Education (especially reading stories like this). But handouts do not come cheap and these children need to take lessons home with them (in the form of fun activities) to reinforce what they have heard in class, and to counteract what is being taught at home and in their own neighborhoods. Every cent we make goes right back into our presentation materials and programs. We spent 8 hours at a Barnes & Noble last week for a whopping $10. So here's to hoping the rest of the week is far more productive, especially now that we've gotten them to move the table downstairs next to the register.

3) A Day - I would love to be able to choose one day of my life and go back to relive it. I wouldn't change a thing. I just want to be back in my grandparents house to spend a day in their presence. Grandma would be cooking up something that makes the whole house smell like...well, like their house. I know that I've talked about my grandparents before and how close I was to both of them, but especially to my grandma. There are usually days that pass without much more than a quiet thought of them. Then there are days like today - after a particularly vivid dream the night before - where the ache of missing them drives me nuts. When my grandpa passed, my mom and aunts put their house up for sale. I was far too young and it was crazy expensive given it's location, but I wanted to buy that house so badly and just keep it exactly as it was. The Mirror of Erised would have been so dangerous for me. I might have been like Harry and spent far too many hours in front of it. So I would wish for a day, any day of my choosing, to step back into that life - with grandma's cooking and her laughter that rang through the house (you could hear her in any room no matter how far away you were), to wander through grandpa's garden with him as he showed me all the new plants he had just added and what was in bloom, to hug them both and hold them tight. How cool would it be if we could do that occasionally? Oh magic, why can't you be real? I guess that's what memories are for, though.

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

FUN Friday

Belated. This is what happens when I start posts early...I forget to check the post options and actually give them a date. Oops!

WARNING: Strong language. But it's so worth it.



I wish I had the courage to do something fun and crazy like this. When I was in high school maybe, but not now.



The original Footloose music video



We celebrated another year of my life tonight. As I got toward the end of my 20s, birthdays depressed me. Now, I love them. Love. Because I have lost friends way too young. Every year is a gift and I've learned to be thankful for them. I spent the evening in the company of the best of friends. Lily thought the party was for her. She was hilarious with her enthusiastic greeting of the guests at the door. But they were here for ME! I am very blessed. You wouldn't believe how far these wonderful will drive to celebrate with me. Special, special people. And we had delicious food. Three words, my friends - Red velvet cheesecake. Oh yum. So yum!

Off to bed, then a hike in the morning and Sunday football. Weekends don't get any better than this.

Did I mention the red velvet cheesecake?

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 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) Living Room Furniture - I have had this current set for a decade. My aunt donated it to me after it had graced her living room for five years. I don't buy things for myself often. It's time for a new set. I don't like to do a lot shopping so I would really like to find a complete set somewhere and just be done with it. No luck so far. But oh how I am wishing! Just let me walk in somewhere Saturday morning and have it jump out at me. I want to shout "That's IT! Wrap it up and deliver it this afternoon!" No?

2) Health - I have a major sore throat that I'm really hoping is allergies. I had to cancel our last game night because of the pneumonia and it would just be dumb rotten luck to be getting sick again when we have company this weekend! So sore throat be gone! And take the virus with you as you flee my body. I want a fun Saturday evening filled with friends and laughter!

3) Memory - There's a wish that has been in and out of my head for a good month now. Every time I sit down to type this list? It's gone! I guarantee in an hour, I will remember and think "DOH! I should have written (wish)!" Sometimes I worry about my memory. It seems if I don't write everything down, I forget. And there are times when it's written down and I still forget! Appointments, lunch dates, things like that tend to escape me. The best is when I write it on a post-it and find the post-it only a few minutes after the (insert appointment) was scheduled! So I guess my wish is to improve my memory over all. I remember random dates, conversations word for word, our very first telephone number at the house we resided in when I was five...but schedule lunch with me for next Tuesday at 1pm and there's a chance that I might not be at the restaurant if you didn't send me a reminder or I forgot to look at the calendar!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Editing Fun

I'm not above rewrites. For real. I love them. Or like them. Depending on my mood. Mostly, though, I love them. It's a great excuse to pull out the post-its and markers and color code everything. I like the idea of building on and filling out. The foundation is laid, the beams are in, but we need walls and windows and doors. After that, I'll go back through and decorate with art work and furniture and family photos (got to have lots of those!).

But right now? I'm at the not fun part.

I spent the last week really buckling down. You should see all the post-its and mark ups. It's a thing of beauty! I'm done with the initial handwriting part so it's time to move onto the computer.

Here's where the downer starts...it's not my computer. My laptop crashed and I have been too cheap to replace it. Oh sure, I toyed with the idea of going to WalMart's Black Friday for that $198 laptop deal that they had. But ultimately I decided that being warm and uncrowded in my mother-in-laws living room was more important to me. Silly me. I truly regret that decision.

I am forced to work on the hubster's computer in his den. The chair is so uncomfortable. The lighting is awful. No fun. I went from the excitement of rewrites to the PAIN of rewrites. Literal, physical pain. But I'm plugging through them anyway.

By tomorrow, I bet I'll be online looking for a great deal on laptops. Or netbooks. Any recommendations? Pros and cons of each?

If you're looking for a laugh (even though it's Monday), pop on over to Michelle Hodkin's blog here. Best story ever. I laughed so hard. Her brother is amazing. It must run in the family. She writes her amazing stories on paper and he just lives his.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! I was so happy to see the weekend roll in (unlike the 55mph winds that heralded its coming)

We lost a great man this week. Patrice O'Neal was an incredible comedian and a heckuva guy. Heaven just got funnier while earth lost some laughter.


I have been waiting for a campaign like this. I find it brilliant. If you are easily offended, don't watch. I heart Katherine Heigl for tackling the spay/neuter issue with humor. I'm embarrassed how many times I've watched this. I laugh just as hard every time.


Trying to take a family photo with the dogs can be trying...as this couple found out.


I can't tell you how many shots it took to get this.












I'm pretty sure that I've shared this one before. It's one of my favorites. I find it fascinating. It's like they're having an entire conversation. I love how the one twin laughs like his brother is cracking jokes. Amazing! And adorable.



I'm kicking off my weekend with Crit Group! No big plans really. Some furniture shopping, but it's doubtful I will decide on anything again this weekend. It's fun to shop, though.

What about you - any big plans this weekend?

Wednesday, November 30, 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) All My Girls in ONE Place - Doesn't it sound nice to get away for a girl weekend? We're spread out all over and I miss everyone terribly. I'm really wanting to organize a weekend (or even a looong weekend - who is going to miss me for four days?) where the ocean and the mountains meet. A few days of fun, friendship and writing. Late night wine, early morning coffee and laughter sprinkled throughout the day. Doesn't that sound nice?

2) The ability to make a decision - Without consulting everyone in my circle...twice...and then again. I hate being so indecisive. I haven't always been this way and I'm not sure when it crept into my life. Is it a product of getting older? I'm out of my carefree 20s when I didn't think decisions mattered so much because I could always change things. Then, I could jump into a totally crazy fun job with wacky hours that might be over two weeks later. Now? I can't even decide on living room furniture. For real. Or dog food. I will spend hours doing research to make sure I have a five star dog food brand that doesn't include any protein source my dog is allergic to and then stand in the aisle at the pet food store and over analyze all the analyzing that brought me to that decision...only to decide that I'm not sure again and I need to talk to more people. I'm shocked that my partner in Paws and Learn hasn't shot me. How many times can she go over and over and over the same things with me? Let's just say a ton! This week, I made a decision all by myself. Yay me! I'd like to continue this trend.

3) Playlist Suggestions - I was finally able to start running again this week, but I'm finding my playlists old and not as motivating as they used to be. I would love some song suggestions to keep me running on that track when I'd rather go home and curl up on the couch! Hit me!

What about you - what are your wishes for our magical little grey cat?

Friday, November 18, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Hope you had a fabulous week - and if you didn't, I hope you have the weekend off to recoup!

If you love The Walking Dead and The Soup like I do, this is the perfect marriage!


What is cuter than little kid's evil laughter?


And let's end with this...I can't even tell you how many times I have watched it. Why does it have to be so far away??


KID FUNNIES:

So many this week, it's hard to know where to start.

Very lively 5th Graders this week. I felt like a celebrity as I was escorted out of the school by 13 of them from my last class. They were shouting questions at me. It was hilarious - especially the one child who had appointed himself my "security". He kept putting his arms out to give me space and telling his classmates "one at a time, one at a time." When he left me in the office, he said, "Man, I felt like I was guarding the President." Too cute!

I had a ten year old ask me for my Facebook page so she could friend me.

David: I know Chihuahuas have to be spayed because they shouldn't be having the babies. They're too small and can die.
Blanca: What? Unh-Uh.
Me: Yes, he's right. They can require c-sections and don't get them because their owners don't know. They can die in labor.
David: What's up, Blanca? That's right, I know stuff! Don't be doubting my knowledge.

Teaching 2nd Grade Kindness, we were talking about why you can't give your dogs cooked bone to eat.
Very Concerned Little Girl: Miss Jennifer, I need to use your cell phone!
Me: Um, why?
Girl: I have to call my dad and tell him. He was grilling chickens today and he'll give the dogs the bone!
Me: He's grilling them right now?
Girl: No, when he gets off work.
Me: So you can tell him as soon as you get home.
Boy: Why is your dad so mean?
Me: He isn't mean. He's doing it because he loves his dogs.
Girl: He loves the dogs so much, it's ridiculous.
Me: Does your mom say that?
Girl: Yeah, she yelled that at him last night when they got in a fight.

I'm still laughing just typing that.


I'll be NaNoing, though I'm behind on my word count. I have two hikes planned and even a little Christmas shopping. Though, honestly, we just bought a new TV and I'd really like to spend the weekend on the couch watching HD movies and television on that big screen!

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, November 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) Vintage Pit Bull Pictures and Signs - I'm getting ready to redo our den and I've decided that I want the walls to be decorated in full old pictures and signs from when our dog breed was beloved by America. I've been perusing eBay and getting outbid so I'm going to have to step up my game. When my grandpa passed, there were boxes and boxes of pictures to go through. I had set aside the pictures of him as a young boy on the farm with his American Pit Bull Terriers. I have misplaced it and am trying not to be devastated. That envelope is somewhere. It will turn up (do we want to take bets on it turning up after I've complete the decoration??). Not to panic (much). For now, it's bidding on eBay.

2) Christmas Decorations - Yes, it's almost that time. Since we'll be away for Thanksgiving, I want to get them up before we leave. The great thing about my Lily...well, there are so many great things about her - she's fabulous!...she doesn't mess with Christmas decorations! Now, Wednesday, on the other hand, will get into everything. I have to be careful what I put out because of the cat. But my dog who is tall enough to counter surf? She's a peach. She won't touch anything. I'll be wrapping my picture frames and making the place sparkle and shine this weekend!

3) Healing - I have two friends that are hurting over the loss of their pets this past week. I know that famous people usually die in threes, but this week I had three people I know lose pets (my brother as well as my two friends). Not something I ever want repeated. I wish healing for them. I wish that the good memories will help ease the tears. Anyone who has lost a pet knows how devastating it can be. Even when you think you are prepared, you're not. Each one takes a different piece with you. And let's add Understanding for my nephew who isn't grasping the loss of his dog yet. They tried to take him to the shelter to look for a new addition but Corkey didn't like other dogs and he broke down in the parking lot so, so worried that Corkey would be mad if she came back to another dog at their house. Too soon, too soon. He's been talking about her every day so she's on his mind a lot. His little heart is hurting and not really grasping. So healing for my friends, my brother and my precious nephew as well as understanding for him. That's it okay to let go, okay to love another dog. In time. It doesn't have to be granted this week, this month or even this year.


What about you - what are your wishes for our magical cat?

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo Fun

I love NaNo. It's the one time of year that I really let myself go where my writing is concerned. I have a loose outline and jump in. The freedom is frightening for me, but amazing at the same. While I have a general idea of where my story is going, I uncover new things all the time. Two days in, I discovered that my character isn't just a Gate Keeper. She's a Shadow Dancer. She can manipulate the shadows - making them do all sorts of cool things, even fight for her. This trait had been thought to be dead for hundreds of years. It showed up again in her. Yesterday, I found out that she can't wander the halls of the castle at night. In fact, she has to lock her door from the inside. We're talking 20 different locks of various shapes and sizes. Frightening things wander the corridors when the sun goes down. I wonder what they are?

Neither of these things were planned. Both just came out in the writing. You want a great playlist? I've been rocking Michelle Hodkin's for the past three days. I love other writer's playlists because I haven't heard of half the songs (usually) and even when I have, I never thought to add them to my own playlist. It's nice to get out of your usual music rut sometimes. If you haven't read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, you are missing out. It's beyond amazing. I'm hoping her playlist can play a little good luck into my NaNo.

Some of the things that aren't writerly that I look forward to:

The coffee - I always buy at least ten different flavors and it's fun for my tongue!

The candles - I just bought two new soy ones that are working out really well!

Pretty Little Liars - I reward myself for hitting my word count with episodes because I missed Season Two entirely.

Books - It's a GREAT excuse to buy a ton of books. I don't have time to read until the end of the day so I fall into bed with one.


The bad part about reading at the end of the day. I didn't get much sleep last night because of this:
Holy cow. If you haven't read Enclave, pick up a copy. I had to force myself to put it down at 2am this morning. Force. I'm a bit tired today. I just love when I find a book that can keep me up at night. Hunger Games did that (and I was warned not to open it late at night). The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer did that (again, warned not to open it late at night). I can't wait to crawl in with Enclave tonight!

What about you - any good books keeping you up at night? Are you NaNoing? How is it going?

Friday, November 11, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF!!!

Let's start this Friday off with some laughs!


This is so hilarious and so sick at the same time. Jimmy Kimmel issued a challenge - tell your kids you ate ALL their Halloween candy and record their reaction. The last two kids are my favorite.


And while we're on Jimmy Kimmel clips, I don't know how I missed this one. Ron Artest is my new hero - not just because he makes it through this with his sense of humor still intact but because of what is mentioned at the very beginning of the clip (how much he raised and who he raised it for).


This likely won't be funny to anyone who isn't an NFL fan who hates the Raiders. It had me cracking up.


And because I haven't been able to get this song out of my head for a week...

I want you all to have it in yours too.

Sing it with me...
Soft Kitty
Warm Kitty
Little Ball of Fur

Happy Kitty
Sleepy Kitty
Purr purr purrrr


KID FUNNIES:
This is our first presentation board for Dog Bite Prevention. We use the big dog as our "safe" dog to teach the kids that size and breed don't matter. We need to see a leash, a collar and a GROWN UP owner before we can go up to the dog. If they are missing any of those things, we don't go up to them. (We also teach them that they can't go running right up to the dog. They have to ask the owner first, then say hello to the dog before petting).

So in one of my Kinder classes this week, this was the exchange:

Little Girl: Is that YOUR dog?
Me: Yes, that's my dog.
Little Girl: Is it a boy or a girl?
Me: It's a girl.
Little Girl: What's her name?
Me: Lily.
Little Girl: Oh. And is that your (sing songy little voice) boooooyfriend?
Me: No. That's my (sing songy voice) huuuuusband.

She looked really disappointed that we were married.


My brother had to say goodbye to their family dog Corkey this week. Corkey has been VERY patient with my five-year-old nephew. Very. Patient. She was already 11 when Dillon came along. She put up with lots of poking, pulling, grabbing, fast moving unsteady on the feet toddlerness. She nipped him a few times, but she was well within her rights and to my brother's credit, he never blamed the dog because it wasn't her fault. To my nephew's credit, this was still his dog and he loved her very much. Since he is only five, having Dillon in the room when Corkey left them was not an option. They elected to do it during the day while he was at school. (I promise this will get funny again in a second)

Saying goodbye to the family pet is always hard and heart breaking. Explaining it to a young child doesn't always work. We tried to go with the "Corkey went to Heaven" though I'm not sure why when they don't go to Church?? But that was the start of it. My brother tried really hard but made a complete mess of things.

Drew: God came down and took Corkey.
Dillon: No, He didn't. I didn't see Him.

Makes sense to me - Dillon didn't see God, so He couldn't have been there.

Drew: He did. He took Corkey and she's not in pain anymore. She's in Heaven.
Dillon: Dogs don't go there.
Drew: They don't?
Dillon: Nope.
Drew: Where do they go?
Dillon: Down there. (he points at the carpet)
Drew: Wait - what? No. No, they don't.
Dillon: Uh hunh. They go down there.
Drew: No. They go UP there.
Dillon: Down.
Drew: UP.
Dillon: DOWN!
Me: Dillon, don't you remember the movie - All Dogs Go to Heaven. (He nods his head) It's like that.
Dillon: Oooooooooh.

Then he runs off to play.

Drew: (to me) That was a good save there, Jenn. Whew. I was losing it.

Dillon did come out a few times that evening with "Corkey" sightings. I told my brother it would really be trippy if he was seeing her.


Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Any big plans??


Soft kitty...(go on, sing it! You know you want to!!)

Wednesday, November 9, 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) Sick Kitty - One of the unfortunate parts of my job is the animals that I tend to come into contact with. The communities that I tend to teach in have a high rate of stray animals. I'm not a person who can see suffering and let it be. Today, I came out of school to a cat that was near death. So very, very sad. I will spare you the picture, but the poor thing was suffering terribly. I carry dog collars, dog leashes and dog treats with me because stray dogs are a daily occurrence. You can bet that I'll be carrying a cat carrier from now on (and I'm not really sure why this never occurred to me in the first place). Anyway, tomorrow is my day off, but I'll be driving back to the neighborhood with a carrier. I'm hoping the poor dear made it through the night. I was able to talk a neighbor into making her a bed with blankets so we'll see. My wish is that I am able to get this kitty tomorrow. I want to end her suffering. I haven't been able to get her out of my head all day and I feel like such a terrible person for having to leave her. Horrible, rotten human. That's me. Hopefully, I can reverse that tomorrow and help her to go out with love. She needs her final contact with humans to be positive.

2) Travel - The hubster and I plan to do a lot of traveling next year. We've decided to take a bunch of small trips (one a month) to various places. See friends, have fun, just live life! So I've been caching trips here and there and have the first few months down. I know there are really cool places that I'm completely forgetting about. I have Whistler, Utah (hiking Zion!), Florida (Harry Potter!), Toronto (Jenny!) and a few smaller places to see other friends...Any suggestions for nice three to four day trips? We're actually thinking of ending the year in New York with a 5K in Central Park to ring in the New Year. Pretty wild! We love to be active so any place with hiking is a bonus for us! I've found some excellent deals so far and I want the deals to continue.

3) Candles - Please don't laugh. It's a bad obsession. People rocked my birthday last year and I've made it through the past 10 months without purchasing a single candle. I know - I couldn't believe it either. But I'm running dangerously low. Down to my last two. Gasp! I need more, but I haven't found scents that are working for my NaNo project. I'm visiting The Mom so I'm hoping I can find some at a little candle shop by her. Is it weird that I'm only asking for candles for Christmas and my birthday? I don't need anything else. Really! I'm a lucky girl. Candles and coffee and I'm set!

What about you - what are your wishes for our magical cat?

Friday, November 4, 2011

FUN Friday

(Lily in her Halloween costume)
TGIF! It's the first Friday in a loooong time that I've felt like almost normal. Close enough to celebrate Friday!

Let's start off with some laughs, shall we? I love Kathleen Madigan!


I really can't wait for this. I hope it's as good as it looks. It concerns me that there isn't a release date yet, though. That never bodes well.


This is a parody of my favorite commercial. Very effectively done.

I'm on a horse!

I'll be NaNoing most of the weekend, but still making time for some FUN! Well, as much fun as one can have without relapsing.

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, November 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) NaNo Success - Here's to wishing all my NaNoing friends success this month! My goal is 2,000 words a day. It's a struggle to focus at the moment, but as I start to feel better I'm sure that will change! I started NaNo sick last year too. It's becoming a trend. Hopefully, I can buck that trend next year!

2) Steam It - I love steam mops. LOVE. I'm always looking at new ones. They steam my floors without chemicals and they're quick and easy! I've got my eyes on this Oreck at the moment. It's perfect for my little anal retentive cleaning heart. It will reach the ceilings. It can steam the walls. It will do the shower (where I'm still using chemicals and it would be lovely to eliminate them). I really, really want it. I just don't want to spend $179.99 on it. No matter how many payments they give me. Maybe Santa will bring it to me. Or the price will drop. I want it!

3) Exercise - This pneumonia is rough stuff. I haven't worked out in over three weeks and I'm a girl who loves her exercise. I'm dying to run at the track or do an hour of kickboxing. At the moment, I'm only able to do slow, ambling walks with Lily. I want to be able to exercise again. Hardcore exercise. My body needs it. My mind needs it. So please can I start amping it up?


What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?

Bear with me - between the illness and NaNo, I'm struggling to catch up with everyone's blog! If I haven't been by yet, I'm getting there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pneumonia

I'm in bed with double pneumonia - that's just fancy speak for both lungs. I'll be out all week and I apologize. Wednesday will be busy granting all my wishes (soup, please!) and I'm not sure how FUN I will feel on Friday. Hopefully, I'll be better by next week, though!

Hope everyone has a great week (or at least a better one than mine has shaped up to be)!

Friday, October 14, 2011

FLASHBACK Friday

How groovy were our drill team outfits? I love the superhero belts. You should have seen the hats. Maybe next time.

High school poetry - was there anything like it? My friend Jes shared a piece of one of her poems, though recently written on her blog this week and inspired me to dig some of mine out.



NATURE'S WONDER
Blanketed by gray
the tree stands proud,
branches jut out
like a defiant chin.
Blossoms,
white as doves,
challenge the gloomy atmosphere.
This creation watches
while clouds kidnap the sun,
and hungrily devour the blue.
It drinks in drops
of rain
like dry, cracked ground
in a desert.
The tree
dances with the wind
gyrating left then right,
politely bowing to its partner
when the day escapes.


I actually won the senior poetry competition with that one. I wrote it on a Saturday morning in an overcrowded English Comp room under the watchful eyes of my two favorite teachers.

And just because it's fun, I'm going to share a few childhood photos with you. I come by creativity honestly - though my Mom's takes an entirely different form. When we were little, she made ALL of our clothes. She could work magic with fabric. Check it out!


That's my Mom (holding me) and my aunt. Can you believe how young she looks? She's 22. And she made her own dress.










My dad is STILL a horrible dresser (So my stepmom dresses him). Looking at this picture, my Mom really should have been doing that. I love this picture, though, because it is vintage "Gil".









As you can see, my love for animals went way back. And I'm holding the puppy exactly the way I teach young children NOT to hold it now. Check out the groovy pants Mom made me. So creative!








Easter. That's my baby brother, Drew. I love this picture for three reasons. First, the matching outfits Mom made us. Second, the expression on my face (can you tell I already dipped significantly into the Easter basket??). Third, the expression on Drew's face. It's classic dopey Drew. I say that with all the love a big sister has for her younger brother - the one she wanted to be a sister, the one who let her dress him up as a girl and played tea parties. And if you could see Drew today, you'd be shocked that I got a dress on him when he was four.



What about you - did you inherit your creativity? Do you have fun flashback poetry?


Have a GREAT weekend!!

Wednesday, October 12, 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) Health - I caught a cold. Germie little kids breathing on me! The frustrating part of this is that I have not been able to exercise! I'm really missing it. I can't wait to get back to the track and run, run, run. Isn't that funny? Never in my life did I think that I would love to run, but I do. I miss my kickboxing as well. A nice hike with the Lilster would be great if the weather would cooperate. And, of course, it's never fun coughing your head off. Blech. So, to good health! Like NOW! Or at least by Sunday for my nephew's memorial race (Jason's Race).

2) Magic Closet - I would love to stand in front of my closed closet doors each morning, announce how I'm feeling and open it to the PERFECT outfit. So I could "Sassy!" and there it would be - shoes and accessories included! On days when I don't feel as great, I could still look incredible! Since it's a magic closet that includes shoes and accessories, it needs to also present me with the perfect make-up palette to match it. The time that I save having to put together an outfit could actually go into putting on my face. I'll trade one for the other. I'm okay with that! So, Magic Closet please!

3) Spontaneous Rain Storm - It's supposed to be 98 degrees here today. 98 degrees. In OCTOBER. I want rain, Wednesday. Storm clouds. Cool breezes. And rain. I want to throw open those windows and hear the thunder boom, watch the lightning flash, smell the rain on the pavement. Forget 98 degrees. Forget the sun. Give me RAIN and cold instead! Then, I'll curl up with my laptop, a cup of vanilla caramel coffee and a candle to write the morning and afternoon away.

What about you - what are your wishes for our magical cat?

Friday, October 7, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have some fun!

This is one of my all time favorite commericals


Even better? I discovered this little gem - The Making Of. More adorableness.


Not everyone likes Louis CK. I love him.


And you know I have to share at least one adorable animal video with you




KID FUNNIES:

In 2nd Grade Kindness, a little boy drew the milk carton and we were going over whether or not milk is kind for cats. When I said, "Cow's milk is really bad for a cat's tummy," he got all excited and shouted,

"And cat's milk is really, really bad for our tummies!"

But my favorite was a 1st grader who had wanted to tell me about his dog the entire presentation...when he finally got the chance at the end of the presentation, this is what transpired:
Michael: Miss Jennifer, did you know that I have a dog named Oliver?
Me: No, I didn't.
Michael: I do. And we got him at the animal shelter. I love him very much because he eats really, really fast and he likes to chase me when I have a Pop Tart.

I love the randomness that is young children!


I'm spending the day tomorrow cleaning in preparation for Game Night tomorrow night! And Sunday, of course, is all about the football.

What about you - any big plans this weekend?

Wednesday, October 5, 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) Anniversary Trip - Our five year anniversary is coming up next April. I really want to go somewhere special for a week. International. Like Prague. Or New Zealand. I just can't decide whether I want a week in New Zealand or a week traveling through Switzerland, Austria, and ending in Prague. Oh, and once I decide, I don't even know how to start to planning. But I want to start now. I'm a list girl. I'm a plotter. I like itineraries. And I like them far in advance. Also, I need to do this without the hubster knowing about it because I want it to be a surprise. I'd really like to wake up tomorrow and just have the whole itinerary be under my pillow - really is that too much to ask? Oooooh, but Whistler! That would be a nice trip. No, I'm going to shut my brain off or I'll end up with way too many choices. So, itinerary under the pillow tomorrow morning. With a donut. No, pillow donuts are gross. Just the itinerary, please. With some relaxing time in there as well. I don't want it to be go, go, go, GOOOOO. I'd like some sleeping in.

2) Pantry - I spent half a day organizing the pantry. It's a DREAM. Every can and box is in a specific place. It is organized alphabetically (don't judge me!). I can't tell you how much fun it was to cook the past few nights because I knew where EVERYTHING was. It was beyond awesome. Well beyond. There isn't a word in the English language to describe it. My wish is that it STAYS this way. I have warned the hubster that he better not mess up the system. I'm hoping he takes me seriously. If he doesn't, I think I'll make him cook dinner from scratch and I'll find a recipe using a ton of ingredients that he will have to dig through the mess he will have created to find. Or is that too harsh? Here's to hoping Wednesday can give me my wish and keep it that way!

3) Magic Pillow - The itinerary comment above gave me an idea! How cool would a magic pillow be? Anything you dreamed would be under it in the morning! Sure, a dragon might put a crick in your neck...and that dashing knight might make for an awkward wake-up with the hubster...okay, within reason. Let's say a magic pillow within reason. Dream about your best seller - and there it is! Dream about money - there it is! Whatever is on your mind, that pillow can deliver. AND it gives you the best night sleep ever, corrects your alignment (neck and spine!), cures headaches and hangovers (for the drinkers). Oooh, it's sounding better all the time! PLUS, perfectly coiffed hair every time whether you just lay down for a nap or the entire night.

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?


P.S. - I knew I was forgetting something! Angela Felsted is having a really cool contest! Click here for details. She has a poetry book coming out in January. You have to check out the video she put together. It's wonderful!

Friday, September 30, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF - Let's have some fun!!!

I have to admit that I watch Toddlers & Tiaras. Partly because it freaks me out that anyone would dress their daughter up to the extent that most of them do - fake tans, fake teeth, etc. And their behavior! Oh my goodness, if my niece spoke to my sister-in-law the way these kids do, she wouldn't be allowed out of the house until high school graduation!




This probably isn't going to be funny if you don't love football or watch Inside the NFL, but I rewound this three times because I couldn't stop laughing. These guys love to rib each other. Phil Simms had a horrible week and they really let him have it. I loved the Family Feud buzzer when they replayed his picks. And that picture of Big Daddy has to be at least a decade old. I don't think he's been that thin since he came out of college...



I am REALLY excited to see this on Saturday. I heart Joseph Campbell something fierce.


Have you woken up and become the hero of your own life?

I'm following my bliss this weekend - hiking and Venice (henna tattoos and rollerblading and lovely weirdness - oh my!) and rewriting.

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, September 28, 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) Weather Button - Or even a magical hat that controls the weather wherever I am! That's it...the HAT instead. It won't do me any good to have a weather button in this house if I have to teach a half hour away. We have perfect weather this weekend - overcast in the mornings so we could hike Lily and then it burned off for about 77 degree afternoons. Just gorgeous. Today, it's 94 degrees. Too hot to walk her. Too hot when I have to roll my cart across the campus to get from one classroom to another. I had two upstairs with no elevator. That was fun! My last class had no air conditioning (the unit broke weeks ago and they're going to try to go without fixing until they absolutely have to next year sometime). Fun times. I can't imagine how hard it is for a room full of sweaty 5th graders to pay attention, but they managed to. They were even excited about the game. But how nice it would have been to roll in with my magical hat and take that classroom down 20 degrees for all of us! See, it's not just a selfish wish. I'd be helping out everyone with my magical weather hat!

2) Hiking Partner - I'm visiting my mom and I would love to do a morning hike tomorrow! However, the area that I want to hike is not safe to go alone (mountain lion - yikes!). I put out a last minute plea on Facebook and would love to have someone join me so fingers crossed one of my friends comes through!

3) A home for Bug - He and his brother (dog) and cat siblings found themselves without a home after their mom died suddenly and unexpectedly last week. He's a very well behaved one year old male dog who is confused by this sudden turn of events. It always kills me when dogs and cats end up at the shelter through the death of their caregiver. So many people write off shelter dogs as someone else's problems when they're really there through no fault of their own - bad owners who didn't make a lifetime commitment, owners who didn't secure their yards (dogs don't always find their way home, you know) or death of their caregiver. Very, very sad. I'm wishing really hard for Bug and his four legged siblings. They aren't looking for homes together - they'd be happy to go their different ways as long as they got homes. So my hardest wish this week is for them.




What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have Stephen Colbert take us into the weekend, shall we?


You know how much I love animals. This was too cute to pass up.



I don't know what my favorite part is - the running to the safety of the bed, the head tilt as she listens(almost as though she's thinking 'did they just say...no...maybe...I think they did!') or the full on head back all out howl along with them.

We did a Worst Movies Blogfest on Monday hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. This is the trailer from one of my top ten FAVORITE movies. All cheese.

If you haven't seen it - you've got to rent it. Seriously. You primitives can thank me later.


I have to end with Mitch. Warning: Language people. Mitch liked F word as much as I do (sorry, Mom).


KID STORY:
2nd Grade Kindness - When I called little Gemma up, she thrust her hand into the grab bag and came out with the empty milk carton.
Me: What is it?
Gemma: (giggles) Milk.
Me: Kind or Unkind?
Class: KIND!
Me: Actually, it's unkind. I know a lot of tv shows and movies show people giving milk to cats but it's not the best thing for them. Milk can upset a cat's tummy. When they're kittens, where does their milk come from?
Gemma: Their mom.
Me: Where does our milk in the store come from?
Gemma: The cow.

Apparently, there's only one out there supplying all the milk. That must be a very tired cow!

Lily Story:
I was walking Lily tonight and two boys were standing out in their front yard. One looked to be about five and the other a few years older. The five year old leaned in to the other boy and whispered really loudly, "I hope this dog doesn't bite because I think I might want to pet it." How cute is that. And she didn't bite. But she did slobber a bit.

And my bestie Mel bought Lily a Halloween costume today.
We put it on her tonight. She's such a goofball! But I think she makes a pretty cute Bumblebee!






Any big weekend plans? Whatever you do, I hope you all have a FABULOUS weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 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) An Organized Pantry - I've always been overly cautious growing up in earthquake country. As I get older, I realize the need to be prepared. When San Diego had that massive power outage that stretched into Orange County, over to Arizona and down to Baja California, I went a bit overboard. I decided that I wasn't stocked up ENOUGH. I admit that writing an apocalyptic novel as well as reading Life As We Knew It haven't helped matters. It doesn't take much money to stock up those cupboards, though. And it's practical because we're vegetarians so I use beans in a lot of dishes. All the food will be used whether a disaster hits or not. But it's a mess right now. It was already well stocked. After that final trip to the grocery store, beans, vegetables and fruits ended up three levels high. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It took me a good fifteen minutes to get a can of corn out for my Summer Succotash last night. I need to get in there and organize it, but who has the time? I want to open it tonight and just have it be beautifully organized. Or at least get another GroupOn offer for a "special" on organizing so I can pay someone a small sum to do it.


2) I have a new obsession - the Big Gulp. Soooo bad for me. I like the Diet Dr. Pepper with just a shot of Vanilla and Cherry in it. It's like energy in a cup. I know that it's bad for me. I can almost feel myself getting cancer with every sip. But I can't stop. Gone is the Green Tea obsession, replaced with this much less healthy obsession. I have to drive five miles to get it, though. It's hard to justify the waste of gas. If I had my own Big Gulp machine, though...or just a neverending Big Gulp cup that refilled exactly when I wanted it to. I promise I'd be good and only have one three days a week.


3) My mom - She's getting older, but she's not THAT old. However, she's got arthritis in her lower back. In typical mom fashion, she refuses to let it slow her down so she's continuing her daily walks and trips to the gym. By the evening, she is in so much pain that she can't move. I know the arthritis isn't going to go away. That's not even a wish our magical Wednesday can grant. But perhaps she can give Mom a little help with slowing down and listening to her body rather than fighting against it. I don't like seeing her in pain. I can't imagine how frustrating it is after living an active life to be limited by your own body. I just want her to be able to take it easy so she's not in so much pain that her pain medication won't even take the edge off. She's refusing the Vicodin the doctor prescribed because it makes her feel funny and gives her a headache the next morning. Over the counters aren't really dulling the pain at this point because she's being TOO ACTIVE. So, Wednesday, get her to slow down a bit. She's earned it!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Alex is having another one of his fantastically awesome blogfests.



Here, in no particular order, are ten of the worst movies that I have ever seen (and this was much harder to narrow down that I would have thought!):

1) Titanic - That's right, I said it! If she had gotten in the boat with her mother, he would have had the door to himself. SHE killed him. That's not romantic. It's sad.

2) Showgirls - I don't what is the worst part of this film: the cheesy dialogue or the over the top acting.

3) Battlefield Earth - Bad script, bad acting, bad idea.

4) Dances with Wolves - I know that I'm going to take a lot of crap for this. I'm NOT a Costner fan. He phoned this one in completely. I fell asleep in the theater. Because I thought it was ME, I tried it again on video...twice. Fell asleep both times. I actually use it on nights when my insomnia is particularly severe. His droning voice has me out in no time.

5) Howard the Duck - It's a duck. Who smokes. And the song is incredibly annoying! This might not have made my list, but I spent a summer as a nanny and I had to watch this every. single. day. It was enough to drive me mad. The 4 year old could not get enough of that man in a duck suit.

6) Congo - Bruce Campbell was the best part of this movie. He was the only good part of the movie. I know movie adaptations are expected to be bad, but this one went above and beyond. Maybe because the book was so incredible (in my opinion), we expected the movie to be the same? Or at least decent. It fell far, far short.

7) Lady in the Water - I think when you set the bar as high as he did with The Sixth Sense, it's natural to fall a little short. A little. This one didn't seem to leave the ground. It tripped and face planted. Slow and boring. When I saw it, I wasn't surprised Disney passed.

8) Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightning Thief - Such a disappointment. I really don't understand why you would take a best selling book and stray so far from it? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? This was a great book. They even messed up the next movie in the series with their twisting of the story. I'm sure that's why it's not even slated for production until next year sometime. They probably had a heck of a time figuring out how to fix it...

9) Cowboys vs. Aliens - This movie had so much potential. I wanted so badly for it to reach that potential. What an amazing cast! It actually was a very good western until the aliens came in at the end. It was such a waste of talent.

10) Freddie Got Fingered - I have to admit that I didn't do much research on this movie before I took my ex-fiance's ten year old son to see it. Have you seen it? Imagine watching the elephant scene with a ten year old seated next to you. Yes, this whole experience taught me that you never, ever, ever let the ten year old pick the movie AT the box office without having watched a trailer and checked the rating on the movie first. This is probably the worst movie I have ever seen in my life.

Be sure to check out all the other entries over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

What about you - what are some of the worst movies you've ever seen?

Friday, September 16, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! I hope everyone had a wonderful week - and if you didn't, the weekend is here so let's laugh a little to help get us over the week.

I had a very close relationship with my grandparents. I still miss them over a decade after my grandma's death and five years since my grandpa passed. This video reminded me of them. This couple doesn't look like them, but sure acts like them!



For all of the Moms out there who write - and drive!



And a little Mitch - Mitch makes everything better!





DILLON STORIES:

I promised you nephew stories! He's just too cute for words. So we're playing Mario Kart (which is nowhere near as easy as he makes it look, btw) and I end up in last place.

Me: I REALLY suck at this game.
Dillon: Aunt Jenn, you can't say that! (whispers) It's a bad word.
Me: But you have to admit, I'm really, really bad.
Dillon: It's just a GAME, Aunt Jenn.

After four more tracks, I still wasn't any better.

Me: I can't do this! How can you do this?
Dillon: (shrugs) You just stay on the road.

Ahhhhhh, now I get it. Because I was driving off into space, lava and cactus on purpose.


Have I mentioned that my nephew is super dramatic? He comes by it honestly - his dad was an actor.

He wanted juice with his lunch but my mom just got new carpet. It's white. Yes, a grandma got WHITE carpet. I couldn't let him have his juice with the lid off. I was super paranoid that he was going to spill it all over. So I would twist the lid off, hand it to him (while keeping my hand under the bottle as though I'd be able to catch every ounce of dark red juice that spills) and promptly take it back after a sip.

This worked a total of two times. Then he wouldn't give it back.

Dillon: I need the lid off.
Me: Dillon, no. You might spill it and we'll be busted.
Dillon: I won't spill. I promise! I need the lid off.
Me: Aunt Jenn says no.

Aunt Jenn manages to get the juice bottle back.

Dillon (throws his 5 year old hands up in the air): That's IT! I give up! I'm going home. ("Home" is twenty miles away)

He stomped out the door.

I laughed until I cried.

He got to drink his juice with the lid off.

He spilled it.

I cleaned it up.

Mom doesn't know. :-)

Shhhhhh, don't tell her.

Thank the gods for Stainguard.


KID FUNNIES:

When I have a break in between classes, it's not always worth it to go all the way to the teacher's lounge. The school that I was at last week was like a maximum security prison (elementary school even). I had to get buzzed through two checkpoints just to get in and then a third to get to the second level of the school. I was sitting in the hallway on a break with my cart next to me (all my presentation supplies are in it) and a little girl comes running by. She stops, backs up and scrunches up her cute little face to say, "You no have a home?"

She was really concerned so I couldn't laugh at the whole absurdity of the question - as if a homeless person was going to go through the trouble (or even be able to get through them) of checkpoints just to sit in the hallway and read.



Kinder:
We do Dog Safety with the young kids three years in a row (Pre-K, Kinder and 1st) to really drive home when it's okay to touch a dog and when it's not okay whether the dog is their own or someone else's. Sometimes I get the same kids two or three years in a row. Apparently, this little boy had me last year because he did my entire presentation right along with me!

Me: Cooper has a favorite toy. Do you want to see it?
Class: YES!
I pull out his toy.
Class: It's a banana!
Boy: But it's not just ANY banana - it's his squeaky banana! He could play with it all day long! It gives her a headache!

He had it down to the inflection in my voice. It was funny and creepy all at the same time. It's amazing enough to remember the presentation word for word, but to get my tone of voice down? Wow!


We have company coming into town this weekend. My cousin's son is giving up his job at the L.A. Times to join the Army. So Tim and Trish are coming down to pack him up. He gets two months at home with the family before reporting for boot camp. A courageous decision that he feels very led to do. We'll be enjoying some family time. And, of course, CHARGERS football on Sunday!

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, September 14, 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) Book Suggestions - I just finished another stack. Oh how I love to read! I'm getting seriously low. Only four books left on my TBR pile! Those will be devoured by next week so I need more suggestions! What are you reading? Share with me! YA, Dystopian, Adult - I will read anything!!

2) A Transporter - One that takes me from home right into whatever classroom I am teaching in. I could get an extra half hour of sleep in the morning or a half hour of writing or cleaning or...you get the picture. Plus, I don't get aggro sitting in the lovely Los Angeles traffic. Maybe aggro is the wrong word. Stressed. That's the more accurate word. I don't get mad, I worry that I won't make it to the school in time. What if I get there with only a minute to spare and I can't find a parking space? What if I get there half an hour late? A transporter would make my life just about perfect! I'd even promise to use it only for work. No abusing the privilege.

3) Dillon - My poor nephew is having a hard time adjusting to school. He's been in trouble almost every day since he started. He can't keep his hands to himself in line, he can't focus on the teacher because he's busy picking at the carpet, he came out of the bathroom with his pants unbutton (thanks to his mom who sent him in the one pair of pants he can't button on his own). He's used to being the darling of his pre-school where he was much loved because everyone had watched him grow from a 4 pound premie to a healthy little boy. He's a trickster and loves to be the class clown. His teacher this year is very serious. Their personalities are not a good match and it seems this will be a loooooong school year for both of them. So my wish is that Dillon can make it through school tomorrow without getting reprimanded. No timeouts. One day at a time so I'm starting with tomorrow. I want him to love school as much as I did, not look forward to school because he gets to play with his friends at recess and lunch!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday our magical cat?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tributes

While I enjoyed my football today, the events of 2001 were never far from my mind. At the stadium, I bawled like a baby. My sunglasses hid it. There weren't any dry eyes so there was no shame. Even the football players shed tears. They helped the PD and FD unfurl our flag. We watched flyovers by our military and got to see an eagle in flight. It was all very, very touching. And it felt so...American. We were chanting U-S-A all the way up to the kickoff.

Back at my brother's after the win, we watched the Jets game. There were a few commercials that got us all teared up again. I wanted to share them with my blog peeps. They're too special to miss.

Here are some of my favorite commercial tributes:

Budweiser aired this originally during SuperBowl XXXVI as a tribute, but they didn't want to profit from the tragedy so they pulled it after that. They did a remake that they aired today and it teared me up every time I watched it.



This one was beautiful and amazing. You'll need tissue, I think.



I have been known to like movies that no one else finds much value in. 13th Warrior is one of those films. Though the plot has holes you could drive a semi through, it's still up there on my list because it features what I see as the epitome of true heroism - the Vikings knew what they were up against and knew that death most likely awaited them. They didn't meet it willing, but they didn't run from it either. They knew what had to be done and they did it.

I think this truly fits the NYPD and NYFD that day. One of the documentaries showed a large group of them in the lobby waiting to go up into the Towers that morning. There were thuds and the thuds were jumpers. I vividly remember one of the men saying, "If they're willing to jump, how bad is it up there?" I saw fear in the eyes of some of those men. Does that make any less brave? No. Being brave is not the absence of fear - it's doing what must be done despite the fear. They didn't HESITATE. They didn't WAVER. They knew it was bad and they still went up. They had a job to do. They were true heroes. They honor this country. Their memories honor this country.

My heart goes out to the families of the fallen.

What about you - how did you spend the ten year anniversary of September 11th? Did you honor the fallen with volunteer work? Did you spend it with friends and family?

Friday, September 9, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have some fun!

I'm not sure how funny this is...since I've done it myself.


Maybe it's all the male enhancement offers I get in my SPAM folder, but I found this commercial hilarious.


Do you ever happen upon a video on YouTube and you're not even sure how you got there? This is one of those. I love it for two reasons: 1) Thriller has always been one of my favorite songs and 2) It's always funny watching white boys try to dance. Although, you have to admit these guys are pretty impressive. It's one of those "I wish we had done this at my reception" things...


No funny kids stories to entertain you with this week, but I'm sure that I'll have plenty of funnies from my nephew as we're visiting him this weekend!

What about you - any big weekend plans?

Wednesday, September 7, 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) The ability to keep white shirts WHITE! Our Paws and Learn shirts are white. I'm not sure where my head was when I ordered them. Our logo looks great on it. It really pops. But I have never in my entire life managed to drink coffee while driving and not get it on my shirt. Ever. The hubster uses the SAME travel mugs that I do and doesn't have an issue. Last week I made him seal the travel mug for me. No dice. As I was packing my cart for the school, I glanced down and had three big spots. I can wear white at home and drink out of an open coffee mug with no consequence. But put me in a car with a sippy cup and forget about it!


2) A Home for Handsome Dave
I see these stories again and again. Someone cut Davy's ears off with scissors. When I take Lily into schools and centers, we talk about how lame ears look when you home crop them. This is a perfect example of that. The dog does not look bad ass. He just looks like an ass. And if you think your dog is an extension of you, how does that make YOU look? Yeah. Not cool. Davy, despite the painful home crop job, still loves people. And other dogs. He aced his temperament tests and the shelter workers have been so impressed with him that he has been used to test all the other dogs. They don't get better than this, folks. Unfortunately, that won't save Davy's life. His time is up and he needs out in the next 24 hours or he will die at the shelter. Not his fault that he had a cruddy owner who dumped him unceremoniously after slicing his ears off. He deserves the BEST home ever. The BEST. And I'm wishing really hard for him.


3) No more ants!. Persistent little buggers, aren't they? I've tried everything recommended online. The ant traps were the first to go. They won't even go in them. Cinnamon? They go around it. The most effective method that I have found is using non-toxic dish washing liquid in a squirt bottle with water. I keep a clean house - and a spotless kitchen, but these little suckers can find crumbs my dog misses. And Lily doesn't miss much at all. Spray the area, wipe it down and they're dead. They track by scent so they don't come back. There. But they'll find something else. For instance, they love the sugar in mouthwash. Yep, crawled right inside of it and died. Which is fine. Threw that out. Sprayed everything down. New mouthwash is inside a ziploc bag. Then they discovered the cough drops...it's just been endless. The cat and dog food is in sealed containers now. We don't free feed Lily so that's not a problem but I've had to place the cat bowls in larger bowls of water. That worked like a charm! I empty them every day...dumping out dead ants. Knock on wood, we've been ant free for TWO days. I'm hoping that I beat them back enough they won't be making another appearance. Here's to my Wednesday Wish for no more of those little creepy suckers!

What about you - what are your wishes for Wednesday?


Friday, September 2, 2011

FUN Friday

TGIF! Let's have some fun heading into the weekend.

Have I posted this one before? I can't remember...


This is for all my friends who own mutts. We've all wondered what exactly is in our dog. Well, the hubster doesn't. He only cares that Lily is a "good dog." It's always fun walking her - "Hey, is that a Weimeraner" (Um, never) "She's one of those blue pits, isn't she?" (Um, waaaaay too big by about 30 pounds) "She's a Lab, what?" (Well, she does have webbed feet so maybe but her ears aren't long enough and she's lazy) "Is she a mastiff?" (Definitely some of that in there) Maybe some day I'll get the test. But I don't know how accurate they are...
Dog DNA - watch more funny videos


This isn't funny. Zombies rarely are. But I am SO excited for Season 2!

Hide under the cars? WHAT? Um, NO.

KID FUNNIES:
Pre-school again this week. I had a four year old say, "Nice tail!" and when I turned around, he had Cooper's tail in his hands. We had just gone over where you can and can't touch a dog you are meeting for the first time, but I was so relieved that he wasn't talking about my tush that I let the teacher go over it with him again.

On Tuesday, a school booked us that 98% Chinese. They spoke Mandarin and I always enjoy listening to my presentation being translated into another language! In my very last class, I had one child named Jordan. His blonde hair and blue eyes stood out from his classmates. When everyone was seated, he became the spokesperson for the class.

"Hi, my name is Jordan and these," he says as he gestures all the way around himself, "are my friends."

"Wow, Jordan. You have a lot of friends."

"I do. They are all really nice. This is Sung. And that's Ying Ying. And this is Jun. And Chueng. Quon. Mei..."

The teacher had to interrupt him or he would have introduced me to all 23 of his classmates. It was so adorable!


I'm spending the weekend deep in rewrites - I have my post-it notes (color coded depending on character, plot, etc.) at the ready and my favorite pen! I'll mix in some great hour long workouts to get the blood flowing and brain pumping along with a lot of caffeine. That's my weekend! Broken up with a fun time on Saturday night with my Crit Girls!

What about you - what are your big weekend plans?