Friday, March 31, 2006

Honesty and Courage

You hear a lot about what it takes to get published. Stuff like luck, perseverance, patience, and…oh yeah, the talent to write a good book.

But what does it take to write a good book?

Two traits we tend to overlook are honesty and courage. Honesty to admit when our writing sucks and courage to hack away words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes…hell, CHAPTERS, we’ve spewed blood, sweat, and tears on. (Not to mention time we could have spent watching CSI.)

So that’s where I’m at right now. Yeah, me. The one’s who been bitching about how desperately she'd like to get this current book finished, like NOW.

The trouble is, today I toyed with entering the first two chapters in a writing contest. Oh, I know I’ve spouted off about people who enter uncompleted manuscripts in contests, but this time I couldn’t help myself. Fire and Ice is begging for chick lit entries and, well, I have one, don’t I? So, I started looking at the first 24 pages of Leftovers with an eye toward someone actually judging it.

Guess what?

It needs a MUCH better hook.

In fact, it starts in the wrong place.

At first, the realization filled me with despair. I truly hate to ditch the first chapter because a) see aforementioned blood, sweat, and tears; and b) there’s stuff in there I want the reader to know that I don’t wanna have to turn into backstory. Plus, starting with chapter two throws chapter three all out of whack.


But wait. What if…hm…let’s see…maybe I can open with chapter two and, with a little tweaking, still keep chapter three. Yeah, that could work.

Still…all those pithy lines in chapter one (sob). God, I hate to lose them. Oh, I hear ya. Never throw anything in the recycle bin. Save it to a file of “stuff to use in the future.” Yeah, I have one called “Leftover Scraps” (ha—appropriate, huh?). Problem is, I’ll never remember they’re there, let alone when to use them.

(Some would say, forget obsessing over the beginning and just finish the damn book--you can fix it later. Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I think the remainder of the book will go better if I’m comfortable—hell, psyched—about the opening hook.)

So this is where the honesty and courage comes in. If I’m truthful with myself (oh, the humanity) I’ll resist the temptation to believe the first chapter’s okay as is. Then I’ll dredge up that courage to open a new document and start rearranging.

Hm. And maybe the Tin Man and the Lion will show up with a brain and a heart.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Another Writing Epiphany—or Variation Thereof

When my characters refuse to get friendly with me, I sometimes write scenes from their pasts that will never make the book. Usually, the scene amounts to nothing but dialogue between two people—and it relates to character backstory that makes the person who he or she is in the present.

Well, last night I was thinking about a weakness of mine—namely, digging beneath a character’s skin to really observe and sense what they’re observing, what they’re sensing. Then I remembered Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer’s dueling blog (“Don’t Look Down!" Release date: April 4! Romantic Adventure!—see, even I can cover the talking points by now, and for those of you who don’t get the joke you haven’t been reading the blog, shame on you). Anyway, they do this he said/she said kinda thing, just like how they wrote the book (“Don’t Look Down! Release date: April 4! Romantic Adventure!) in which Jenny wrote the heroine’s POV stuff and Bob the hero’s.


Lightbulb moment.

What if I wrote a scene—one I’d never use--from the hero’s POV? That way I (the author) would be inside his head, feeling what he felt, seeing what he saw…which might translate to observable behavior, right? Then, I could go back and have my heroine see/hear/feel through me.


Well, it did to me because it worked.

Thanks, Jenny and Bob (authors of “Don’t Look Down,” a romantic adventure, coming April 4th!)

And no, I don’t know them personally…but I know they’re generous to us lowly unpubs and for that I owe them a debt of gratitude. The least I can do is plug their new book (did I mention it’s a romantic adventure called “Don’t Look Down” and will be available April 4th?).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Repeat After Me: Patience is a Virtue

People who see me every day think I hate to write. That’s because I constantly whine and say things like: “Only two more pages last night. At this rate, I’ll never finish the sucker.” (Only, what I REALLY say involves words less acceptable in polite society.)

Guess I can see why they’d question my attitude.

But here’s the deal: In the beginning, when the characters are fresh and the story’s just starting to blossom, the spontaneous combustion of words and ideas, creatively banging against each other, keeps me energized. I can’t WAIT to birth this thing and show it off to the world! After all, it’s my third effort—and (hopefully) far superior to my first two.

Then, reality sets in. Time passes while I slog through chapters three, four, five, six…surely I must be close to finishing, right? Wrong. All that forward momentum now feels like I’m pedaling backwards on the elliptical.

Last night, I *think* I reached the halfway point. {Shuddering} That means, if it takes me as long to write the second half as it did to write the first, I should be finished by…oh, let’s say…friggin’ August?

Will there even BE a chick lit market by then?

Sigh. I try adapting AA’s motto. One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One paragraph at a time. One scene at a time. One chapter at a time.

And finally, voila. Book.

Meanwhile, I go to work every day and bitch about how long the damn thing is taking.

Yeah, I love to write.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Is March 27th too late to make a New Year’s resolution? ‘Cuz I really think it’s time I clean up some of the clutter in my life. The only question is: where to start.

At this very moment, I’m surveying my office and wondering how I ever get a single bit of work done. (Well, some might argue that I don’t.) For starters, three or four years of factory time sheets are stacked all over the place. Unfortunately, they’re not in any particular order. One credenza contains three shelves of binders holding old sales orders that I haven’t looked at in probably five years. Then there’s the miscellaneous personal crap. It’s everywhere. From bills, to old Christmas cards, to well…I covered all this in a previous post, didn’t I? Rest assured, things have only gotten worse since the last time I addressed this topic.

At home, I’ve already mentioned my garage. (Really, the garage warrants more than one measly sentence, but I’ll just let you use your imagination). Add to that, the books (mostly freebies from writing conferences) scattered everywhere. And then there are the leaves on the patio. I DO collect them every so often, but it’s a never-ending battle thanks to the huge maple (?) tree just outside my property that deposits its debris onto my patio all year long.

Anyway, I made a huge leap forward yesterday.

I bought the maxi-sized box of trash bags.

Party on, huh?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Another Windfall!

The checkout clerk reads my receipt and says, “Congratulations, you won.”

Right, I say to myself. What’d I win? Twenty cents off on my next purchase of new and improved Tide Detergent? Or, better…something I wouldn’t use in a million years, like a box of Pampers?

She hands me a sheaf of papers. “These are two movie tickets. It says they’re for ICE AGE The Meltdown but I think you can use them for any movie. Just go to the website.”

I can’t help thinking she must be mistaken—that they truly ARE for this kiddie movie emblazoned on the tickets. Cuz that would be the catch, wouldn’t it? I mean, surely THEY (the mysterious THEY) have been tracking my purchases so THEY must know I’ve got zero interest in cartoons, free or not.

As I walk to the car, I’m already figuring out who I’ll give them to.

But when I got home, I examined them further. Hey, the clerk was right! It says they can be used for ANY movie. I figure at today’s prices, two movie tickets are worth…what…$100 bucks? Well, close to it anyway…

In 1983, a friend gave me two free passes to Disneyland that I haven’t used yet. Just think how much they’ve appreciated! Hell, holding on to THOSE was probably a wiser investment than buying stock in GM.

Hmmm…think I’ll hold on to those movie tickets. They'll make a nice addition to the asset column of my balance sheet.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Just Another Lesson In Life

I’d pay a lot of money to evict a certain woman from my life. She’s just so damned mean. Hurts me all the time without even feeling guilty.

I’m referring, of course, to my dentist.

Why, why, why, didn't I floss regularly? Why, why, why, didn't I do the twice yearly thing? After this morning's visit, her parting words (as she handed me the root canal guy’s card): “Just in case that tooth starts to throb. You don’t wanna go through the weekend that way.”

(Note to self: call mechanic, make appointment for car service; call gyno, make appointment for annual exam and mammo; call internist, make appointment for cholesterol panel.)

Are you sensing a pattern here?

Yep, I have a thing about maintenance, don’t I? You should see my garage. Well, no. You shouldn’t.

When, do you suppose, is the last time I defragged my computer? Right.

When, do you suppose, is the last time I cleaned out my refrigerator? Right.

No wonder I haven’t jumped on the over-50 cosmetic surgery bandwagon. More maintenance!

Too bad you can’t do one of those prepaid service agreements on your life.

{Throb, throb}

P.S. Just kidding about the dentist. She's adorable, and going to her office is like a good gossip fest except the pain is physical instead of mental.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Separated At Birth ? ?

AMERICAN IDOL? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?? ? Or........................ COLLEGE PROFESSOR?

You be the judge!

Okay, I COULDN'T resist when I thought of the resemblance. And at this very moment, picture one of my blogreaders (who shall remain nameless!) CRACKING up because said College Professor was her boyfriend...hmmm...thirty years ago? Hey, maybe Taylor Hicks (American Idol for you cranky anti-reality-show perverts) is my blogreader's LOVE child....!

On a technical note, ain't the Internet grand? You don't suppose I can get in trouble for swiping these photos, do you? I mean, I figure if they're "saveable," they're fair game, right?

But please. Ohgodohgodohgod...don't ever let College Professor know I did this to him. I haven't seen him since that wedding at Cornell back in...well, however long ago it was he had dark hair.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Is It Me?

Am I brain-dead? Or just (to put it more politely) a little distracted? You be the judge.

Years ago, on a flight from Huatulco (that’s in southernmost Mexico in case you didn’t know), I experienced what I call a magical moment. Actually, it was several moments strung together to encompass the entire flight.

See, I had the back of the plane to myself (always a good thing) and, for some reason, the flight attendant kept my Vodka tonics replenished without being asked (also a good thing!). Sheryl Crow was playing on my tape player (yes, this was before CD’s and Ipods) and between the Vodka and Sheryl buzz, the plane could have vanished from the sky and I could have cared less.

Flash forward to yesterday. I hadn’t bought a Sheryl Crow CD in a long time so after loading up the flat screen monitor (see earlier post) I decided to browse the music section. Hm. Lots of Sheryl between now and my last purchase. How to choose? Squinting at the copywright dates, I aimed for something recent. Finally settled on one called “Pickin’ On Sheryl Crow.” Cute, I thought. Probably a selection of “he done me wrong” songs. Perfect.

Only, when I got home, surgically removed the outer wrappings and opened up the jewel case, a slip of paper fell out. On it were words to this effect: “If you liked Pickin’ On Sheryl Crow, you’ll like…” what followed was a list of others who’d been “picked on” including everyone from U2 to the Dixie Chicks.


Sure enough. I’d bought the CD of some instrumental group who covers other, er, more famous people.

Can you spell R-I-P-P-E-D O-F-F??????

I mean, it was in the SHERYL friggin CROW bin.

Okay, I admit if I’d read the back cover blurb I woulda noticed. But …who reads that crap? All you need to know is the artist name and the playlist, right? Well, both of those were right there. I’m not lying. There’s nothing on the cover but “Pickin’ On” (big space) “Sheryl Crow.”


Saturday, March 18, 2006

You just knew that unexpected windfall was burning a hole in my bank account, right? So this morning, I’m lying in bed, thinking of ways to blow, er, I mean, spend it. Oh sure, I could put it toward that desk I’ve been meaning to buy, but where’s the fun in that? I’d have to order it or get someone with a truck to go pick it up, bring it home, assemble it…too much hassle, not enough instant gratification.

Then, I thought of something. A new flat screen computer monitor! Yes, I could do that by myself!

Now, I’m way too lazy to do major research before an electronics purchase. All I really need to know is if it'll look good on my desk. After that, I figure they're all pretty much the same unless you're some kinda geek who can tell the difference between resolutions, pixels and all that other tech talk. Besides, whatever I choose will be obsolete by…what…next Tuesday?

So off I went to Best Buys. For some reason, no one seemed interested in helping me—even though I had a huge shopping cart. I mean, HELLO! Here to BUY, fellas! Long story short, I wound up with a Sony 17 incher (the 19” ones looked waaaaay to gargantuous—just more to get used to) and I successfully hooked it up about five minutes ago.

Um…everything looks lovely…except the print!!! Help?!? What do I do? It looks vaguely fuzzy and I’m not sure this is something my eyes are gonna adjust to. ‘Course maybe I just need glasses that are both unscratched and clean. I hope.

Oh, well…the good news? I no longer have to sit sideways at my desk with the keypad hanging off the edge! I can put both feet on the ground! I can face everything head on! This has GOT to be better on my back!

And I’m sure, without a doubt, I will now be able to write scathingly brilliant novels.

That is, if I don’t go blind first.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sloth Pays Off

Last night I was sitting in a bar with co-worker John and I found myself telling him my telephone story. This is the one where I’m so frigging lazy I don’t bother to take back the phone I “rented” in 1983. (Okay, maybe those of you who are infants don’t remember there was a time when you didn’t actually own your phone, so you’ll just have to trust me on this.) Anyway, time went by, technology changed, people started buying phones. I did, too. But I still had this one stupid princess phone that I never bothered to turn in. Somewhere along the line (1990? 1995?) I started getting letters asking me to return it so they could stop charging me five bucks a month. God knows I didn’t still use the thing, having graduated to the latest and greatest, but I was too lazy to figure out where I needed to take the phone back to.

Then in…2000?…I got a letter saying, never mind. Keep the phone. We’ll just stop charging you. Fine by me.

THEN in…2003?…I got a letter about some sorta class action suit. Now, I’m not a litigious person by nature. I didn’t even sue the guy whose dog took a chunk out of my leg when he KNEW the menace had bitten before yet let the mutt out off leash. Anyway, so not only am I not litigious, I’ve filled out those stupid class action forms before so I know they’re hardly worth the time and effort. Once I put together a claim package supporting $30,000 worth of Northwestern flights and received 12 $10 coupons towards future flights in return. Gee, thanks. (They promptly went in the trash.)

But, what the hell. I filled out the phone forms.

Okay, back to last night and my telling John this story. [Insert Twilight Zone theme here] When I arrived home and collected the mail, guess what was in it??????

A CHECK FROM THE PHONE COMPANY FOR $626.96!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, first…wow…do you believe the timing? And, second…do you believe the amount? Oh, sure…no doubt I, er, still slightly overpaid for the phone, but by my calculations that amounts to about ten years of phone rental. Plus, who knows how much the attorneys got?

I’m telling you. Sometimes laziness is like money in the bank.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It Don't Get Any Easier

I swing my car into the driveway, hit the remote, and wait for something to happen.

Gee, do I need a new battery? I shake the thing (as if movement will somehow re-energize it) and press the button harder. Still nothing. Finally, it dawns on me.

The power is out. AGAIN.


According to my neighbors, it’s been out about an hour. We commiserate over last week’s missed airing of the Academy Awards, and I search the car for a house key. Luckily, I find one, let myself in, and light a couple candles (singeing my thumbnail in the process). (Well, how did YOU think that should be spelled—singing?? Okay, I admit it. That’s how I spelled it at first.)

After awhile, with nothing else to do, I take a bath by candlelight (which, it turns out, is preferable to bright lights because there’s a full length mirror right by the tub). The rushing water drowns out the radio, so I start to think about the Daphne, a contest for romantic suspense.

I haven’t really written much true suspense, but I lie there wondering if I could. Better yet, I wonder if I could write something by the deadline. I start to play with plot ideas.

The power comes back on and I launch myself from the tub, throw on jammies, and make a mad dash for the computer. A half hour later (that’s quick!) I have a rather decent synopsis.

Maybe, just maybe, I can do this. All I need now is the first fifteen pages of the novel and I can enter the contest.

Ah, but here’s where the problems roll in. See, even with a great premise, an opening hook, and a fair idea of who the characters are, the thing won’t let loose from my brain. I take a break to watch The Apprentice, but all in all, write for about three hours. Guess what? Three hours = three pages. A looooong way from fifteen.

Today, I steal time from work and add six more, but it’s not going well. Somehow the synopsis is NOT translating to the written pages. The deadline is passing, and I’ll save the file as a future project. Maybe.

The strange thing is this: I never used to write a synopsis first. (And man, let me tell you, they’re rough to write after-the-fact—by that time figuring out the simple essence of the story requires insight I don’t seem to possess yet.) Anyway, so I thought if I mastered the synopsis BEFORE I wrote the story, I’d be that much father ahead. Wrong. All I’ve mastered is seeing the difference between envisioning the story and executing it.

No wonder Leftovers is taking forever.

Monday, March 13, 2006

From The Now I've Heard Everything File

Um, Ladies? Do you have too much time on your hands? Too much money hanging around your bank account? Not enough to worry about?

Most importantly, not enough self-esteem?

Then I invite you to investigate the newest form of self-indulgence making the rounds of America…Genital plastic surgery!

Yes, now YOU TOO can have the er…the er…perfect (as defined by men—or, at the very least Hugh Hefner)…er, well, you know…oh, let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? The perfect vagina.

According to the L.A. Times, women searching for a more “youthful look” are “having their vaginas tightened, their mons pubis liposuctioned, their labial folds nipped, and their clitoral hoods tucked.”

Euw, euw, euw. In my book, the words ‘mons pubis’ and ‘liposuctioned’ should never appear in the same vicinity. Just the thought of it makes me squirm.

Granted, some of these procedures aim at correcting physical problems resulting from childbirth and (cough) aging. I have no problem with that.

But apparently (not that I have first-hand knowledge) the popularity of the Brazilian wax has contributed to a wave of women seeking improvements purely from an aesthetic standpoint. I guess if you can see it, you can judge it, eh? Better yet, you can compare it. And, God knows, we women are all about putting ourselves up against the perfection that comes from air brushing, clever lighting, and friendly filters, aren’t we? But, geez. I mean, it’s bad enough we’re bombarded with our shortcomings in the areas people can readily see. Now, we have to worry about the rest of it? I can just picture myself in consultation with the doctor, pointing at the 8 x 10 glossy ripped from my significant other’s Playboy. “Yes, Doctor,” I’d say. “Make it look less like a blowfish and more like Miss December.”

Geesh. Kinda makes wanting lips like Angelina’s take on a whole new meaning, huh?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

More Writing, Less Gallivanting

Yes, folks. I’m still at it. The other night, I wrote four pages on Leftovers, bringing us to the grand total of 129. For you nonwriters, that’s roughly…hey, I just hauled out the calculator (well really, I clicked on it) and I’m further along than I thought. That’s the equivalent of 32,250 words and publishers are looking for anywhere between 70,000 and 100,000. Wow. Depending on which figure you use, I’m either nearly ½ done or 1/3.

I know, I know.

I’ll be finished when the story says I am. Still…that ½ done figure is encouraging.

See, I did a spreadsheet based on my synopsis. I plotted out where the turning points should occur, then filled in the scenes leading up to them, pulling guesses out of my you-know-what as to how long each would be. Last time I checked, I was pretty close to being on-schedule as far as page-count. But ya never know when that scene you thought would take four pages is gonna blossom into two chapters. Or disappear entirely, leaving a huge gaping hole.

Anyway, so I’m plodding (plotting?) along. Meanwhile, everywhere I go, the news on chick-lit isn’t great. Agents say no one is buying. Agents say only well-established authors with good track-records are selling. Agents say you need something really special, really fresh, really extraordinary, to sell.

Ack. A title like Leftovers doesn’t exactly conjure up freshness, does it? Not that I can’t change the title, of course, but…well…it really, really, does HAVE to be Leftovers. Don’t wanna say why, but trust me. It does.

So what else could set it apart? The age of the heroine. Mine’s in that tween spot. Not quite young, not quite old. Older heroines (older than mine) are hot right now. Maybe by the time I get this sucker finished, tween heroines will be hot. One can only hope.

Other than that…yes, I do have one other little trick that could set Leftovers apart. Not telling what it is, though. Neener-neener.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Road Trip

Proof positive you can steer with the left and take video with the right while driving 75 miles an hour through the Nevada desert.

I shoulda stopped her right here, huh? I mean, who better than a spinster like myself? I coulda pulled her aside, extolled the virtues of lifelong bachelorettedom, and urged her to think twice about signing up for the fifty-year stint of picking dirty sox up off the floor...not to mention closing toilet seats.

But, nah. I didn't have the heart. Besides, Shelly and Jamie are too cute a couple. They just might make the wedded bliss thing work. Sigh. Another one bites the dust.

At least there's a bonus like gaining a new niece and nephew like Ava and Ren

Pretty, huh? The wedding took place as we sailed down the Colorado River--that's Harrah's in the background.

And in case you're wondering why I included this among the wedding pictures...Well, I had to. I just did. That, dear friends, is the IRON Marty packs when he travels. Complete with the box it came in. Let me just point out, this photo doesn't do it justice. I mean, it's nearly TWICE the size of my normal, everyday iron at home.

Men are weird, aren't they?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Laughlin Story

Reliable sources report another "incident" involving a certain blonde (not me!) and a Texas Hold 'Em dealer. Now, I wasn't there to witness said event, but from what I'm told, heated words FLEW back and forth across the table. Things like:




Later, I'm further informed, a printed note was seen Scotch-taped to a certain hotel room denying entrance to a certain husband. Seems said husband showed an unfortunate lack of support.

Sigh. Don't worry. This same source indicates an amicable resolution was reached sometime during the night.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Finishing Up Rosarito

Before we move on to the entire Laughlin trip (I can hear my dad groaning now--if he were reading this--"Not more vacation pictures!")'s a round-up of some pix of Rosarito I'd either misplaced or forgotten. Ooops!

For this one, I zoomed in from seven floors up with my
videocam, then pulled it off the tape so it's a little blurry. Watching this guy look for clams? crabs? mussels? kept us riveted for quite some time. Plus, when the tide came in, this area was totally under water. Very cool.

To the right is the shot of the jacuzzi I thought I'd lost. See what I mean about it hanging over the edge of the cliff? It faces up the coast toward the Rosarito Beach Hotel and at night the lights are pretty. As you might imagine, it's also verrrrry romantic...unless you're with three girlfriends...three OLD girlfriends...ah, well. Nothing's ever perfect, right? At least we had cocktails with which to indulge. Oh, and that nice couple whose romantic tryst we interrupted...sometimes ya gotta depend on living vicariously through others....

So the picture to the left makes it seem like we had it all together going home, doesn't it? Well, looks can be deceiving. Somehow we missed the turn at the San Ysidro border, and it's a lot easier to just keep going then to backtrack, so we opted for the lesser-used Otay Mesa crossing--if we could find it. Yes, those signs look like U.S. signs but they just don't WORK like 'em. In Mexico, locating your destination is more like stumbling across it than anything else. At one point we followed a sign that clearly indicated (in our minds) that turning left would lead us to San Diego. Well, turning left led us right into a giant mini-mall (which may seem like an oxymoron but I promise is an apt description).

Yay! This one looks promising!! (I think it was moments later that we visited the mini-mall.) Anyway, eventually we made it to the border. Check out the pic below. Not even LOOKING for Al Qaeda types.

Ahhhh...Welcome to the US of A. Home Sweet Home.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Truth Is In The Receipt

There were about 30 of us at the wedding dinner on Saturday night. I wondered how the waitress was keeping our bar tabs separate, especially since we kept moving around. Found out later she was annotating the checks with little notes to herself. Like, across from me was: "Man With Lady In Black."

So, here's how she identified me. If you disregard the spelling, I think it says "Single Lady." How sad is that??

Brokeback Technology

Oh, I thought I was soooo clever.

Academy Awards. Sunday, March 5th. All my life, the Oscars have been must-see TV…the glamour, the suspense, those unpredictable moments that have everybody talking the next day…I love it all! So I purposefully scheduled my return flight from Vegas to get me into Burbank around 5:30 (thinking the awards didn’t start until about 6:00). Even MORE cleverly, I packed a rarely-used bag that, if crammed properly, holds a ton of stuff yet hoists rather easily into the overhead bin. That way, no annoying wait at baggage claim. I’d be able to rush right home. Perfect plan.

So I head off to the airport on Friday. My first mistake? That rarely-used bag that doesn’t roll. Ohmigod. It’s sooooo friggin’ heavy. Plus, I swear it used to have a shoulder strap, didn’t it? Ever industrious, I remove the strap from my videocam bag and switch it to the garment bag. Does it help? Not much. And now I’m carrying the camera bag like it’s a cute little purse, which it is not.

Flash forward.

I’m waiting in the Vegas airport and learn the awards begin an hour earlier this year. Grrrrr. There goes the whole opening monologue (which, let’s face it, is usually the highlight).

Okay, so I rush off the plane, lug my stupid bag to the shuttle, collect my car, and race home. I nuke a lean cuisine and settle in to watch just in time to see the pimp song performed and its subsequent win. (Now, THERE was a proud Oscar moment, huh? I’m picturing the conversation between my parents and wondering how quick it took them to change channels.)

Anyway, at the commercial, I realize there’s only about a half hour left of the show. All the really good awards (apart from the supporting roles) are coming up. (Maybe this is the way to watch the awards in the future?) I decide to run upstairs and watch the rest in bed. I turn off the lights, climb between the covers, and turn on the TV. Thirty seconds later the TV clicks off. All by itself. For a moment, I’m perplexed. Is my TV broken? Has my remote suffered some strange battery snafu? I try clicking it back on. Nothing.

Then I realize.

The power is out.

It stays out.

Throughout the rest of the show and the major awards.

I am seriously pissed.

P.S. In case you're new, click here for comments on last year's awards (hey, it's the best I can do, under the circumstances.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Rosarito

Off we went, leaving Calafia behind, but eager to see the condo I’d rented. Unfortunately, this being Mexico, making the left hand turn at the appropriate moment was a bit problematic and Kathy and I wound up making three roundtrips into Rosarito before finally getting it right. By the time we parked, Juli and Nancy were already upstairs and practically unpacked.

Here's the entry. You'll have to excuse the poor quality. I yanked these off a video.

Next up, we have Kath and Nancy in the kitchen (note the gorgeous granite countertop). They were the self-appointed chefs on this trip and had planned the menus down to the spices and all appropriate accoutrements.

Here's the sunset from our patio. Picture us drinking margaritas and eating chips and salsa with a Marc Anthony CD playing in the backround. Later we celebrated Christmas and birthdays with lots and lots of presents. So fun!!

And here's what we looked at :)

Shoot. I'm missing shots of the jacuzzi where we spent so much time. It hung out over the cliff and was muy cool!!!

Okay. Gotta work today. I still have pics of our departure--a rather funny story--but they'll have to wait until next week. I'm off to Laughlin tomorrow for a wedding!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Little Bit Of Heaven

You’re sitting at work, staring at a computer screen, watching the blip blip blip of the cursor, and dreaming of folding your arms across your chest for the I-Dream-Of-Jeanie-Head-Blink. Where would you take yourself?

Calafia is one of my top ten answers. I stole these pictures off the Internet (shhh…don’t tell anyone) because I didn’t take any new ones this trip, and my old ones seemed to have vanished in a recent computer crash.

Anyway, this is where we all met on Friday afternoon. And yes, the weather was nice. About as nice as San Diego which, after all, is only a forty-five minute drive away. (PEOPLE: please quit thinking of Rosarito and Ensenada like they’re on another planet. No, you don’t fly there, and no, it’s not “hot” this time of year. They’re practically in San Diego, for God’s sake.)

I’d driven down to Kath’s in Laguna Niguel the night before, then she drove the rest of the way. And yes, we purchased Mexican insurance before going over the border (I’ve NEVER needed it, but you know as soon as you don’t bother, something really bad will happen). Nancy and Juli drove from San Diego and, like I said, we all met at Calafia.

My first visit to this place was more years ago than I wanna remember. A bunch of us were staying in condos down at Las Gaviotas. We went to Calafia for dinner and then some of us stuck around for the nightlife. Wow. At the time, the dance floor was the beach. It was Labor Day weekend and all the crazy stuff that I assume still goes on when young people and alcohol mix was going on. Someone bought me one of those shots where the waiter grabs you in a headlock and shakes you till your teeth rattle. I think tequila was the liquor involved, but I really don’t remember. Even then, I wasn’t fond of those…what do they call them…slammers? Anyway, we danced all night and I fell in love with the place.

Since then, we’ve always made Calafia our first stop, whether we’re staying in Rosarito or headed down the coast to Ensenada. It’s a great place to shed those back-in-the-states ‘tudes and replace ‘em with the Mexico vibe.

Last Friday afternoon, after a couple margaritas and my fave Mexican sampler platter (oh, and two tunes performed by the strolling Mariachis), we headed for the condo I’d rented back in Rosarito. More on that later, but here’s a preview.