Monthly Archives: July 2010

Grumpy McGrumperton

Thursday evening we were just sitting down to dinner when we had a visitor (my aunt). We sat with her for a bit and while we were just about to actually eat, the phone rang. I went off. My aunt fussed me for being grumpy and unfriendly, but I had to explain to her why this bothers me so much.

It never fails. No matter what time we sit down to enjoy dinner, the phone will ring. We try to be clever about it and change our meal times by half an hour, an hour, but still the phone will ring. I’d like to say it’s always a sales call, but it rarely is. It’s always a member of the family calling to chitchat. That still doesn’t contain my frustration.

I love my family. I think we’ve already established that, but I do not like it when they call right when I’m about to eat…or right when I’m going to bed, or right when I wake up in the morning. I suppose that’s part of the problem of having so insomniacs in one family: they don’t sleep and when they get bored, they like to call and talk about nothing.

On one hand, I know my irritation was taught. My stepfather was a truck driver. He’d get up at dawn, have his coffee and head to work. This means he went to bed almost as soon as it was dark. My friends were strictly forbidden to call after 8:30 at night. I got into the habit of that and now that I’m the one up at the crack of dawn, if that phone rings at 8 o’clock, I start getting jittery. I answer the phone and spend the next hour glancing at the clock. My bed time! My precious sleep! Luckily for me (and sadly enough), our cordless phone doesn’t have a long life off the charger. Usually if the call lasts longer than 45 minutes, the phone will start beeping with impending battery death. This is my cue to say “Oh hell, the phone’s dying! I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

I think the other part of my irritation is that I just plain hate the telephone. I never was the kind of person who could chat for hours on the phone, even when I was a teenager. Oh sure, I’d talk to guys and my friends, but after about ten minutes, I’d start to fidget and want to put the phone down. Is that abnormal? I don’t know. I just know I prefer a face-to-face conversation because then I can read body language. If I say something my conversation partner doesn’t like, I can’t tell by the phone. I also don’t know if they’re rolling their eyes at me (which is a good thing because that means they can’t see me rolling my eyes at them).

So, what I’ve decided to do (horrible, grumpy person that I am), is to ignore the phone while having dinner. Of course this means my family will leave an inappropriate message on the answering machine, or call my cell phone, but at least I’ll have to chance to scarf down my food in relative peace.

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Fantasy Man Friday

Wow, I don’t remember the last time I was so late with a Fantasy Man Friday. Blame it on my being off from work today. Yes, I took a vacation day today and I plan to enjoy it.

I don’t really have anything…well, planned other than writing, cleaning house, and reading. I’ve recently discovered Kaitlyn O’Connor’s sci-fi romances and love them. Really love them. They’re funny, interesting, oh and hot enough to melt  my Kindle.

So there isn’t much to blog about today. The sky is darkening so I’ll have to struggle to do those things I mentioned rather than sleep which is what my body wants to do. I blame the dog for that. On my day off, she woke me up at 6 this morning. I suppose that’s better than my normal 5, but  not by much.

Anyway, Fantasy Man Friday…hm, which lovely man shall I choose today? Let me see…

He looks a little young, but really is that such a bad thing? He’s got to be in his early 20’s…lots of endurance, enthusiasm…and look at the bull tattoo on his arm. Do you suppose that has a special meaning? *tries to peek* I wouldn’t mind finding out! YUMMY!


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It’s Hot As…

Fill in the blank because honestly, I can’t think of what it’s as hot as.

Yesterday I was away from the interwebz, which made me an unhappy camper. To start off, I had a morning meeting which lasted until lunch. Oh sure, lunch was good. Grilled tuna steak that I didn’t have to pay for, but if I had known what I was being buttered up for, I’d have passed on food and slept.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my day job before, but I’m an environmental assistant. Glamorous sounding, huh? Not. I keep track of air permits and limits, water sampling (which means dragging my sorry ass into the rain with a bottle attached to a pole), hazardous waste pick-ups, and environmental audits. When we have inspections, I have to bring whoever wants to look over the facilities out into the yard (no matter what time of day or weather) and let them poke around.

That’s what happened yesterday. First, let me point out that I was dressed…well, not dressed-up, but I was wearing nice clothes and sandals. Luckily for me, my new blouse was very thin because I was sweating the minute I stepped outside. Of course, I had to trade the cute sandals for my steel-toes, but that’s for safety so I won’t complain.

From about 12:45 p.m. to 4:45, I toured our three Louisiana facilities with our environmental consultants. Yes, we had golf carts for each yard, but that doesn’t matter when you stop every minute to look this over, or to take a picture of that. Then if someone happens to see you, they want to know what’s going on (it makes people nervous when they see someone walking around with a camera and a clipboard). Add in the fact that we were three women in yards filled with men and I started to feel like Captain Kirk on an alien planet.

By the time we ended for the day, three well-dressed, well-groomed ladies were sweaty, sunburned, dusty, and exhausted. When I waved them off and got back to my office at nearly 5, I looked at my weather station which gives me the temperature and heat index. Want to know what it said? 115 degree heat index. At nearly 5 p.m.!! Is it any wonder I felt as though I’d been left on a deserted island for weeks? I was dehydrated and, yup, you guessed it: smelly. You already know my feelings on this issue.

I was so exhausted last night, all I managed to eat for supper was a packet of pop-tarts and a glass of milk. Today I’m feeling better, though still tired and so, so glad that this is my last day of work this week. Yup, I’m off tomorrow which means my Fantasy Man Friday will be awesome!

Oh, and on top of the energy-happiness-draining heat, I got a rejection letter yesterday. But I’m not calling it a rejection letter anymore. I’m calling it a not-quite-there letter because it was the best letter declining to represent me I’ve ever had. The agent was, of course, brutally honest about the faults in my manuscript and why she was rejecting it, but she also made me feel hope. She…well, I think she may have liked the story! So okay, yesterday wasn’t a complete bust. Yay!

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I Used to Have Game

Not that kind of game. I was never a smooth flirt or anything. I’m more likely to give a guy a look like “why for are you acting so strange?” than to bat my eyelashes. No, the kind of game I’m talking about is entertainment games.

When I was younger, my cousin contracted leukemia and was part of the Last Wish Foundation. His last wish was to get a Nintendo. He got one and soon every household in our family had one. Mostly so we knew how to play when we’d visit with him. Soon it became an obsession. Mario Brothers, Tetris, Zelda…we were all addicted. My mom was the Zelda queen, my sister the Link master, me? I just liked Tetris.

As time went on, the games changed and I lost interest after Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. I was a teenaged girl. Boys were interesting, I liked being in my room with my music and my books, and I didn’t spend as much time in front of a game system. For several years I didn’t touch a gaming control or even think about them. I looked upon my younger brother’s enthusiasm with contempt and superiority.

My last year of college, I was partying hard. I lived at home and had my own computer so I could do my papers (I chatted…the internets were awesome!). When I left the house to go drinking, my brother would get on my computer. He’d found a new game and was addicted. It got to the point where I was so disgusted I couldn’t get on my own computer, I told him to show me what he was doing.

It was a D&D based game…on-line. I was puzzled. He explained it was called a MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) which still told me nothing. I watched him play and was like…”dude, it’s all text. Aren’t there any pictures?” But it intrigued me. I let him convince me to give it a try. I came up with a name, picked my race (elf) and my guild (druid). I started playing and I was hooked. Instantly.

My final semester of college is a blur of 24-hour gaming and going to class. I rose from a newbie to a Duchess in about four months. In the eleven years I’ve been on the game, I’d been married 3 times, had 2 kids (all in-game), killed twenty-something times, killed fifty-something people, and then became a wizard (one of the MUD builders). I loved it. And if that wasn’t enough, my entire family joined. First it was my mom, then my aunt, then my uncles, then my nephew. We were all on there fighting, stealing from each other, and just plain causing trouble.

The game was based in the UK which meant we were outnumbered, but I like to think we were liked by most of our fellow gamers. Oh sure, some of them thought we were annoying, but I made a lot of friends there. Sometimes I miss the excitement of going up against a demon queen, or the niggling fear when I would see a rogue in the area. I even miss the family dinners we’d have where accusations like “You stole my bag!”, “You killed me! Why did you kill me?”, to “You need to take me xping!” It was great, it was fun and I played so much that my dreams weren’t just me walking around. No, my dreams were of me thinking “north, north, northeast, north, east, east, east…” You get the idea.

Though I haven’t been on the game in about two years, I still keep in touch with my UK friends. That’s probably why I felt I had to blog about this today. Interesting.

So what about you? Do you have game?

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Loud Noises!

A line borrowed from one of my favorite goofy comedies, but really, it’s the truth. Let me explain:

My mother has trouble hearing. A lot of trouble hearing. My dad is half-deaf as well, as is all of his siblings. Mom’s hearing loss is from calcium build up and scar tissue in her ear canals. Dad’s hearing loss is from some weird little bone growing over his eardrum. Is it any wonder, then, that I speak loudly?

They both have hearing aids, but they don’t always work (although I think they have selective hearing as well). Funnily enough, they’ve been divorced for 30+ years, but they each have to be spoken to in the same volume: loud. After nearly 34 years of talking to them, if I don’t forcibly moderate my tone, it can seem like I’m just a very loud and obnoxious person. Okay, so I can be loud and obnoxious.

I’m blogging about this because I’m remembering this weekend. My sister and I were shopping at JCPenney when we stumbled across one of our cousins (my dad’s niece). We start talking and I noticed our stepsister (my dad’s stepdaughter) coming up to us. So there we are, four women in the lingerie department, all talking loudly. Why? Because we’ve all had to deal with deaf relatives.

I’m sure other people in the lingerie department would’ve preferred not hearing about the school shopping woes of two women, the smirking happiness of one woman whose children were all out of school, and one unmarried, childless woman who gives her opinion even when it isn’t asked for. But there you have it. We were chatting. Loudly. We said our goodbyes and as we were walking away, my sister whispers, “God, we’re so loud!”

And it’s true. I can whisper. I did it at my brother’s wedding when my uncle fell asleep in the pew next to me.

Me: Wake up!
Uncle: I wasn’t sleeping.
Me: You were snoring!
Uncle: I was clearing my sinuses.

Or like when my sister and I were shopping and I picked up something off of a top shelf.

Me: Oh my God, Mel, I stink!
Sister: No, you don’t.
Me: Yes, I do! My deodorant wore off, I just know it!
Sister: If your deodorant had worn off, I’d be the first to know and tell you.

These are all whispered conversations, by the way. But I can’t have them with my mom or dad. Talking with them via cell phone is a matter of repeating myself half a dozen times as loudly as I dare without shouting. It gets frustrating, but I do try my best not to get impatient with them.

Of course there are all of the hilarious misunderstandings. Like the time my mom was with my aunt and her daughter. Aunt told her daughter she should be ashamed not picking up her own husband some Burger King like he wanted. Daughter said she wasn’t going to. Aunt said something like, “Well I’m going to give it to him!” My mom gasps in horror and says to aunt: “I can’t believe you said you’re going to give him good! You can’t do that with your daughter’s husband!” *giggles* God love her.

So that’s why I’m loud. Are you loud? Do people stare at you and your family when you go places because it seems like you’re all shouting?

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Where’s Your Head At?

This weekend I went shopping with my patient, ever-helpful older sister. But that’s not really what this post is about even though I’d love to mention how shocked she was when we ended the day with me having…8 huge bags of clothing and she had one teeny tiny bag.

No, today’s post is me wondering where my head is. On my way to meet her in town, I nearly got into a serious wreck which would have been all my fault. Now I’ve done some dumb things in the nearly 20 years I’ve been driving, but lately it’s like my brain isn’t connected when I drive. If there was a snowball’s chance in Hell I was pregnant, I’d think it was hormonal.

In the last five months, I’ve been stopped by a cop, backed into something twice, and nearly wrecked. After so many years of no problems, I’m starting to wonder if there’s something more serious going on in my head. I’m a thinker, so sure I get distracted, but I’ve never been distracted to the point of possibly harming myself or others. My sister seems to think I’m trying to multi-task too much, which I suppose is a possibility.

Most of the time my brain clicks away about whatever project I’m working on which I’ve grown used to. Lately though, it isn’t just my writing that’s distracted me from “real” life although it plays a big part in it. I’m constantly thinking…sort of like this: 

Do I have another rejection waiting in my inbox from an agent and/or editor? How will I save enough vacation time for next Nationals if I’m taking time off this year and for mom’s surgery? Is my dog peeing on the floor? Is my cat peeing on the floor? Did I forget to turn off my straightening iron? What am I going to wear to work tomorrow? What am I going to blog about? Did I put on enough deodorant? What’s the name of that song I wanted to buy when I got home? What e-book will I read next?

It goes on and on, my thoughts tumbling like clothes in the dryer. Most of the time though, I can block some of it and concentrate on whatever I need to do at that moment…like driving. That hasn’t been the case lately, which worries me. Is it adult ADD? I have no clue, but I do jump from project to project when that isn’t the norm for me. I try not to get myself worked up and paranoid over these slips, but after my near miss this weekend, I have to start to wonder.

So, where’s your head at?

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Fantasy Man Friday

Is it just me, or are these Friday’s closer and closer together? I swear we were just starting this year and now it’s half over! Where does the time go? Oh, who cares! Today’s Fantasy Man Friday!

But really, what’s with the passage of time getting quicker and quicker every year? When I was a kid it seemed like the days never ended, I never aged fast enough (16 was my preferred age…but if I had to choose now it’d be 25), and everything took forever to happen. Now that I’m in my 30’s, it feels like I blink and the year is nearly over.

This is especially true about Nationals. It was a vague idea, like “Oh cool, it’s in July. I have plenty of time to shop, prepare myself, blah, blah, blah.” And now it’s July and I only have a couple of weeks to make myself presentable. Argh! What I wouldn’t do to be a kid again and everyday took forever. *sigh*

Anyway, you’re really not here to listen to me blather on about the good ole days. I know. So I’m going to move onto the real reason you’re here…the Fantasy Man. I realized this morning that it’s been a while since I’ve posted a dirty boy. Then I found this guy…

Hmm, he’s very dirty…and gritty. And you just have to love how the dirt highlights his abs and that bellybutton. Do you suppose he’ll be posed just like that in Orlando? Maybe by one of the pools at the hotel? I think if he were, it would either cause a riot, or a lot of romantic writers to run to their rooms…to write of course! Sheesh, you people are perverted!

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Drawing A Blank

I’ve sat here for about an hour trying to come up with something to blog about and I’m still not sure what to talk about.

Most of the time, ideas will spark as I’m driving, or getting ready in the morning. Sometimes, I’ll have a brilliant idea while checking my e-mail or Facebook. Today though, none of that has sparked anything good to blog about. My brain is a whirlwind of things I have to do before Nationals.

The only thing I can think of that’s remotely funny, was the song I sang as I showered. For some reason, I was singing Baby Come Back with a Spanish accent like the mariachi band in the Swiffer commercial. Yes, I was. Cookie the Hut was sitting on the bathroom cabinet peeking around the shower curtain at me as I soaped up, singing as loudly as I could. She did that tilt-her-head-this-way…no, mom still looks/sounds weird…tilt-her-head-that-way…nope, still weird until I finally stopped.

Really, the only one who appreciates my singing is my dog. All I have to do is start singing her version of Super Freak and she comes running.

She’s a very fuzzy girl,
The kind you don’t take from her mama.
And she never lets your spirits down,
Once you can get her out of bed.

What? You don’t sing to your pets? Those poor things. My animals have their own songs. Ty, the cranky 12-year-old cat, has her own theme song. When I see her walking across the living room, I instantly start singing Maneater by Hall & Oats. Cookie gets her own little rap song, “She’s the C to the double O-K-I-E!”

But the cats don’t appreciate my voice. They stare at me like I’ve gone insane and walk away. Or run up to me and get in my face to make me stop. Ingrates. No, my Mia is the only one who gets all happy and excited when I sing. It doesn’t really matter what I sing either. And no, she isn’t deaf.

Huh, how do you like that? I actually found something to talk about!

So do you sing to your pets? You should if you don’t. I hear it helps them grow. Or is that plants?

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Cubs, Cougars, & Pumas, Oh My!

So I’ve gotten over the Twilight fever. I had it for a good while although not as long as some people I know. I suppose I ruined it for myself by reading articles analyzing the story, or reading Dan Bergstein’s blogging the entire Twilight series, or simply coming out of the fog. Whatever the reason, I’m not as enamored of the stories as I was when I read them. I also haven’t seen the last two movies, not from a lack of interest, but because I just haven’t had the chance. (Don’t stab me with your stilettos! I’ll get to it when I can, honest.)

Anyway, my co-workers have seen Eclipse and had to rhapsodize over it at work. Of course, this lead the men in the office to spouting the usual phrases you’ll hear when men feel threatened: ‘They’re so gay.’ ‘That Edward dude is gay.’ ‘Ha, Jacob’s a gaybird going around without his shirt on.’ Now, I’m not into the series anymore, but even I can see that this is just begging for a comeback. I told one of the ladies to ask them if the men were gay when they’re working in their yards without their shirts. Yeah, that didn’t go over well.

See it all boils down to jealousy and a sense of inadequacy. Women get this feeling nearly all the time when our men drool over some cute young thing at the store, or say, ‘That Jessica Alba…*grunt*’. When the tables are turned on them, it gets sticky. But even more than that, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have more cubs (under 30 females), pumas (30-40 females), and cougars (over 40 females) after them than wounded rabbits.

Has there ever been such mass hysteria over two young men before? Oh sure, The Beatles were pretty hot back in the day, but they appealed to the younger women who were into rock and roll. Edward and Jacob appeal to women of all ages! It’s partly the books, of course. The Twilight series spans generations, gives mothers and daughters (and even grandmothers and granddaughters) something in common. When you add the movies with two physically fit, attractive young men into the mix…well, you’ve got a recipe for estrogen overload.

You all know how much I adore my Fantasy Men, so I definitely see the appeal and completely understand the drool factor. This weekend my sister and I were walking the mall and saw two life-size cutouts of the guys. Edward, all pale and fierce looking.

Jacob, dark, hot…animalistic. I asked her which one she preferred (she hasn’t read the books or seen the movies). She said Jacob. I agreed with her. That’s just me though. I do understand the Edward appeal, but Jacob…oh my…he’s an animal. Really! How hot is that? Edward though, from what I’ve been told by my co-workers, looks like he knows what to do with a woman. Personally, I wouldn’t mind teaching Jacob what to do because you know he’d be enthusiastic and energetic. *cough*

Anyway, what the Twilight series has done (books & movies) is bridge the generational gap and bring women together for a single purpose: to ogle two sexy young men. It’s also turned a nation of men against said young men. Which is a shame really. I don’t say anything about Angelina Jolie, or Scarlett Johansson when guys around me are talking about them. They’re both beautiful women (although I think Scarlett is much prettier than Angelina) and I can admire that.

Men!

So…I know this is going to cause a flurry of comments, but I have to ask two very important questions: What do you like about the Twilight series? And…Team Edward or Team Jacob?

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Panic Bound

As the blood finally starts to flow back to my brain from a lovely three day weekend, I realize that Nationals is just around the corner! Well…sort of…okay, not really. It’s still three weeks away, but it feels much closer than that.

This morning, as I gulped my coffee, I frantically tried to think of what I was going to wear. Really people, this is what I did at five o’clock this morning. I started counting outfits in my brain.

Okay, I have those two blouses, oh and those other two I bought last year for that other conference, but what about pants? Are cargos cool to wear for a conference? They damn well better because I don’t want to sweat. Oh my God, what about my shoes? How am I going to fit all of my shoes in two suitcases? Okay, I just won’t bring the boots (I’d kill myself in them anyway). Oh man…what about my make-up and my Chi? ARGH!

Because now I realize I have to go shopping. I really hate shopping, y’all. It chafes my butt. I hate trying on clothes because I think everything I try on sucks. Now if I’m shopping for someone else, I’m all into it. Me? Everything sucks. I look like a heifer. That makes my butt look big. This makes me look like a ghost. I’m not wearing THAT, it’s hideous!

I find so much to complain about when I’m looking for “dressy” clothes. If it’s jeans and T-shirts, I will grab at will because dude…it’s T-shirts! Those are always in style and comfortable and you can get them in so many sizes!

And jeans? Well…okay, jeans are a little harder for me. I’m 5’4″ which is a respectable height, I guess, but I have a lot of junk in my trunk. Finding clothes that fit the butt don’t fit the waist, or are too long and I don’t sew. But I will wear baggy jeans with no problem. It’s a product of my grunge youth. I actually have a pair of jeans I wear to work that I can put on and take off without unbuttoning and I’m cool with that. I just don’t put anything in my pockets.

But apparently we’re supposed to look profession at the conference. At least that’s what I understand. I wonder if authors of yore had this problem? I would’ve thought being a tortured writer meant you could dress…you know, eccentrically. I can do eccentric! I have some of those very baggy strappy pants teenagers used to wear (before skinny jeans). I can do the…well, okay maybe not. I am 34.

Eh. I’m going to give myself grey hair over this, I just know it. Of course you’ll never see the grey hair because I’m going to color it. So that’s okay. But clothes…meh. I suppose I’ll find something, but if you see me limping around it’s because of the shoes. If you see me pulling at my blouse, it’s because the collar/material/cut of it is killing me. If you see me pouting, it’s probably because my jeans and T-shirts are at home…waiting for me to return.

What do you worry about for conferences? And isn’t it strange that I’m more worried about this than I am about meeting agents and the like?

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