Sunday, September 30, 2007

so how wild is it?

Went for a great birthday dinner last night to Benjy's, one of my favorite restaurants. Good food, good company, good pomegranate cosmo. (okay, yeah, me likey the fruity drinks sometimes. Get over it) And I love the recitation of the off menu specials. Like dinner theater, honestly. Luckily for our waiter, I did not have that second pomegranate cosmo, or the recitation would have gone like this:

Waiter: Our second special is a wild salmon, served on a bed of micro greens with a basalmic something, something reduction and teeny side vegetables grown by blind Tibetan nuns living on a collective farm north of Austin where they also make tangy goat cheese and grow grapes for a Cabernet that has hints of chocolate and a good head.

Me: So how wild is the salmon exactly? Just a little wild? Or did it have a really bad rep? Swimming downstream all the time? Asking the sturgeon how their eggs are? Posting drunken pictures on Facebook? Seriously, Jonathan, how freakin' wild was it?

Til next time...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

changing your expectations

Everyone's changing on tonight's Grey's Anatomy. (slight spoiler alert...)George is starting over; Christina is learning that Burke is gone (clearly she hasn't been watching Entertainment Tonight and every tabloid in the land, but oops, I guess that's real life not the show...); Meredith is deciding whether to deal with her sister; McDreamy and McSteamy whether or not to be friends; Izzy whether or not she can be someone other than the dreamer she really is... the list goes on.


Makes my heart beat a little too fast sometimes. But I guess I've always embraced it. I think I like the rush of it. The not knowing. Even if sometimes it makes me want to hide under the covers eating Crispix and Twizzlers.

Lots in the air right now. Some I'm liking. Some I don't. Some changes I need to make but am dragging my heels. Some are in the works and taking their own sweet time. Some change takes patience.

I lack it.

Sometimes I think we change because we're afraid of standing still. In the world of education, too often things change because everyone is just too busy looking for the next best thing and no one is willing to nurture the old. A lot gets lost that way, methinks. We end up with the old sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Change. The balance between standing still too long and moving too much.

Til next time...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Feels like fall

So okay, it doesn't really feel like fall. Still close to 90 degrees most days. But still... I think it's just in my blood or something. In Chicago, by October, there's a nip in the air some days. A smell of the cold to come. Here there's just the whiff of humidity and mold - same as always.

But still... I'm contemplating baking banana bread this week. Bought the super secret ingredient. (all right, it's sour cream; makes it oh so moist and yummy) I've plotted out the fall shows I want to watch. (Heroes tonight. Bones tomorrow. Gonna record (cause yes, we're too cheap for tivo when we still have a breathing VCR and some tapes...) Reaper. And then there's Grey's... and okay The Hills, although that's almost over. I figure if I'm working full time, writing the books, reading other books and generally living the clean life (well, as clean as it gets for me, anyway) I can have my tv. Even if I have to record it all and watch it after the fact. Can't give up my Meerkat Manor!

Now if only it would get cool enough so I could wear my rocking black high heeled boots without my calves sweating.

Til next time...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Let's go WIP!

I am finally rocking my way through a fuller first draft of my newer WIP. Been wandering around the plot for weeks now. Researching... pulling at threads of ideas. Writing and deleting. Playing with characters. And finally, tonight... plot points are flying at me out of the ether. Guess all that putzing around finally stuck. Yay!!

Sometimes my first drafts leap out fully grown like -who was it? Athena? - from Zeus's head. This one is eeking out in a sort of summary form. Plot points, snippets of dialogue and the general gist of things. I love the dialogue snippets best. Ah those voices in my head... Good voices. Be nice to Joy. She is typing as fast as she can. Really. I promise. And she also graded three sets of short answer quizzes on To Kill a Mockingbird. That'll squeeze the creative juices out of anyone. Still she persevered. (although she's now speaking of herself in third person which certainly doesn't bode well...and wondering if anyone has ever used the word bode in a sentence other than one in which things did not bode well??)

And that's about all I'm saying for now. Ms. Muse will punish me if I blabber. And possibly make the television go blank when I'm all ready tomorrow night for the season premiere of Heroes. Wouldn't want that to happen.

Til next time...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let him drill, let him drill, let him drill

I think my dental woes are finally easing off. It all started quite innocently, then turned into a five act drama. Something like this:

Act I
Dentist's Office
Outisde the Houston humidity is filling the air.

Dentist: Well, Joy your old huge filling in your back molar is falling apart. And oh look, there's decay under there. Let's put in a crown.
Joy: Sigh... Okay.
Dentist: No worries. I will make the crown on my new spiffy porcelain crown making machine. It rocks. Really.
Joy: Cool. I guess.
::Sounds of crown being made in a machine. Sounds of drilling as decay is removed. Slight moaning because someone's mouth is almost impossible to properly numb and her whole face goes dead but the tooth keeps on ticking.::
Dentist: Look, isn't it pretty?
Joy: Ooh, crown. You're hot. I love you crown. Anything but more drilling.

Act II
Las Vegas
Caesar's Palace
Rao's Italian restaurant

Joy: La, la, la. I am having fun.
21 year old son: Yup, mama. Me too. Oh no. What's that odd look on your face? Aren't you enjoying your biscotti?
Joy: WTF! Look at this! :: fishes piece of something discreetly from mouth along with a hunk of biscotti::
21: WTF! :: bites the piece to check:: It's a piece of tooth
Joy: Aaaaarggg!!!
21: Walk it off, mama, it's Vegas.
Joy: Sigh... okay... only warm beers for me til we get home...

Dentist's office

Dentist: Huh... that wasn't supposed to happen. Guess this material isn't strong enough for a back molar.
Joy: Now you tell me?
:: Moaning while temporary crown is inserted::

Act IV
Dentist's office

Joy: Are you ready to put on my new crown? It's been two weeks and I'm flying to a wedding. Don't want to go with the temporary.
Dentist: We need to order a new one. The machine just isn't cutting it.
:: Sounds of drilling, crying:: Eventually dentist is cradling Joy's head and telling her that it will be okay and it's not often that the super cement sticks to the gums like this and has to be drilled off.

Act V
Dentist: Isn't the new crown pretty.
Assistant: Yes, isn't it lovely.
Joy: Just put it in. I'll close my eyes and think of England.

Til next time...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

That old balancing act

Balance. Defined as keeping all your plates spinning. Keeping all the many things ya have to do from toppling over and squashing you to the ground. Balance. Tricky this time of year.

School starting. Works in progress wanting more work. Family stuff. High holy days. Crazy. Me. Yes, crazy.

What do you do when life is yanking your chain? Last night I curled up on the couch with season 1 of Gilmore Girls, as much as I could watch before my eyes started rolling back with exhaustion. Me, the new leather love seat, the new plushy pillow, my freshly washed hair, comfy shorts and t shirt, big comforter, and the Stars Hollow gang. Not that I haven't watched these eps before. I have. But starting about 10:30, I watched 'em again til, as I say, I was bleary eyed.

Balance. A little easier with Miss Patty and Luke and Kirk and Lorelai and Rory and dear old Paris filling a piece of my head.

So what do you do when you're stressing?

Til next time...

Monday, September 10, 2007

oh those little meerkats

Thanks to those who have suggested I watch Meerkat Manor. Not of course that I really have time to add something new to the schedule. Not with two WIP's, some impending revisions, 157 students (yes you read that correctly) and all the other things that I won't bore anyone with listing.

But okay, I got sucked in. The tale Len and Squiggy. No one - I mean NO ONE - told me that this was nature in the raw. One baby carried off by a hawk, the other left behind because he just couldn't keep up. Other than the day of poor Steve Erwin's demise, I don't think I'm generally sniffling while watching Animal Planet. And then there's poor Mozart. Female meerkat, just trying to be the dominant female. (I feel your pain Mozart. So does everyone other chicka in the workplace. But I digress) So Mozart gives birth. Comes up out of the burrow to eat so she can nurse the babies. And the wanna be dominant female ( who happens to be the lookout for the meerkat clan) sneaks in and - good God - eats the babies. Yes eats them. And all that's left is a foot.

Yes indeedy - it's just like department politics. But like I say, I digress.

Til next time...

Friday, September 7, 2007

RIP Madeline L'Engel

I'm a little late to the news, but just read of the passing of Madeline L'Engel, author of one of my very, very favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time. As a kid, I never, ever got tired of re-reading that book. I'm probably writing fantasy today because of it. Heck, I'm probably writing today because of it - at least in part. Meg. Charles Wallace. Tesseracts. And that planet (Camezotz, was it?) where all those kids were bouncing the balls exactly the same and the one little boy bounced out of synch and his mother rushed out and dragged him inside. Even at nine when I first read Wrinkle, I knew how horrible that was. Knew how wonderfully subversive it is to be a non-conformist. And - I think - I never fully followed some of the rules again.

Rest in peace, dear Ms. L'Engel.

Til next time...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ah, Chicago

Went to a family wedding in my hometown of Chicago over Labor Day. And now I'm back in the suburbs of Space City and it's - big shocko - raining yet again, and I'm panging with homesickness for the Windy City. But the weather was travel brochure gorgeous, the sailboats were out on Lake Michigan, the downtown streets were packed with the young and trendy, the wedding was terrific, my family was a delightful hoot, the Cubbies won (oops - against the 'Stros!), and I got to eat and drink 'til I was sorta stunned with excess. My kind of trip. Made up totally for the part where I left before the butt crack of dawn Saturday morning. (Even the most wonderful of events does not make me leap cheerily from my bed at 3:50 AM)

And Sunday morning - in between meals and celebrations - I rediscovered my adoration for the wedding announcements in the NY Times. If you've never indulged in this oddity, get thee to a local store or Starbucks next Sunday or go on line. How can anyone resist the lure of lines like"By June they had fallen in love while milking the farm's dairy cow"? I mean, seriously.

Til next time...