Tuesday, November 29, 2005

November

This morning I accidentally wrote the date as 3/29, and gee, for a moment I basked in the fantasy…if only...if only I could blink and leap ahead past the harsh winter months.

(Okay, you people in the Midwest—so what if it was 48 degrees? It’s not polite to laugh at southern Californians.)

I know daytime highs in the 60’s aren’t mind-numbingly cold. I know nighttime lows in the mid-40's don’t leave icicles hanging off the eaves. And yes, I fully realize Mother Nature could add the quintuple whammy of wind, rain, sleet, hail, and/or snow to make my life really miserable.

I should be thankful for sunshine and cloudless blue skies.

Still…

When November pokes its ugly head around the corner, I wanna make like a bear and hibernate.

The misery starts before I even get out of bed. I can’t leave the heat on overnight or I’ll roast, and the timer thingy doesn’t seem to work. Bottom line: my bedroom’s an igloo. Oh, wait. Bad analogy--igloos are toasty, right? Anyway, sure I could get up and turn on the heat—but then I get fooled into thinking it’s warm outside and end up wearing a summer dress in the middle of December.

Which I do on an alarmingly frequent basis.

I mean, I can’t cover a purple tea-length dress with a red leather jacket that stops mid-thigh, can I? (The answer is, no I cannot. I must wear a full-length coat of say, camel, saving the red leather jacket for the black mini-skirt…which translates, at least for me, into a need to buy tons of outerwear to go with the innerwear.)

Please don’t mention the word layers because the concept is over my head. In fact, if you ask me, layers came out of a super-secret meeting of department store conglomerates way back in the sixties. What am I supposed to do? Wear a tank beneath the blouse that’s beneath the sweater that’s beneath the coat? How do I mix and match the colors and lengths? (I tell you. It’s a corporate conspiracy.)

Don’t get me started on evening clothes during the winter. Well, okay. Go ahead. Get me started. See, I’m going to Vegas for New Years. I’m thinking, hmmm…New Years…Vegas…it’d be a sin not to wear something strappy and sexy in Sin City, right? But I also don’t wanna freeze my (fill-in-the-blank)s off. Nor do I wanna lug around a heavy coat that I’ll have to check every time we switch casinos.

(Ugh. Did I mention I hate Winter??????)

And, no matter what I do or how hard I try…wherever I go, between now and March, if you see a girl shivering like a puppy left out in the storm, say hi. It’s me.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Excu-u-u-u-use Me

When I was nine years old, I wrote my first “book” by typing it on a manual typewriter.

If only I had an electric, I thought. Then, I could really write.

By the time I owned an electric typewriter, IBM “correcting selectrics” were all the rage.

If only I had one of those, I thought. Then, I could really write.

Yada, yada, yada…word processors came into being.

If only I had one of those, I thought. Then, I could really write.

This year I’ve been lamenting the 3’ x 2’ desk on which my state-of-the-art computer sits.

If only I had a proper desk and chair, I thought. Then, I could really write.

I work an 8-hour day job.

If only I could stay home all day. Then, I could really write.

Now that I’ve had three days off in a row, I realize I prefer writing at night.

If only I could write all night………

Hm. I’m running out of excuses.

Friday, November 25, 2005

No, No...Say It Ain't So


I don’t know about you guys, but (other than my life being perfect—hey, that was supposed to be sarcasm—see previous post) the holidays started out with some pretty glum news, didn’t they?

I mean, sure we’d heard all the rumors and yes, the whispers had intensified over the last couple weeks.

But…there’s always hope, isn’t there? Hope that maybe the stories are false…that the claims are merely exaggerated?

Sadly, it appears that once again this is not the case.
Yes, Nick and Jessica have broken up after all. Another beautiful Hollywood marriage down the crapper.

Below, I give you my evidence. If I hadn’t taken this with my cell phone, I’d have been able to point out the spot, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. Casa de Simpson/Lachey is dark and empty on Thanksgiving night.

Meanwhile, the paparazzi at the intersection of Parkway Calabasas and Park Granada wait…and wait…and wait…

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving


How many bloggers do you suppose waxed poetic about the stuff they’re thankful for today? Yanno, all those blessings in life like their kids, their health, their jobs, their homes....


Well, as a public service to my readers, I decided to give you a break from the schmalz, and let you in on what I’m NOT thankful for today.

The grey hair in my eyebrows

That’s it. Otherwise, my life is perfect.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

November 22

I was a 5th grade band geek. Hard to believe, but I was. I played the flute (badly). The best thing about being a band geek was getting to skip class for practice.

On that day in November, when we were finished, I packed up my flute in its velvet-lined case, and trudged back to Miss Stanke’s room. Usually I walked in on a boring lesson about comets or early California history. My fellow classmates, their eyes glazed over (except for Lance—whose eyes were bright and alert, his hand permanently stuck high overhead) would briefly glance toward the door as I entered, then go back to their self-imposed stupor.

Not this day.

Today the natives were restless. Some sat forward in their chairs, others exchanged quizzical looks. Miss Stanke’s cheeks were flushed and she kept blinking rapidly.

As I slid behind my desk, someone whispered that the principal had walked in and murmured something in our teacher’s ear which had prompted her to burst into tears. A visit from the principal was odd enough, but to have made our teacher cry? My heart went out to her as I wondered what had happened. Had her mother died like mine had just two months before?

That afternoon, Miss Stanke escorted the entire class to the library for a research project. By this time, uneasiness had settled in my stomach. Something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was, but a sense of unarticulated fear permeated the school, although I seemed to be alone in noticing it. I couldn’t concentrate. I was a good student, but my mind was elsewhere.

When Miss Stanke asked why I wasn’t looking for research material, I answered that I intended to use the public library over the weekend.

“I don’t think it will be open for awhile,” she cautioned.

My throat went dry as I watched her turn to help another student.

Libraries wouldn’t close just because a relative of Miss Stanke’s had died. It must be something much worse. And then I knew.

We must be going to war with the Russians. With each growing minute, I strained to hear the air raid sirens. Why hadn’t they sent us home already?

Now I thought I might get physically sick. In all my school years, this was the only time I asked to go the nurse’s office. Once there, I wasn’t sure what to do or say. I’m not one to feign illness nor cause a scene, so I ended up going back to class.

A short time later, I boarded the bus for home. In front of me, two girls chatted in what I would describe years later as a manic fashion.


“Did you hear the news?” one asked the other. “President Kennedy is dead!”


This came as a total shock. I didn’t know whether to believe it, and I didn’t understand her glee at all.


Soon enough, I learned the news was true, and with it my fear disappeared. The death of a man so far away, who I only knew from television, couldn’t affect me personally.


I didn’t know then that a lot more than a man had died that day.


A nation’s innocence, for one.


Because, isn’t that when the 60’s went to hell? Here I’d believed in the romantic comedies where women dressed stylishly and life was about love and laughter. Instead I got more assassinations and riots. I’ve always felt gypped by that.


In July of 2004, I visited Dallas and went to see Daley Plaza where the event that changed the world occurred 42 years ago today. Like everyone says, it’s an eerie place and not the parade route you’d expect. Just one quick turn, really. And yet, so close to the building from which Oswald took aim. As I heard Jack Valenti say this morning (he was six cars away at the time) you could have thrown a baseball from that window and hit your target with ease.


I was barely ten at the time it happened…my strongest memories are of Jackie Kennedy’s blood-spattered pink suit and of John-John saluting the casket as it passed.


Other than that, it’s just another one of those moments to measure time by.

You know…like when I ask a guy where he was when he heard the news, and he answers with a blank stare and says, “I wasn’t born yet,” I know to move on.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Things I Should Probably Get Rid Of Or Replace

  • My iron and ironing board--purchased in November of 1974.
  • Magnavox console stereo (with 8-track!) won on a game show in 1978.
  • Blue and white pot (and assorted kitchen utensils) bought to take to college in 1971.
  • IBM PC my company bought circa 1980 which ended up in my garage.
  • Car not driven in two-and-a-half years.
  • Pair of shoes from 1981.
  • The outfit they went with.
  • Blouse from 1973.
  • The bed I’ve slept in since I was five.
  • Kody’s chew toys.
  • Assorted canned goods from….??
  • Half the stuff in my freezer…??

Let’s not discuss the size 6 clothing in my closet.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Links For The Lazy

Click here to read one of those amazing "road to publication" stories (unless you read Miss Snark's blog, in which case you've probably already seen it).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Only A Matter of Time

I thought I’d giggle like a nervous schoolgirl.

This is so embarrassing!

I thought I’d feel like I do when I walk into Target with a $100 bill in my pocket.

I want it all! I want it all!

Turns out, I was wrong on both counts.

What I’m talking about is the seminar I went to on Thursday night. It was...er, it was...that is, it was…oh, hell. A seminar on cosmetic surgery.

There. I said it.

(Draws deep breath)

And, nope. I didn’t sign up for anything. Yet.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

SWF SO SWM

Okay, I confess. I browsed the Yahoo personals last night.

It’s not that I’m dying to have a man in my life—more like I think it would be good for me. Yanno…sort of like ten years ago when I got a puppy ‘cuz I thought I needed to learn about responsibility.

Anyhoo…that’s the idea. So I entered some parameters, specifically: age range, the “woman seeking man part,” and my zip code. (See? Not too picky.)

Voila.

Pages of men just waiting to meet me.

Let’s see how I eliminated them one by one, shall we?

“Fun, Witty Guy Seeks Princess or Queen”: I don’t wanna be on anyone’s pedestal, thankyouverymuch. NEXT.

“A New Start, A New Love, A New Life”: Um, can you spell r-e-b-o-u-n-d?? And, here’s what he wrote: “I am a sales manager for a manufacturer of protective products for people, vehicles and structures (body armor {bullet resistant vests} and armored limo's…”

HUH? Call me a romantic, but “body armor” and “bullet resistant vests” are two phrases I don’t need to see in a personal ad. NEXT.

“Need a Girl to Couch With”: He writes: “i am cool, laidback, spotanyes, like to find a woman who makes alots of bank so i can relax a wile, must be goodlookinf,in shape and set.no more bimbos please.”

Not that I’m marking off for typos or misspellings, but…is this guy serious?? NEXT.

“Retired, Not Dead”: (See above for my recommendation against certain words in personal ads.) This guy writes that he’s now 40 pounds lighter than he was in the picture posted.

Okay, so good that you’re not a fat zombie and all, but could ya make the effort to post the new pic? NEXT.

“Looking for that 1 4 Me”: (Gag, that’s just too cute, isn’t it?). This guy loves sushi, romantic dinners…hey, wait. Sushi comes first?? Out of everything he could love? NEXT.

“Walks on the Beach?”: Not if you look anything like the picture you posted, buddy. Maybe try smiling next time. Or getting rid of that evil-looking moustache and goatee. You look like a serial killer. NEXT.

“Lake Man Looking for Lady of the Lake”: Ah, now we’re talking. This guy’s into boating! Think of how excited my friends Ann and Marty would be! He writes: Well I head for the lake about two weekends a month. (Cool!) I'm very easy going , (Me too!) Love to leave to go on a road trip at the drop of a hat (Just give me 15 minutes to pack!) Love to spend time with my girls (No problem!I respect that!) My favorite thing to do is to go out on the boat (Yep, you said that—I’m ready!) The type of lady I'm looking for is a go with the flow type of person (I am! I am!) Someone that is with me to enjoy are time together (I will! I will!—even if it’s “our,” not “are”!) And loves to be outside camping , (Um, outside?? Camping??) dirt bike riding ( Huh?) , going to the race track (Yes!) auto (Oh), I’m not a gambler (NEXT).

Let’s not even discuss the guy with the scary eyes. I’m sure if the photographer had pulled back, we’d see the upraised knife in his hand.

Okay, so I haven’t mentioned the decent, relatively sane-looking men who knew how to spell relationship and are looking for something more than “a woman to take long walks on the beach and enjoy romantic evenings in front of the fire.”

I told you I was only browsing.

P.S. I may be a writer, but I didn't make any of these guys up.





Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blogs And Dads

Time and Place: Sunday evening, dinner at a Mexican restaurant
Participants: Daddy, Annie, and Me

Conversation:

Daddy: Randy, what’s a blog?

Me: It’s short for weblog.

Daddy: But, what is it?

Me: Um, it’s sort of like an on-line diary. There are political blogs, writing blogs, wine blogs…

Daddy (shaking head): But, what are they for?

Me: Well…writers use them to build a fan base—to keep their fans up-to-date on their upcoming books and stuff.

Daddy: Are they free?

Me (unsuccessful at keeping my mouth shut): Yep. Um, I happen to have one.

Daddy (uncertain smile): You do?

Me: (praying) If you still have that business card I gave you, the address is on it.

Daddy: Really?

Me (quickly doing a mental catalog of over 200 posts): I wasn’t sure you should read it.

Daddy: Does anyone want another margarita?

So, there you have it. Did he go home, dig out the card, and seek out my blog? Probably not. Would I wither and die if he did? Probably not. Outside of a few swear words, I don’t THINK I’ve written much to offend him. But, just to be on the safe side, maybe I’d better read EVERY SINGLE POST again.

Oh, the hell—er, heck—with it. There aren’t many things about my life I haven’t told him. (I’m pretty sure he knows I’ve had sex even though I’ve never been married.) And, I’d love for him to read what I wrote about him on Father’s Day.

On second thought, maybe I’ll paste it into an email.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This Is Progress?

Are we all fooling ourselves? Does anyone really believe the IT age has made commerce run more efficiently? More efficiently for whom, by the way?

If you ask me (which you didn’t but, hey—this is MY blog), it’s all a bunch of hoo-ha. Large corporations should go back to building products and/or providing services.

Period.

See, I deal with aerospace and defense behemoths like Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman (all of whom could be merged into one by the time you read this—you never know.) Anyway, they each have their own super-duper, uber-tech way of dealing with suppliers (me) involving a myriad of org id’s, passwords, password prompts, supplier codes….argh. Oh, and let us not forget that for security purposes, these systems require a change in password practically every time you log on.

Now, I’m no dummy. I’m even a little computer savvy. But when it takes me three weeks to complete the initial registration for a system, I just gotta believe something’s wrong. I’m not talking complicated info here. I mean the first page where you type in stuff like name, address, and phone number. For one particular application, I hit submit and what did I get? A blank screen with the message “invalid data form” in the upper corner. Nothing else…not which field, not what kind of data, nothing.

Well, I tried everything. I tried typing the phone number with a variety of punctuation, then with no punctuation. I tried typing our Federal ID number with and without punctuation. Same with our Duns number.

All returned the same error.

I finally picked up the phone (high tech, I know) and contacted a woman who promised to email me a list of unacceptable words.

Huh?

Like I said, we’re not talking complicated information here. Well, I never got the promised list. Meanwhile, every day, I received automatically generated emails from a buyer trying to place a purchase order and whining about my failure to get registered. I’m trying, I’m trying. Finally, I called again and found someone to walk me through it.

Are you ready for this??

Their system “didn’t like” the word “union” in our street address. THAT’s what tossed me out every time. So, I had to add an ‘s’ to make it happy. Ah, yes. Progress.

So, now that I’ve registered in like a gazillion of these wonderful systems, I actually have to use them. (Remind me again how this is supposed to reduce our workload?)

Take my go-round with Raytheon yesterday. Seems that updating the date field in a column isn’t enough. Every time you make a change, you have to add verbiage as well. Even if the verbiage merely reiterates the numerical data. WTF? Not only that, but check out this system: say, I promise to deliver my widget on 11-15-05. One would assume that’s the date I’d put in the delivery column, no? No. Because it could take A WEEK for them to get said widget properly received ONCE IT HITS THEIR DOCK, so unless I stretch out that date, I’ll get a black mark for being tardy. Strangely enough, I get the impression that we’re all more concerned with making this cute little graph the right color than in actually delivering on time.

Okay….AND ANOTHER THING. A buyer just called and said they can’t purchase directly from us because we have a poor delivery record. Well, guess what? I happen to know that our vendor record contains entries for ANOTHER COMPANY BY THE SAME NAME. Hey, there’s a system for ya, huh? Yeah, Progress.

All I know is that before computers, before fancy “supply chain collaborations,” and before the proliferation of on-line vendor/supplier communication, we got paid (which is all I really care about) in 15 days. Now, we’re lucky if its 45. And, that’s if they haven’t forgotten to log their PO in the system, lost our receiver, or sent payment to the wrong company.

Ah, yes. Progress.

Monday, November 14, 2005

From The "Only In L.A. Files"

An old friend I haven’t seen or talked to in three months just called from the set of SCRUBS to ask how to spell commemorate.

Could be just me, but I found that amusing.

Yes, I'm in high demand for my writing skills.




Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Solution To Writers' Block?

Writers don’t have to dress for success. They can do their thing without having to brush their teeth, wash their hair, or get out of their jammies.

Or so I thought.

I pretty much spent yesterday in the above described condition. Off and on, hour after hour, I plopped myself in front of the computer, trying to make progress on my WIP. I’d write three sentences then delete, delete, delete. I’d write three more, then backspace over them in one fell swoop (what the heck does that phrase mean, anyway?).

By late afternoon I was seriously wondering what had ever given me the impression I could write a complete sentence.

Finally, it was time to go out for the evening, so I dragged myself from the computer and did the shave, shower, and shine routine.

With fifteen minutes to spare, I returned to the computer…and banged out the rest of the scene.

Grrrrr. Does this mean I have to “get ready for work” to put me in the proper mood?

Why can’t I ever be like other writers??

Friday, November 11, 2005

No News

In case anyone’s wondering, I haven’t had any news yet on the requested full I sent to the unnamed publishing house. Nor have I heard on the partial I sent to another house. Shoot, I haven’t even heard anything on the contest whose finalists were supposed to be announced “by the beginning of November.”

As they say, no news is good news, right?

Well….most houses don’t promise a quick turnaround…some even tell ya up front it could be a year before they get back to you. But, I suspect that if your initial query really piques their interest, they put you on the fast track. Or, not. Sigh. Who knows?

Meanwhile, my little fingers should be tapping out a new book with record speed…but for some reason, they’re moving like slugs over the keyboard. Am I looking for validation before I put forth the effort? I dunno. I hope not because the odds of hearing anything favorable on any of the above submissions are so, so, minimal…and yet, sometimes it’s hard to forge ahead when it could all be for nothing.

Take my second manuscript. (Please, ha ha.) I write a pretty good query letter and NO ONE seems to wanna see this orphan. Not that I’ve even begun to saturate the market with submissions but still…to have queried 15 agents and not even get a partial requested…that’s not a good sign. So, did I spend thousands of hours on something no one will ever look at??

Good thing I have a day job, huh?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Probably TMI

Lying isn’t my strong suit. Never has been. Maybe if I’d been more successful with my initial stab at it, I’d have gone forth and flourished, but oh well.

I was about six years old and my father asked if I’d put my shoes away like he’d told me to (of course, I hadn’t). In that instant, I had an epiphany. Why not say I had? What was the harm? Who would it hurt? He’d be satisfied, and I’d avoid a reprimand. No harm, no foul, right? Brilliant, I thought.

Except my father easily discovered my shoes just where I’d left them.

So much for epiphanies.

And because I sucked at lying, I went on to overcompensate with too much honesty. Take today’s post for example.

I am seriously thinking of “having some work done.” In California parlance that means anything from botox injections to bolts in your skull to lift your brow. Ugh. All of it makes me cringe, wince…no, wait. RECOIL. That’s the word. And yet…and yet…I’d do it all if I had the time and money.

God, do I wanna cling to my youth that badly?

In a word: Yep.

God, am I that vain? That shallow?

Yep and Yep.

And, like I said above, painfully honest. Hey, at least I’d have something to blog about.






Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Best Show On TV

Who says the Golden Age of Television went out with Truman? (Not that anyone actually does say that—in fact, I just made it up.) My point is, that I believe some of the best programming EVER can be viewed on commercial TV these days.

Oh, sure. Many of you probably think the reality glut is a sign of Armageddon--I disagree (see March post)--but today, I’m talking about drama. Specifically, LOST. Man, this ain’t your father’s Gilligan’s Island. Just like Grey’s Anatomy ain’t his Medical Center, nor Boston Legal his Perry Mason.

Watching LOST is like having a front row seat to Storytelling 101 at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. (Not that I’d know, not having been a student in their program--gee, are you surprised?--but I imagine they offer something along those lines.) Each scene is so masterfully crafted, each character so organically complex, each flashback so artfully woven into the main story so as so make you believe it IS the story…then, to top things off, the writers fling you a fresh twist just when you think you’ve nailed what’s about to happen.

Even their promos are ingenuous. To wit, this week’s ads promised one of the survivors would be “lost permanently.” Well, about three quarters into the show, a minor character—one we’d barely gotten to know—disappeared, and I have to admit I fell for it. Thought I’d been “had” by misleading commercials. Then, pow. One of the main characters buys the farm with about a minute left to go.

Don't even get me started on how the previews promised a whole NEW direction...

Sigh. Makes the writer in me feel woefully inadequate.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mush For Brains

Yep. That’s the situation today.

Let me back up to Saturday. After zipping down to San Diego for my Uncle’s 80th birthday (which was a blast, by the way) I met friends Marty and Ann at the Ramada Inn-San Marcos. You read that right. The Ramada Inn-San Marcos. See, Harrah’s Rincon was booked, so after much Internet research, well…that’s where we ended up.

That night we drove to Harrah’s and let’s just say I made another of my ongoing contributions to the Native American community. Assuaging my white woman’s guilt and all.

Anyway, blah, blah, blah…we checked into Harrah’s the next day. Writer friend Brooke trekked over from Fallbrook and we had a delightful poolside lunch. Later, I went to my room for a nap, halfway believing I’d spend the rest of the night there. The notion of getting in my jammies, ordering up room service, and hunkering down for an episode of Desperate Housewives was enormously appealing. After all, my plan was to get on the road about 6 a.m. in order to roll into work mid-morning.

I’ll bet you can already guess things didn’t exactly go according to plan, huh?

So, Ann called about 6 just as I (don’t laugh! don’t laugh!) finished donning gym clothes. No, really. I’d decided to hit the treadmill before the aforementioned jammies plan. With very little arm twisting, I agreed instead to go downstairs for “just awhile.” (Plus, I was feeling a little flush from an earlier Wheel Of Fortune interlude and figured I owed those poor Native American children who might need a new school or something.)

I should have recognized the first sign of my plan’s disintegration. That was when Marty abandoned the poker table and started looking for slot machines to get rich on. Then, exhausting that inadequate revenue producer, we stumbled on the source of my doom.

A Texas Hold ‘Em table.

Not exactly how you see it on TV…for instance, you play against the dealer not each other, nevertheless, essentially the same game but without the stress and strain (and intimidation) of a serious poker table. Suddenly, without so much as a nonverbal cue, Marty and I were “catching the flop,” “betting on the river,”…all that good Texas Hold ‘em stuff.

Meanwhile, Ann sat out, claiming she didn’t know how to play. Well, y’all know how that turned out, right? After Marty and I dragged her kicking and screaming into the game, she virtually took over. We even named pocket aces the “Ann Hand.”

The next thing I knew, it was last call. Not a good sign unless tribal casinos shut down their bars at 10. Which they don’t.

And the NEXT thing I knew, it was 3 a.m.

Bad, bad, bad.


We’d spent HOURS at this stupid table, with only a couple of interruptions for, as Ann put it, “doin’ the Harpo walk.” (This is “casinospeak” for the odd gait of a person suddenly in need of a bathroom break who’s so stiff from sitting in one position that he or she can barely walk to the restroom. Trust me, it’s aptly named.)

As we left the table, the casino folk generously provided a $60 comp for food (at three o’clock in the morning???) but I declined and said good night. The last I saw Ann and Marty, they were headed for steak and eggs.

So, that’s why the mush for brains today. Alcohol + sleep deprivation + long drive = mucho exhaustion.

Not to mention boring blog.

Friday, November 04, 2005

New Rule (Since Tuesday)

Treadmill: 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at night

Tuesday: Check
Thursday: Check
Friday: Check (so far)
Tomorrow...before I drive down to San Diego (cross your fingers)
Tomorrow night...after I check into the Lake San Marcos Ramada (cross your toes)
Sunday...after I check into Harrahs-Rincon (cross your eyes)
Sunday night...........??????? Cross whatever's left!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

0 for 3 At Bunco

That’s my record. Just call me the big L-O-S-E-R.

When Ann, Thea, and Pam first proposed putting together a “Bunco group”, I thought: “Oh God, isn’t Bunco an irregular heart beat away from Bridge? What’s next…Pinochle? Quilting bees? Or, worse (huge shudder)…shuffleboard???”

Then I heard from ex-boyfriend Joe that his 30-something daughter, Renee, had joined a group in her neighborhood. What a relief! I figured if SAHMs (stay-at-home-moms—and, please note, I did not use the pejorative “soccer moms”) are gathering to play Bunco, it couldn’t hurt to get together with women my own age, right?

So, here’s how it works (at least with our group). Once a month, twelve of us meet at 6:00p.m. to share cocktails, munchies, and gossip. Then we play a round of Bunco, followed by more cocktails, munchies, and gossip. Round two comes next and after that we…no, you’re wrong. This time it’s cocktails, DESSERT, and gossip. (Are you sensing a pattern here? There’s a spot for round three on the scorecard doohinky, but so far, what with all the drinking/eating/talking, we haven’t been able to squeeze it in. Oh, well.)

Lastly, the winners are awarded honest-to-God cash. Not a lot, but hey—something tells me this Bunco craze is not about getting rich.


The game is rather simple (which is probably a good thing since our aptitudes are somewhat impaired right off the bat). I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say it involves rolling three die (yep—that’s the plural of dice) and looking for “ones,” then “twos,” and so on. (Not a game for Mensa candidates, but then with all the wine involved, probably about the right speed, intellectually speaking.) I don’t know if it’s the game itself or the wine ingested, but somehow the decibel level stays in the mosh pit range. Must be those screams of “TRAVELING” and “BUNCO” which, no doubt, cause the neighbors some justifiable concern.

Anyway, yours truly gets to host the December gathering. Time to re-stock the wine rack!






Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Y-a-a-awn

Last weekend I stumbled across a “woman’s” magazine. You know the kind—the ones with ten tips to the best sex ever—ten tips to more manageable hair—ten fashion “must haves” for the coming season—and blah, blah, blah. While ruminating over how much paper gets wasted on the same tired subjects, I landed on one that made me shake my head.

Ten tips to losing weight. Geez, I thought, only ten? What…eat less…exercise more?

Get your stomach surgically excised?

Wait a minute. The tenth one caught my eye: “Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.”


Yeah, right. Who were they kidding? Wasn’t that counterintuitive?

Then, I read on and (gulp) the explanation actually made sense. It turns out that when we don’t get enough sleep, we screw up a couple of hormones. Important hormones. Guys involved in things like fat storage and appetite control.

Ding, ding, ding!!!! Eureka!!!!

When I started writing, I decreased my per night sleeping time by about two hours. No wonder I gained weight!!! I need to spend more time in bed than at the computer!!

Wow…if only all our problems could be solved so easily.

Click here for one of many articles I found on the Internet.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

'Tis The Season For NaNoWriMo

And this year I’m not there.

Hoped to be. Wanted to be. Planned to be.

Alas, that’s the way it is when you’re trying to be a writer. Life intervenes a lot—which is the antithesis of National Novel Writing Month.

Beginning today, November 1st, wannabe writers (and some pubbed) from all over the globe embark on a 30-day journey of scribbling (okay, mostly typing) a 50,000-word (200-page) novel. The idea is to put everything aside (spouses, kids, parents, laundry, landscaping, personal hygiene if that’s what it takes...) and just write, write, write. The founder, Chris Baty, has a motto: No plot? No problem...in fact, he’s written a book with the title.

Anyway, my interpretation of the whole thing is this: there’s a ton of people out there (including some who read this blog) who have been meaning to get around to writing the great American novel—or memoir, or sci-fi fantasy. Whatever. Only, they don’t. Writing is the easiest thing in the world about which to procrastinate (I should know). And, it was NaNoWriMo that finally got me off the dime four years ago.

Not really knowing much about the craft of writing, I dove right in and, yes, completed a 50,000 word novel that month. Not only that, but I had a vacation planned for the fourth week in November, so I had to finish it in three weeks, not four. And I did. I forget—you do the math—but I wrote something like 10 pages a night. (Ouch--now that I’m a “better” writer, I can do about 2 a night but, oh well.) Still….about five months later, I thought: shoot, the stuff I wrote wasn’t so bad. Not long enough to be publishable, but maybe if I could add to it....

Well, the rest is history. That thought sent me on a journey that’s changed my life in a lot of ways--taken me to cities I’d never seen and brought me friends I would never have met. (Not to mention subtracted 100’s of hours of television viewing that wouldn’t have added a scintilla of worth to my life.)

So, I salute all the NaNo participants this year and wish them oodles of luck. Not everyone will “finish.” Not everyone will use it as a stepping stone toward a writing career (like Lani Diane Rich did with her NaNo Novel of a couple of years ago).

And to all those people sitting down to write their novel for the first time, welcome to a world you’ll learn to love to hate!