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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Poor, poor pitiful me.


Reasons:

1. The Flirtin' Fir.

It sings, wiggles, bobs around (the marabou feathers add a lot with a kind of drifting effect) The star on the top -- slightly wonky off to the side --lights up. So do the bulbs all over it. And the ones on the base. The song is "Santa Baby" lithped in baby talk. We can get one phrase "Santa Baby" -- the rest is grating, high pitched gibberish. The boys press the on button to listen and try to figure out the lyrics. Often. **

The pink high heels. The random pink string. The glittering green cloth body. The not-quite-on-key horn accompaniment.

Thank you, L. I know where you live.


2. That puzzle.

1,500 pieces. The boy seems to be doing it. He's just messing up all the pieces I've turned over. I hate puzzles but I can't leave them alone.


3. YOU people.

I'm extending the contest a day or two. Granted, the entries I've gotten are pretty high quality, but more would be good.

Come on, ya lazy lubbers. If you don't enter, I know who you are. I'll randomly send one of you non-entrants the tree. Be afraid. To save yourself, enter. (Megan? Don't forget, I've now got your address at hand. No need to do the cyber-stalking thing.)

_______________

** Boy 1 looked up the lyrics. They're worse than we'd imagined.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Dear Me

Dear People Who Sent Me Christmas Cards,

You know who you are.

I know who many of you are. I don't know all of you and I wonder how you got my address.** But I won't worry about that until you send me pictures of yourself nekkid. Right now I like the Santas and whatnot. I'll just say:

1. I love Christmas Cards. Or Holiday Cards.
2. Don't expect one from me, because apparently I'm incapable of sending them.
3. Thank you.

XXOO

Kate

________________________

**Or if you really meant to write to me. One of you said you loved my books and listed a title I don't recognize.

I should not be so nice to you

So very many of you have NOT ENTERED MY CONTEST. But here. I've got a flipping halo over my head and will share anyway. Make this AFTER ENTERING THE CONTEST.


I made the best chocolate pie. Ever. It had a pint of heavy cream in it. There were a coupla cups of skim milk, too. I invented it and will now share it with you because I'm just too great.

Make a graham cracker crust. (Standard crust: 1/4 butter melted, 1 sleeve graham crackers. Maybe a bit of cinnamon and sugar. Grind up or have kids stomp on ziplock bag carefully. Press into pan with your fingers. Don't lick em while you do this. Gross. Bake in oven for about ten minutes)

Use Oreos instead of graham crackers if you're feeling decadent. Or if you have a food processor, add some chocolate chips to the graham crackers.

Filling: Usually I just make ganache and pour it into shell and that's that. But I wanted more filling because I had a bigger pie pan and I wanted something that wouldn't freeze up so hard. genache? ganache? recipe:
coupla tablespoons of butter.
Lots of semi sweet chocolate. Maybe two cups of chips? or maybe 5 semisweet cooking squares? You can do as much chocolate as you want. Seriously.
Grind butter and and chocolate in food processor.
Take 1 - 1/2 cups of boiling heavy cream and pour over chocolate and butter as it processes.
Set aside for a longass time and you have perfect frosting or truffles whatever. . . OH while you're getting the cream hot, add a couple of tablespoons of sugar and let it melt with the cream heating up (Or use corn syrup if you don't want to bother with that melting stuff)

Back to my chocorat pie. . Make genache. Pour a smidge over bottom of pie shell to make a layer.

Now make pudding: 2 cups of milk. about 3 tablespoons of corn starch and a whole lot of unsweetened cocoa (4 squares of unsweetened cooking chocolate works--maybe even better--that's what I usually use, but I didn't have any yesterday). Anyway, add enough cocoa to taste, I guess. And about 2/3 cup sugar. also to taste.

Stirring a whole lot, bring the mix to boil (you need a whisk to make sure the cocoa and corn starch don't gloop up).

Once it starts to thicken, turn down heat, kkkkkkeeeeeep stirring for a coupla minutes. Voila! This is great pudding. Homemade chocolate pudding! Good stuff.

I make both these things (pudding and genache) all the time. But I've never mixed them before. I did yesterday and It's flipping fantastic. It's ambrosia. Great texture and flavor. OOOhhhhhh I forgot. I whisked in two egg yolks to the pudding stuff before I heated it up. Just because we had too many eggs (dh and I both bought some. That's why I used some of the milk too--we did the six gallons of milk thing. Again.).

Mix pud and genache together. Dump into shell on top of your genache layer. Cool a longazz time--a few hours at least. Whip that last 1/2 cup of cream with a bit of sugar and vanilla. Coat pie. Add chocolate shavings if you give a hoot about it looking good. Eat. It. YUM. Seriously. If I didn't have kids around, I probably would have added some kahlua or coffee to the whole thing and maybe added another egg yolk because. . .well, because.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Over at Bitches You Get Romance Covers Gone Wildly Bad

What could be worse? How about truly wonky holy depictions? There are plenty out there but just in time for the holidays really skeeeeeery natitivity scenes. Here's a goodie, literally. Marshmallow Mary and Baybee Jesus! Give us smores for the holidays.

Disclaimer for Bill O'Reilly: I love creches. Yeah, we weren't exactly Christians -- we weren't much of anything. But when I was a kid, one of my favorite people in the world was Christian -- and she made creches out of clay. She made one for me and told me how to set it up. I loved the fact that the little manger would stay empty, everyone in the scene sitting around waiting, until Christmas morning. Then . . . ta da! The little lump depicting Jesus would appear. (They were very small creches)

Almost forgot: ENTER THE CONTEST or I'll turn our thermostat down to 50. Don't make my kids shiver in the cold!

yet another version of Summer's cover



It's different from this one. Can you see the change?

No capital L in Futurelove!


HEY YOU--ENTER THE FLIPPING CONTEST or I'll eat those chocolate truffles and probably get adult onset diabetes or something. Boy, won't you feel bad then.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bah

What? Being festive means you can't enter contests? What's the matter? Afraid Bill O'Reilly might think you're not Christmas Enough if you get competitive?

Enter my contest and enter Lori's too. Hers is actually useful--it's all about gift giving. Kind of Martha Stewart on the cheap.

To add to the incentive she's also throwing in a prize. Whoever has the best list, as picked by the elves at the RU Blog, will win two of the following: Get Bunny Love by Kathleen Long, Lady of the Knight by Jackie Ivie, Unlaced by Kristina Cook, Love is All Around by Lori Devoti or Prince of Frogs by Barbara Plum.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Biographical Contest

I've been interviewed a few times and have gotten to blather on All About Me. . . and during the interviews I even told a version of the truth.

What a mistake, a waste of paper and bandwidth. Oh, how I wish I'd thought of this method instead. I should have asked the public to come up with my biography instead-- a la Liz at blondsense: Bugger. I can't seem to link to the memories, which are the best part. Does this work? (Yes! thank you, Liz)

You post a comment with a made-up, as in fictional, memory of you and the subject. It can be anything you want. Good or bad, it has to be fake.

IF this were a group blog, I'd definitely aim it at someone else.

I'm tempted to make you all post memories of you and Candy or maybe you and Doug. **

Heck, why not. . . Make it pg-13 at most, please.

Pick one of the players: Doug, or Candy and write a memory. The best one gets socks or mittens (I have a lovely pair all picked out-- my Fredneckian friend never identified herself in the last sox give-away. Bad girl.) I'm going to find an impartial judge (maybe Liz or Mule will do it). Doug and Candy can enter but only if they write about the other biographical subject.

And I think it'll end maybe ....ummmmmm in a week.


___________

**legal fine print: If either Doug or Candy start to whine, I'll change the player.

the stranger sex

Me: So why are you using a heating pad on your knee?
DH: It hurts.
Me: Yeah, but you've been using the pad every day for almost a week. Maybe you should call Marcy the Wonder Doc.
DH: I'm going to see the physical therapist on Friday.
Me: Huh? But I thought we couldn't do that without a referral from Marcy.
DH: She gave me a referral last week.
Me: Wait a sec. I thought this only started a few days ago. How long has your knee hurt?!??
DH: A while. Started more'n a month ago.
Me: Why didn't you say anything?
DH: You didn't ask.
Me: [cursing and snorting]
Me:So tell me, darling, how's your elbow.
DH: fine.
Me: Your head? Your neck? Your foot? Your heart? Your stomach? Your liver? Your--
DH: okay, okay.

It could be a response to my not-feeling-well style: broadcasting medical updates every few hours. ("I still have a headache but now my throat isn't hurting.") I think it's more that he's a stoic=silly goof. We have to guess from his thin lips or his occasional sharp inhalation or his wretched nasty mood that he's in pain.

Today I'm glad he doesn't read my blog.

Monday, December 19, 2005

no, no bitches today

I have to figure out helium use in the future, okay? I'm busy. At least I stopped trying to write fluff and am working on another story about a lost person. Whoopee!

I can't manage to bitch, so here's the cheesecake.

Crust 1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter

Ganache 1 1/2 cups whipping cream (I have better luck with heavy cream, don't know why)
20 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup KahlĂșa or other coffee-flavored liqueur

Filling
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark rum (or Kahlua! Hey, it's for Beth, right?)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (medium-coarse grind)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
4 large eggs
Topping1 1/2 cups sour cream1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Espresso coffee beans (optional)

Want to know the rest? Go here.

Or how about this one.

Suisan's meme

Turns out I really love to do these things. I wonder why.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die:
1. The stuff I do every day. I like it.
2. Go back to a tropical place.
3. Go on a long bike ride, even though I'll be on my ol' granny bike.
4. Get more book contracts.
5. Develop some more interesting ambitions.
6. Okay--I'll go for something standard. Write an excellent book that has staying power.. and, duh, that's a best seller.
7. Win the lottery and give away almost all of it to complete strangers.

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Exercise regularly for more than a couple of months before the routine falls apart.
2. Be chirpy in the morning.
3. Sing a tune when other people are singing a different tune. Rounds are out.
4. Give up certain harmful addictions.
5. Skate, ski or anything that requires a good sense of balance.
6. Stop reading blogs.
7. Find a reasonable plot for this book I'm writing.

Seven Things That Attract Me To My Spouse (or Significant Other, Best Friend, etc.)
1. He is funnier than almost anyone else on the planet.
2. He's got a strong moral code but usually knows when he needs to allow for human mistakes (except maybe his own?).
3. He makes a killer apple pie.
4. When I really need him, he's there. Usually.
5. The kids are still intimidated by him. No, sounds bad, but boyoboy, I need that.
6. He's got fantastic runner's legs.
7. Despite the wicked sense of humor he tells the worst jokes. Over and over. Hmmm. Is that attraction? Sure. Dang I wish he read my blog.

Seven Things I Say (or Write) Most Often:
1. No, I mean it. Stop that. Now.
2. I'm counting to three.
3. Stop.
4. Watch out. I'm getting angry now. I mean it.
5. Oh you are such a good dog. (in a syrupy voice.)
6. Yowza dude.
7. uh oh.

Seven Books (or Series) I love:
1. The OED
2. Anything by Sarah Caudwell
3. Nearly everything by Judith Ivory.
4. The stack of old Doonesbury books in the bathroom. I just wish they didn't seem so timely again.
5. At the moment-- Terry Pratchett
6. New York City Guide of 1893
7. When I'm sick--PG Wodehouse or Benson's Mapp and Lucia books


Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
I don't particularly like to watch movies over and over, but there are some I don't mind...most of them are kids' movies because kids are the ones who enjoy that kind of thing and I hang out with them.

1. Philadelphia Story, except the parts when her pig of a father blames her for his philandering. But the drunk scene? Makes up for it.
2. Pie-rats of the Carribean.
3. Muppet Treasure Island it's really not bad.
4. Princess Bride
5. Nightmare Before Christmas a family tradition
7. His Girl Friday hey, Suisan! I added that to my list before I rechecked yours! ha. I just watched it two nights ago.


People I Want To Join In (Be Tagged)
I don't know seven people who haven't done this one. You go ahead and grab it if you want!

Friday, December 16, 2005

The evil stroller

I dredged up this story when I read Bookseller Chick today--she talked about strollers as The Enemy. Yes, I, too, have loathed a stroller.

When I was preggers with boy 3, my friends got together and bought us a fabulous jogger stroller. It was used, but just barely. A primo machine. It sort of looked like this, only more stripped down. That thing was nimble and super fast--made for athletes so it didn't have a handy little basket underneath or brakes.

Know where I'm going with this already?

The boy was born in February and I soon discovered that the fab stroller actually worked in snow, unlike any stroller I'd ever owned (and by boy 3, I'd owned a lot of those things. I hated driving and we lived downtown in a compact little city. Could walk everywhere to anything).

One day, the baby and I dropped boy 2 at preschool and walked home. He fell asleep so I pulled the stroller onto the front porch. As I turned to put the key in the door lock, the stroller, that nimble lil thing without brakes, rolled backwards. Before I could turn around to catch it, the thing had bumped down the stairs. It crossed the sidewalk and was in the street before I caught up.

We lived on a fairly busy street back then, but the gods were on my side that day.

I unbuckled the still sleeping baby. I opened the car door and carefully put him in his car seat. And then I beat the holy shit out of the stroller.
I kicked it.
I hit it.
I think I bit the padded handle.
I had never before or since ever so completely needed to kill a thing (or person). I only stopped beating on the stroller when a car passing me slowed down and someone rolled down the window. Grabbing the baby, I fled the scene, leaving the damn stroller on the sidewalk. I dragged it inside later.

After that . . .well, everyone else who used it probably wondered why the stroller never really worked as well as those fancy machines were supposed to.

If you're one of my good friends who gave me that great present, sorry. But someone had to pay for almost killing my baby and I wasn't into beating myself up.

Today's Fab Blog Find

by way of The General, Fafnir. Yes it has a big chunk of left wing political posting, but if you don't like that, don't give up. Slide down for another entry. It'll be worth it.

The email I sent this morning (from a winter wimp)

Hi School People,

This is the second time in the last couple of years you guys have decided to hold school when there was a layer of ice on the ground. Personally, I'd much rather haul the kids through snow than over this stuff. We live a block from school--my kid fell four times and I fell twice (ow, ow). More seriously--as we walked, a car stopping too fast at the corner of A___ and F___ slid and almost jumped the curb.

Now I'm going back to school to take a change of clothing to him because he got thoroughly soaked when he fell . . . but before I slide out of here, I thought I'd whine at you some: Cancel school on ice days. Please. I know the world doesn't look particularly menacing when it's just icy rain and not lots of the scenery-transforming white stuff, but believe me, it's a scary place out there just now.

limping back to school (by car this time),

Kate Rothwell

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Summer Devon's second book

Two things about Summer's new book:

1. It's going to be available earlier than I'd expected--January instead of April.

2. It's got a cover. I really like it--posers, major man-titty and all. The mood fits a moment in the story, too.

I whined about another, earlier cover the art people sent me because I thought the posers' limbs were bizarre and both figures floated over the couch. (What is with that, anyway? is it matter of shadows?)

anyway. . . here's the new one.
The art department didn't tell me to stick my opinions where the sun don't shine. They didn't even politely ignore me. They actually changed the cover and anchored the characters on the couch. I think they're even going to change it again because the title doesn't have a capital "L". They caught that. I didn't.

I have to get a review copy to send to Mrs. Giggles because she inspired the story. Besides, she hasn't savaged Summer yet. ("Savage Summer" Now there's a great title)
cover by Syneca

writing

I don't like one of my character's name so I went hunting for a better one. I found two great tools.

This one actually helps with the names. Sort of.
here are the first four entries:
Aaron - ugly but hung like a horse, prone to belly button fluff.
Able - totally useless.
Adam - not very bright and not very pretty, has almost mastered hygiene.
Adrian - usually short and very horny, watches cartoons

update: to prevent the appearance of a sexist blog, I'll also lift the first four women's names:

Abby - agony aunt, always willing to explain about your confused sexuallity.
Ada - blue haired, smells of wee.
Adie - quiet and shy, but when you get to know her .. quiet and shy.
Adrianna - eats like a horse yet incredibly scrawny, her girlfriends all hate her.

I just downloaded Babylon's little free tool and have been playing with it (messing about with translating into German, Swedish, Spanish and French--all in the same cute little window). So far I think it's great. We'll see if it gums up the computer works. I think there was a real reason I needed that for the book I'm writing, but by now I have lost that thread.

Okay, back to finding a male name. I'm not sure I want a character prone to belly button fluff. . .

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

ohhhh the weather outside is frightful

Walking to school rituals. . .

We sing every morning as we pass the giant tacky snowman ball in front of our neighbor's house. Inside the globe a manically grinning snowman family stands around under blowing white stuff. "Let It Snow" is written in christmasy font on the front of the snowball. We must sing. Too bad we don't know the lyrics.

A few houses down, Boy 3 and I pass the head-bobbing lit-up reindeer doe. More than a week ago I made the mistake of pointing out that it looked like a cat tossing up a hairball. Boy 3 must now make HURK HURK sounds as we pass that.

I love Christmas decorations.

This morning we added another ritual to the walk. We turned the corner and for the second day in a row, a blast of wind hit us. Whoa momma. Since the temperature is hovering at about 5 degrees, this is a big event. We yelled "Oh LAWSY!" yesterday and we did today, too. I feel sorry for the Hurricane Katrina evacuee who's staying across the street. he might have enjoyed the foot of snow we got a few days ago (which is still hanging around) but by now he thinks he's landed in a pit of a frigid hell.

Why do you care about this? I doubt you do, but I'll stop walking boy 3 to school someday soon. And maybe I'll be smart enough to keep this to remember it wasn't just a lot of whining.

Now I have to go thaw out my legs, get my travel mug of coffee and go to work.

Does this scare the bejeebers out of you?

It should give you the kohlrahbis. Patriot act, my eye. Chunks are downright unpatriotic for a country that values personal freedom. I can't find a mainstream source about how political protestors are going to be shoved into special areas from now on--that's another fun aspect of the act I've seen mentioned on less reliable sources. And that protects us how?

When I was 16, my mother, her old Russian teacher and I visited the Soviet Union. We broke off from the tour group to visit a family my mother knew. When I started to say something in the apartment hallway, everyone at once made hushing sounds. My mother even put her hand over my mouth. Later on she explained that the family might get in trouble if it became known they had American visitors. . .

Right now it's too easy to imagine a scenerio like that in this country. Neighbors encouraged to turn in neighbors who have "foreign looking" people visiting them. I find that prospect far scarier than a bunch of Quakers holding a protest. Quakers, for heaven's sake.

UPDATE: Here's one way to try to stop the TEMPORARY PATRIOT ACT from becoming PERMANENT.

Monday, December 12, 2005

forget the politics, just check out the prose

The most breathtakingly snarky start to a political diatribe I've ever read.

Look, I'm going to make this simple. As simple as I can possibly make it. As simple as the laws of physics allow. I'm going to venture into the madness of the primitive mind, and make it "Dumbass Republican**" simple. I'm going to travel to far-off mental realms, and bring back a map to the Fountain of Simplicity. I'm going to board the U.S.S. Really Fucking Simple, and snag you a seat at the captain's table. I'm going to go to the Republic of Simple, and bring you back a T-shirt. I'm going to call up the Home Shopping Network, and buy you a goddamn Clue at the special sale price of one hundred thirty seven dollars, which is a good deal considering that they have less than two hundred cases left at that price.

I am going to journey past the Singularity of Stupid that has lodged itself in the shared cortex of the planet, fighting the demons of Mental Craptitude that seek to bring about the Dumbass Rapture and Moronic Apocalypse, and bring you the most cherished jewel of all: A Functional Goddamned Synapse.

-Ahem-


if you want to read the rest of it, head to dailykos. But it's a let-down because nothing will ever measure up to this invective. It's a gift, dude.

________________

** I actually considered editing this because I don't want any Republican readers to be insulted or hurt -- not to mention they might not be able to enjoy some really primo insults. I hope you can get past the name-calling to enjoy the talent.

Some Days You're Music Hall, Some Days You're Not

Damn, I wish I'd saved my nub rant for SBD. Perfect one, huh? Anyway, the bitches have the subject of the nickname (Love Nubbin Jolie Pitt) settled. I'm using that phrase first chance I get. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll get sued and that'll give my book some fab publicity.

Another Attempt at SBD: romance schmomance
( or, I'll pass on the gothick, thank you)


I'm writing a book instead of cleaning the house. But my poor characters are going down, down for the third time.

I strive for more PG Wodehouse. ‘I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is mine, making a musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going right deep down into life and not caring a damn…’

I want musical comedy. I strive for fluff. I believe in dark and light, but I prefer producing fluff.

Usually I can shape the same reality into any number of patterns. Even non-fiction romance can be messed with. Hey, I had the opportunity to observe a chunk of a marriage that lasted fifty-five years. Over the course of years, I viewed that marriage in a variety of ways.

1. a tragic linking of two utterly different people. Both came from homes bereft of love and they should never have married. They had no common interests; they did not respect one anothers' strengths; they loved but did not like one another (actually they thought I was very clever when I presented that viewpoint to them...yikes). One showed frightening rages that alienated his family, even as he pursued his partner for displays of affection that she could not give. . . she was incapable. A struggle that was never resolved and that meant neither partner could ever be emotionally fulfilled.

2. a 55-year relationship that remained strong and loving despite hard times. The two people involved never really understood one another but they were loyal to the very end. At his deathbed, his last words were worrying about her. She went into a decline after his death and in her dementia occasionally asked about him. When reminded by a clueless daughter that he was dead, she cried again as if the pain was fresh.

3. Two people who were entirely clueless about the nature of love due to their upbringing but who managed to bumble along for 55 years. No, wait, let's make it even more heart warming. . .His rants were funny as hell, her quirky retreat into vague answers were silly and endearing. . . he provided emotion, she provided thought and together they made a single wonderful loving unit (dumb word, but you get the idea).


Interview with the author:

Which scenerio would you rather write?
The last one, by far.

Which do you feel you can write convincingly?
Today? Maybe the second, but probably only the first.

Which one do you believe hold the seeds of truth?
I think all three are true--and they're just a start. I could think about my parents' interactions and come up with even more views. PLUS bet there are dozens of other observers (my brother who's 14 years older than me for instance would have an entirely different view--as would my sister who's 10 years younger than me.). They could probably truthfully describe the same relationship in a way that would not even resemble mine.

How can all three views be true?
Fifty-five years is a long-ass time. But that's not the real reason--they could manage to show all three sorts of relationships in a single hour, depending on the observer.

What's your point?
I'm Henrik Ibsen today, not Metzger. I wanna be Metzger, dammit!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

An XXXX website ..warning, contains images!

Go on, click on the thumbnails. They're work-safe. No, I'm really not trying to get you fired.



* * * *


Huh?
My boss called to say we're getting some new refugees--Turkish women.

I tend to scan the news for wars and unrest because I know that we'll be getting some in a year or so. And sure enough, we've gotten Darfur/Sudanese, Somalians, Liberians, Afghans, and, until a couple of years ago, Bosnians. But Turkey? Are there kurdish people there, too? because from my hazy knowledge of this stuff, kurds tend to be unpopular in a lot of places, kind of like Jews.** I assume they're not Jews because some group?? Jewish Family Services?? is extremely active (and amazingly good at their work) in this area and more likely to step in to help.

Something happen in Turkey in the last couple of years? I guess I better go google.


____________________________

**I was a kid in DC, back when a synagogue near Connecticut Ave had a big sign that read "SAVE SOVIET JEWRY" Someone had spray-painted Win Valuable Prizes! under that. I thought that was the funniest damn thing I'd ever seen.

don't eat somosas before bed

dream one--I went to Arkansas to help Mrs. H with her kids and she didn't want to see me. Another woman, I think it was Bronwhine, met me at the door. She announced we were going to a Harry Potter movie and that after the movie, she was driving me to England. Got to love dream geography.

dream two--an editorial assistant at a publisher called to tell me that there was no point in ever submitting to them again; they were cutting many of their authors. Oh, yes indeed, I was most definitely cut. I forgot to ask her if they were going to even publish the book I'd sent to them and they'd already accepted.




[insert big-ass space, indicating big-ass change of topic, here]



There is a whole lot of talk on the liberal blogs about this.--transportation of dead soldiers. I tried to imagine being one of the dead soldier's parents and I don't think I would feel outrage at the mode of transportation--where else could they put the corpses? It would be the boy's senseless death that would be my undoing. After that . . . the rest wouldn't matter.

(as Neil Shakespeare said, " 'Be the first one on the block / to have your boy come home in a box.' Nothing's changed since Country Joe and the Fish.")

Saturday, December 10, 2005

we's tough 'round here.

from today's Hartford Courant:

"It's pretty routine," West Hartford Town Manager Barry Feldman said. "If we can't figure out six inches of snow in New England, we all ought to move to Augusta, Ga."

I love Mr. Feldman. Seriously. The guy produces the best town council notes I've ever read. I'm going to start a Barry Feldman fan club (and I plan on remaining an active member even after I move to Augusta, Ga).

Friday, December 09, 2005

8 boring things about a rahthah boring day . . today

1. At 5:30 am, not a flake had fallen.
2. By 6:30 am, the schools had closed and there were at least two inches. (Now more'n 12")
3. I still haven't shoveled outside--inside, yes. Some of us still need to learn about taking off boots before wandering around the house.
4. What's with Children These Days? I have to shove boyz outside to play. I toss out the tobaggans and tubes. Lock the door. Scream "GO SLEDDING" through the keyhole.
5. That plastic shrink wrap stuff for insulating bad windows is extremely cool. It is kinda trashy for this neighborhood. . . Yet another advantage.
6. Boyz reappear within an hour, suffering from computer withdrawal.
7. I want more coffee.
8. Before I grind the beans, I will blast windows with brand new hairdryer. Dual purpose: gets windows smooth and drives boys from computer room. This window treatment makes me think about the past, too. That's always fun.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My Kids' Current Favorite Comic

http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/GiantITP/ootscript?SK=253

( . . . and they love Harry Potter too. Love is not blind in this case.)

Dear Miss Manners

So here's a poser: You rat out your neighbors to an invading army--in fact you are the one to knock on their door with the soldiers behind you. You are directly responsible for your neighbors losing their home, their possessions, their freedom, their two sons who are still missing. Because you marked them as "enemy" (the wrong religion) the father is taken away, stripped, beaten and left for dead and ten years later is still something of a limping basket case. The rest of the family spends three years in prisons and then another five in refugee camps.

Skip ahead. . . Peace has come to the land. You still live in your house and the now ex-neighbors return to your town. What do you say when you see the father wandering around their old homestead--the house was burned to the ground, and the farm now belongs to one of the invaders?

"Hey, hello! How ya doin?"

Yup. You actually go up to the man and put out your hand to shake. Too bad the father can't really shake hands because his hand was so badly mangled during the beating and in the prison camp. When he turns away without speaking, you say in a hurt voice, "well, no hard feelings on my side, anyway."


Today, over coffee, Fikreta tried to describe that part of her father's visit back to Srebenica. Her English failed but I did get the gist of the story.

I always thought the people who had the guilt on their consciences would ultimately fare worse than the other survivors of war, but now I think they probably manage to transform the guilt into something more palatable so they can sleep better.

It's got to be nice to be able to think that the other guy was just plain rude when you meet up again.

* * * *

Speaking of intolerance on a much smaller scale, looks like we're not gonna be getting one o' they Ford vans** next time we go car shopping.

Ford has been listening to the voice of hatred. Too damn scary when any company is willing to listen to a group that apparently exists to exclude sizeable chunks of the population -- especially when they conduct that exclusionary hatred in the name of religion.




________

** "one o' they Ford vans" is a literary allusion. A pair o' socks to anyone who ID's it correctly.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I blogged at Romance Unleashed

something of a whine of course.

* * * *

random thing:
Study Links Bake Sales, Weight Problems I mostly like the headline.


* * * *

R-(or X?)rated random thing:

'k. I just read another historical romance (mainstream, as in not advertised as erotica) that had a long description of the guy's "manroot". Color, size, shape, texture--everything was dwelt upon in great detail. And for the woman? She had a "slit". Ha. Didn't even rate a delicate hued flower or tuna-scented lovenest.

And anyway, here's the thing, the vagina is the one part romance rioters go on about. "tight velvet sheathe." Granted, it's part of the package and plays a big role in those graphic love scenes, but since we're talking female pleasure and the female audience for romances, shouldn't there be excruciating detailed scenes starring the clit? Or at least a passing mention of size or something? Something more than "nub" What a word. Nub. (TMI-time: I've been told I have a small one. I would have preferred "dainty" of course. I dunno. A couple of times when I was younger and didn't have children, I got out the mirror and had a look. [I don't think it was the having babies that made me give up checking myself out. It was probably having children who would naturally wander in a the wrong moment. "Ma, what the heck are you doing?"])

It's not like we women can check out each other's naughty bits in the locker room. How else are we straight women supposed to know that our equipment is up to par if we don't have romance or erotica writers telling us what we're supposed to look like? They've been ruining male sex organs' egos for years. Time to set us females straight too.

* * * *

I was going to rant about sweatshirts and boys' inability to locate the lost and found, but I think I'll just go back to writing. I'm due to murder someone and I always enjoy that.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

dog

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I missed that Thursday thang

PBW and Monica marked Blog Against Racism day. So did Beth ("Please don't be a racist.")

For anyone who thinks that it's not a real issue these days, here's an article to help change your mind. Dang, I hope GAF takes its business elsewhere. Lovely if Walmart lost 50,000 dollah for obvious idiocy.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Chances are

Okay, so, what the heck kind of parent would name his/her kid "Chance" or "Slade"?

I've been sorting books in my house (moving them from plastic bags into cardboard boxes) and have discovered TWO of them feature heroes named Chance. What were those babies' parents thinking? Don't they know that every kid in elementary school is going to have at that little darling: Fat Chance! Slim Chance! Gack.

Even if the third graders don't take the bait later on in life, how do the parents come up with the names in the first place? Oh look honey, the little guy looks just like a slab of rock. Let's call him Slate.

In romanceworld, parents are always giving questionable names but they're not as bad as paranormalfantasyland where the parents just adore apostrophes. Ka'oht' Ton'k. Spe'w Fo'orth. K'la Onde R'cks

The absolute worst parents exist in spamville. I've looked through my undeleted spamfiles to bring you some of the best. They give Ford Prefect a run.
Solomon Bitumen
Obiora Kingsley
Kulya Vasiliki
Micheal Stanza
Kamilla Locksher
* * *
Of course this is yet another instance of rocks/glass house. I have a history of giving pretty rotten names. I know that and I usually don't mind changing names if something better comes along, even after a book is finished. (The only name I knew had to stay was "Mick" in Somebody Wonderful--his name had to be a slur on the Irish.)

I'll change my characters' stupid names but only if I find something better. I actually had to leave a critique group because of this issue.

I wouldn't change the name of a hero called Toph (from Christopher) and soon after that, when I came up with a villian named Jacko, well, it was too much for the one member who announced she had trouble reading my books because of those outlandish names. No matter that the woman had a point--hey, I didn't know Jacko was Michael Jackson's nickname--I got a trifle snotty about being told to change the names. After the umpteenth email about my villian's name, I lost it and suggested that I might use a variation of her name for the bad guy.**

Bad Kate****.

She stopped corresponding with me altogether. Ah, the politics of pettiness.

But many of my rotten names are atrocious for a reason. For instance in a manuscript currently making the rounds, the heroine's name is Callie, which is short for Callipygos, a Greek name meaning beautiful buttocks -- Her parents really were dreadful people.

Right. I'm going to go through the books in the bags and see if I can come up with any other examples of "What Were His/Her Mom and Dad THINKING?"

____

**and in fact, I ended up naming the villian after the one CP willing to critique with me after the Great Name Unpleasantness. "Linder" the bad guy in Somebody to Love came from Linda.


**** which by the way is my real name. My parents liked monosyllabic names. I'm Kate, not Katherine. My sister is Nan, not Nancy. My brother is Jed, not Jedidiah. We'll just skip over David. And the Kiyo and Teresa? Okay, my parents didn't get to name them.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

map time

I keep seeing these things all over the blog world so I want one too. I just have to figure out where to put the little sucker.

In the meantime, I'll plop it down here. You can be the first and add yourself. I'm going to go to Jason's blog and look at his gorgeous photos of graveyards.


Check out our Frappr!

damn, now that's some FINE rejection stuff!

I'm quite the rejection letter connoisseur, and I must say I've been getting some good ones lately. I won't make the mistake of posting an editor's letter here again. Let's just say that the content of the letter is as good as the feedback you might get on contests.

It's more of a revise-this-and-we'll-look-again letter. And the stuff the editor points out? Wow, she's right.

Huh. She ought to do this editing thing for a living.

No, I'm not being a brown-noser. I happen to know that this nameless editor would never look at my blog. It's just kind of cool that sometimes a rejection is extremely useful--great advice from a professional for no cost, other than a moment's (or an hour's) sensation of "aw, damn".

I'm fond of that story, so chances are I'll actually get around to doing what she suggests. Some day. First I have to re-write all the crud I lost when the lap-top crashed. When that doesn't work, I'll have to crawl into bed and sleep. . . or get some happy pills.