Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Day!

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Yeah, that's pretty much me. I love the white stuff, so when it started yesterday (happy Boxing Day to me!) I was very happy to see it. White Boxing Day still counts as White Christmas in my book, as this week between Christmas and New Year's is my favorite week of the entire year, all tucked away between two holidays.

Maybe it's a leftover from school vacations and maybe it's a leftover from family Christmases where lolling about with relatives and leftovers, cavorting in the frozen outdoors until it's time to gear up for New Year's Eve. Maybe I'm still running on peppermint starlights and twinkly lights (guilty) and fumes from reading a book from my special shelf. That's where I keep highly anticipated books for when I've been really really good or am feeling really really bad. These can be treats or therapy. Sometimes both.

Holiday stress drove me to this shelf on the 23rd, and I selected Silk and Shadow by Aola Vandergriff. I had a hunch that our usual Monday Morning write-in at Panera would be taking a snow day, but still planned on going on my own...though being no dummy, I did put my commute on delay. I spent an hour curled on the couch, under the beyond gorgeous afghan my friend Linda made for DH and me for Christmas, and time zoomed by as I turned pages, caught in a complex web of intrigue, emotion, romance and family dysfunction in early 19th century Louisiana. I haven't read a single thing by Ms. Vandergriff that I haven't loved, though her books are long out of print; this one has a 1981 publication date.

I determined to stay under the afghan until I finished and consider that time extremely well spent, but it does bring me back to "okay, what do I read now?" Some books are a hard act to follow. We are in that tucked away week, though, so I think the afghan and I will have ample opportunity to figure something out, and there is a whole new year's worth of reading to plan. I'm hoping to work out a system so I have a good mix of new and classic romances in rotation.

What do you do during this tucked away week? Any reading goals for 2011?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

funny pictures - OH MY GOD! WAKE UP!  IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!
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Christmas trumps both Happy Dance Friday and Saturday at the Movies, which will be back after the holidays. Not everybody in my family shares my mania for only the best day of the entire year, but that's to be expected.

Though our family will be doing the opening of presents in the afternoon (comes with the territory as DH is in the hospitality industry and therefore needing a long winter's nap)my friend Linda got me Love Actually on pay per view for the day, so of course I am indulging in a loop of that until my real life hero wakes.

Moment of augh when I noticed that my gift for Linda's mum was still in the refrigerator so will need to deliver that later in the day. When the man does arise, it's presents, then ordering Chinese food to be delivered. There has been mention of board games, and the handing off of Linda's mum's present for Linda to deliver. That's how we celebrate at our house. How about you?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #27 - Naughty or Nice?

Though the way life is going, I'm not likely to be able to get to the theatre this week, two movies have caught my interest.

There's Cher, Christina Aguilera and Julianne Hough in Burlesque

and then Disney's Tangled, a Rapunzel retelling, apparently with more of an eye than usual to the male viewership:

Which strikes your fancy more, naughty or nice?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #30 - It's Beginning to Look a Not Like Christmas

Photobucket At least around here, it is. No snow yet to speak of, and due to the Cold That Would Not Die (but since has, huzzah) decoration at Stately Bowling Manor has consisted entirely of hanging our lighted wreath (in the bathroom this year, but that's another story) and putting the tree-made-out-of-ornaments on the table in the kitchen. No lights yet, have watched no Christmas movies or TV, have read but one Christmassy romance and it didn't work for me, alas. No candy canes have yet crossed our threshold nor a single drop of eggnog. I am disgustingly far behind on the making of presents and aside from getting all my Christmas themed paper arts stuff in one location, have done nothing in that venue either. Plus grumping that Moonlight never got to have a Christmas episode.

No, this is not a whinge, and I am going to get spiritual for a paragraph, so if that's not your thing, hop down to the videos. Christmas for our family is about remembering and celebrating the birth of Christ, and we can do that no matter what is or isn't on the ground, walls, tree, etc. Nobody and nothing can squash that, but dagnabit, I want all the sparkly, shiny, insanely bouncing about on a sugar rush under a glittery tree stuff as well.

All of which means we are long overdue for Christmassy happy dancing. Normally by this time of year, I'm bouncing around like Olivia Olsen in this clip from Love Actually. Embedding disabled by request, so click here to watch or listen below and do your own cavorting:

This next one might be a good candidate for a Christmas waltz of the slightly melancholy variety, but I flailed like an overexcited Kermit when I found that Coldplay had a Christmas song. Let me repeat. Coldplay has a Christmas song.

Back to Love Actually (come on, we know I'm going to have this movie on a loop for the next week) "Christmas is All Around." Oh Billy Mack, how I wish you were real. Yes, it's horrid, and yes, we love it. Long form of the video here (costumes may be NSFW) and listen here:

Okay, all better now. Everybody grab some tinsel and join in:

What never fails to put you in the holiday spirit, whatever your holiday may be?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eh, you do the title today

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I miss tea. As in really really miss tea. Also hot chocolate, soup, anything involving citrus of any sort or anything containing tomato. Am now on the "when will the darned cold sore drop so I can be human again" watch. Which is not helped by the carton of forbidden orange juice in the fridge, or DH brining home chili. Big old not quite over the cold but not in the throes of it anymore funk. Which means my brain is at once raring to get back to actual work and wont to forgetting what it's doing in the middle of such tasks.

Add to that the fact that I A) woke at exactly the time I meant to be out the front door, B) am feeling guilt over thinking of self when friends are having stuff going on, though I am absolutely there for support, C) there were an oddly high number of men in their 30s/40s in business suits in Panera, and as soon as they left, an oddly high number of women in their 20s/30s with strollers took their places, D) I have no idea why my brain latched onto that when I have no idea what I'm bringing to nag group tonight other than my still occasionally cough-fit-having self.

The reason here is twofold; one, the clientele seems to be settling into a more eclectic population, and two, I feel better when I'm working. So by the time six PM rolls around, I will have three copies of something in my tricky two column, single spaced, landscape printed format to sneak extra pages past my CPs.

After, that is, poking around to find lunch items that will not make my upper lip feel like it got hit with an extremely localized blowtorch (I have learned from that one time I decided to chance pizza anyway; never again) and washing my hair even though my hair has decided it no longer likes the only conditioner in the house and all that writing and editing stuff. Is it time to share the start of the NaNo book? Too soon to talk about the idea for the new historical? Can I in all good conscience subject these people to yet another read through of the chapter I'm editing? No matter what anybody says, I am not violating my "have never not read" streak. Because I'm cranky that way.

Point of this post? None, but I like to vent.

Monday, December 13, 2010

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DH and I still in the grips of the Cold That Will Not Die. If it sticks around until midweek, I think we have to buy it a Christmas present. We have perfected our tandem coughing routine with optional call and response format. Kleenex loves us about as much as we love the fuzzy blankey with the ducks on it, and we may have a cause for lobbying to have the Chinese takeout place name their wonton soup after us.

It's important while the cold has us that we maintain mental faculties. Reading labels of cold medication to see who can take what can only go so far, as well as remembering which tissues are the good kind with lotion which are great for the nose but very bad for cleaning glasses. The list of things that Cannot Be Ingested while the cold sore is present is hardwired, so that doesn't count as intellectual exercise. DH does not get cold sores, and yet he is the one who does not like hot beverages. This is not fair. For the uninitiated, my blood type is "tea."

Television is a good fallback, especially if we can find a rerun of some Law and Order or How I Met Your Mother. DH likes NPR, and I have my TBR bookcase. Yeah, bookcase. I do not hoard books, I stockpile them for exactly times like this. Give me a book or ten and my fuzzy blankey and beverage of choice and check in every once in a while to see if I have a pulse or need soup. This past week has taken me through the pages of:

The Master and The Muses by Amanada McIntyre
The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex (bonus points for a fabulous name)
Rushed to the Altar by Jane Feather (Dear Ms Feather, it has been far too long)

Back to my Panera "office" today, and I will take this as a sign of good things coming. Free bagel on my rewards card, the manager dropped something extra on my table with a perky "enjoy" as she passed, and my email inbox had a notice of not only a new album by Right Said Fred but release of their Night of the Living Fred DVD. Keep this kind of stuff coming, Monday. I could get used to days like this. Now about that cold sore....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #29 - from my fevered brain

Skye's expression may well capture the true feline attitude toward having a sick human around. Not to worry, I can still open her food pouches and she is very supportive.

Happy Dance clips or cold medicine induced hallucinations? You decide.

Heather and Carolin, this one's for you:

Many dorm room dance sessions happened to this ditty:

I've always liked when Homer Simpson's mind goes to something like this when someone else discusses matters of import. I can relate to that at the moment.

Irish dancing farm animals? Why not?

Happy Friday, all!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Happy Dance Friday #28 - Elf Yourself!

Since it's now officially time to start the Christmas season, what better way than an elf flash mob?

Do we need a tox screen on the eggnog at the staff party for House?

Whatever was in that eggnog seems to have made it over to the Law and Order bunch as well

Who's next? Maybe you!

For all who celebrate the festival of lights, the happiest of Hannukahs!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Toddler Awakes

Remember how yesterday I talked about how it's important not to wake the sleeping toddler of my NaNo ms? I caved. Sort of.

Back when I was a freshman in college, I worked as a live-out nanny/au pair for a lovely family. Mother was American, Father was French, and they had two children, Toddler Boy and Infant Girl (if anybody is tempted to mention that those cherubs are now grownups, I will put on my stompy boots and kick you into next week.) The times I was there coincided with Toddler Boy's naptime, during which he did not actually have to sleep, but did have to stay in his room and be quiet until I told him naptime was over. While this nominally was meant to assure that Toddler Boy's naptime coincided with Infant Girl's naptime, Infant Girl wasn't always with the program on this rule and end of her brother's naptime often coincided with the end of Guiding Light.

Where, you may ask, is she going with this? Hang with me for a minute. It's pertinent, I promise. Now where were we?

Often, Toddler Boy would actually nap during naptime. Other times, he would play quietly with toys, "read aloud" to himself in English or French, or other such approved activities. Then there was the day he was too quiet (any parents or childcare workers know what that sounds like) and I went into the room to check. Everything in his room, and I do mean everything, was in a big lump in the middle of the floor. Clothing, books, toys, and even I kid you not, pieces of furniture, on top of a child-sized suitcase.

Me: Toddler Boy, what are you doing?

Toddler Boy: (looks up, picture of complete innocence) Taking my room to show to Grandmere. (bit of backstory; Grandmere was Father's mother and the family was preparing for a trip there to see her. No, they did not take the au pair with them, harumph.)

Me: Okay, let's go see if Infant Girl is awake now and we can all have a snack. (takes Toddler Boy by the hand and closes door to room; parents will want to see the crime scene.)

Then there was the time Toddler Boy was not allowed to play with a desired toy (it was loud) until Infant Girl was awake.

Toddler Boy: Can I play with Desired Toy now?

Me: If Infant Girl is awake. (gets up to check if Infant Girl is indeed awake)

Toddler Boy: (races across hall and into nursery, I hear the whump of crib meeting wall)

Infant Girl: (rudely awakened baby wail)

Toddler Boy: Infant Girl is awake.
(no babies were harmed in the making of this anecdote, but the nanny's nerves were shot)

Stories are like that. NSoH had decided it was done napping and would soon start taking apart its room if I didn't get back in there. Primordial ooze of next historical is a mass of colicky bubbles (the writers reading this are now nodding like bobbleheads - yes, ooze can have colic) and I am still bribable with good European cookies. Point is, it's new words time and I am making new words, so all's right with the world.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

In Between Days

In short, I hate them. The plan I had was to let my NaNo project, Nothing Short of Heaven, sit for a few days before I had another look at it, but my brain keeps wanting to go back to Slate and Melanie. Maybe they aren't done with me yet? What I do know is that I have fallen into the habit (okay, deliberately cultivated would be more accurate) of making new words in the morning hours and not having this to work on puts me in a huge funk.

Which in a normal world would mean time to work on the next historical. Only I don't know what that one is yet. As I am one of those people who has to have multiple stuff in various stages, the new-new spot is in need of filling and not having it filled drives me bonkers. There is a vague, extremely rough idea, which leaves me splashing about in the primordial ooze. Nobody has names yet, I have no idea where or when this book is set and it's entirely possible that I will need to ravage the other ms that is on life support to give parts for this one.

I will grumble. I will flail. I will need to gently but firmly be pointed back towards my other story "kids" that still need my attention. I will need to be reminded that I have submissions that have been requested and need to put those big kids on the bus because they are ready to go out into the world. I will need to resist the urge to pick up the sleeping toddler of my NaNo story because if I wake them before they are rested, we will both end up cranky and fussy. I will use this blog as my methadone to keep my fingers moving on the keys and making words in the morning. I will grumble to other writer friends who will walk with me through these in between days as I walk with them through theirs. I will have friends and family press books into my hand because nothing in means nothing out.

The time will come, when I least expect it, of one of these vague outlines of characters will introduce themselves with a name and I'll figure out their era. (A lot of them make me work for it, figuring out when they live from information they work into their babbling, and I have at least once had to hunt down the era going solely by the heroine's hat.) Then things will fall into place and I will be back in blorch stage, racing to get absolutely everything in my head into a file.

But today is in between, at least for the morning. After lunch, it's editing and polishing, and that is far more defined. Until then, Ben Folds, everybody....