Good food, good times and now, back to the daily grind.
My battery has arrived which means I am typing this post from my little net book. Whoohooo!! I hate to admit this, but I was a very, very crabby person when I was sans computer. My poor husband probably wanted to hop a plane to get out of dodge when I snapped. Of course I used our other computer and worked, but it is always better to have your own equipment. How many times can you interrupt fantasy football you know?
It is sad to admit that I rely so much on technology to do a task many have done with quill and parchment. Then again, I believe Shakespeare would really dig working on a computer. He probably could have cranked out even more works!
Anyway, I am hoping to get another query letter out by the end of the week to start the New Year off right.
I just came across this Cast Iron Hands Dish Towel Holder and I am speechless. I live to see that in someones kitchen, I really do.
Keeping with the odd, eclectic home stuff theme, this Hippity-Hop Lamp from Anthropologie is pretty weird. Bunny lovers will dig it, though I think it looks ominous when lit up. I do like that when you scroll over any of the lamps, you can see what it looks like when turned on.
The battery in my netbook has bit the bullet. So now I have to wait until the new battery arrives. Apparently this can take 5-10 days. Oh joy. This means all writing I do will have to be on the main computer in the house which is fine. The hard part is my hubby is an avid computer user as well so we will need to find balance. Of course I can still just write things down in the designated notebook which is no problem. There is fun in writing long hand, but of course you cannot move as fast as you can, but that is the good part. You slow down, take a minute to really consider what you are writing.
I gotta tell you, I really hate open shelving in kitchens. Sure it looks nice and isn't it wonderful to look at your grandma's china? The idea of all the dust collecting there grosses me out. If you are a neat freak, I am sure this would work for you. I am neat, but not that neat.
I am watching Frontline: The Medicated Child and I am in a complete fit. Kid has a temper? Drug him. Hyper? Drug him. Oh wait, he is behaving a certain way, he must have bipolar, drug him. And I am sorry, but the day a teacher tells me to drug my kid due to hyperactivity, that teacher would no longer work in a classroom. Why are we so damn eager to drug these kids? No one ever thinks perhaps they need a different setting then a typical classroom or public school structure. Aren't most kids naturally hyper and overactive when they are kids? This totally baffled me. What also kills me is that none of these parents fought back or argued about the over medication. You know your kid, you know when things are wrong. Sure there are cases where I am sure this medicine is very necessary, but come on, some of these cases are clearly bull. Yes, this hit a nerve as I hate the desire to make everyone a drone and have to conform to what is considered "normal" behavior.
Got my first rejection for my novel. The note was very lovely and now I have to cross them off my list and go to the next agent. I feel relieved that I got an answer and can now move forward searching out the right person who will hopefully see the potential of the book. Ugh and Yea! all at once...hahahahaha! Seriously though, this is going to be a grueling process, but that is to be expected. Like it or not, this is how it works and I am ready.
My second novel's progression is going nicely as I flesh out important parts and rebuild weak ones. Who knows? Maybe this one will get picked up first.
Currently I am reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and it is enlightening and wonderful and main boggling. Siddhartha Mukherjee, a physician and researched, makes the content easy to follow and gives a wonderful history on this despicable diseases.
There are really not enough hours in a day. Between job hunting, it sucks, writing, that is going well, and doing house chores, &#*@&, Life is really good and hectic.
No response yet from literary agent. I am not surprised since it is the holidays and Lord only knows how many inquiries she receives. Nerve racking regardless.
Sold some gold recently, just two pieces, and got enough money that we were able to buy our water heater. That gave us relief from having to pillage the bank account. Home purchases are fun!
Still have to finish painting in living room, wall around our closet and hemming curtains. That is what his weekend is supposed to be about. Wish me luck.
I am ashamed to admit that I still need to work on my nephews 500 pound sensory blanket. Again, this weekend and next week is all about that.
We have just a few gifts to pick up and I have more cards I need to send out. I am in the spirit, but really the shopping one. How much do we all really need? I would love to do nothing but make baked goods and say "Happy Holidays", but that does not fly with children. HAHAHA Good times.
I am going to try and knit some infinity scarves up and see if I can sell them at my gym. $10 a piece will not be a lot and even if I sell just five that is better than nothing.
Hope you are all having a lovely holiday season and feel as blessed as I do. Stress comes and goes, but good food is forever :)
I just read this article in the NY Times where the CEO of Time Warner claims Netflix is a fading star. Ahhh, the inevitable sorrows of multi million dollar conglomerates. Keep in mind that Time Warner has a stake in a cable company and they complain that Netflix has helped hurt subscriptions. Well duh! When it costs almost a car payment to have channels that show the same crap over and over, some people will cancel.
The arrogance of media companies has always amused me. They always cry poverty and blame services like You Tube and Netflix. Not like it would have anything to do with the crappy movies or television programming they put out. As an avid movie goer, ask me the last time I was in the theater. I believe it was for Sherlock Holmes. Yeah, over the summer. Studios fail to recognize that some of us do not want to pay $10+ for a film. Half the time they are awful anyway.
Jeff Bewkes, the Time Warner CEO, does not seem to understand that someone like me will use Netflix more for back catalog stuff like "Soap", "Annie Hall" and various others series and films they would not make a ton of cash on anyway. Though Starz offering me "Spartacus" and "The Pillars of the Earth" was most welcome. Mr. Bewkes does not understand how many of us spread how great the shows are and people end up watching due to word of mouth.The again he has his own agenda, an initiative he is trying to sell called TV Everywhere. The idea is to offer cable network programming online for anyone who is a verified cable subscriber.
What will Time Warner and others do if and when their attempts to compete fail? Have they learned nothing from the Napster and You Tube debacles? People will pay for things they really want. We will also refuse to pay for things we do not want. Perhaps it is time these companies actually listen to the consumer.
Tons of stuff to do today, but figured a quick post shall not hurt.
First off, I sent my first ever query letter out on the morning of December 7. Forgot to put that in the post that day, but yes, it is out there. My thick skin prepares for the rejection, but as I have said before, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath and many others received the ubiquitous, "Thanks, but not thanks", so I am in good company. It is weird waiting to see if a total stranger has an interest in my novel. The constant rewriting of the mini synopsis was equivalent to learning to ride a bike. I hope I got it and if not, check that agent off the list and try again. In the meantime, I continue working on the second book which is moving along and I have an outline for a third. Is all this waiting nerve racking? You bet it is, but it is all in a day's work. All I can do now is improve my skills and keep plugging away until luck is in my corner.
On a different note, I love Aga ranges. Here is a post The Kitchn showing them in "normal" homes.
I know, I know. Another series. You are chuckling, just waiting for me to get a few more books in and toss it to the side. I am really, really hoping that won't be the case this time.
JD Robb aka Nora Roberts, rarely disappoints me. She was one of the first romance writers I ever read and that was a good thing since the woman tells an excellent story.
What made me pick up this book, which came out way back in 1995, was that I did a search for strong female characters in novels. Part of the reason I was looking, was in the hopes I could mention said character in my query letter to give the agent a better idea of who my female protagonist was similar to. Now, people's opinions vary on just what a strong female entails. Suggestions moved form Elizabeth Bennett to Eve Dallas to Stephanie Plum to Mercy Thompson. Considering the good experience I had with Nora before reading Montana Sky, I went for it and got Naked in Death.
Eve Dallas is a tough cookie with a dark past. My character is not as dark, but she has her past and it haunts her. The thing that freaked me out when reading it was that some of her interactions with the mysterious Roarke were similar to ones that happen between my main characters. This of course is further proof that everything has been written and it all depends on how you tell the story. Thankfully, mine is not a series, hers is an ongoing one, and our style of writing is very different.
Regarding the book, I truly enjoy the story. Sure it is not Shakespeare, but if I want him, I have him on my shelf. This was a quick, satisfying read that held my interest. What I really liked was the way Eve did not become some belligerent smart ass fretting away if she liked Roarke or not. She took responsibility for her actions, even with a falter here or there. Watching their relationship blossom around a grisly murder was interesting, but it is true to life. Cops need love and security as much as the next person.
Of course I do not want to get too excited. I stopped at book 4 in the Anita Blake series and doubt I will go back. Stephanie Plum bit it for me at book eleven, so who is to say how far I will get? Regardless,
I already had my library get the second book and yes my fingers are crossed. Nora Roberts is a prolific writer so if I do get hooked, I have a ton of "In Death" books to read.
Yesterday I applied to two jobs. One was full time and the other was part time. Both jobs are in the medical field, one a fertility clinic the other an assisted living facility. The assisted living facility job has better hours, but either job would be great. I have done random searches over the months because after being aggressive for about a year, I got frustrated. Me and thousands of others have gotten frustrated and still are I am sure. Now I figured I would try again and I am hoping I can get in a hospital or some area of medical. I have no desire to work for a regular corporate company again. That does not mean I would not apply to them if I saw something great, but I have my preference. So fingers crossed.
Writing wise I finished editing the novel and now I am struggling with a query letter. I have about four different versions and I am not really thrilled with either of them. The suggestion has been to sum up the whole book in four lines. I think I can do it, I know I can do it, but I want it to be as close perfect as it can be. I may have to go over four to six or something. Do I know if it would be a grand detriment? No, so what have I got to lose? My nerve I guess. I need to just take a deep breath and go. Perhaps I should do a stream of consciousness writing exercise and see if the query letter comes out that way. Right now I would dance a tribal dance in a circle out in the driveway covered in a velour tracksuit and bananas if that would help. The query letter is the door closer or opener and I am banging my head, trying not to stress over this, but believe me, this sucks in many ways. On the agent front I have been able to narrow my list down after doing a bunch of research over the weekend. Unfortunately, one of the agents I had chosen some time ago is no longer receiving inquiries, so I had to replace him. Normal situation in the world of trying to get published. With my list I can narrow down who gets to reject me or take me on first :) and then I keep trudging along.
Thanks to Netflix I have been watching Soap, a progressive television comedy from the seventies. I remember my mom loved it and I may have caught an episode when I was younger, but it has been years since I have even seen it. There are few times while I have watched it that I marveled over what they got away with in 1977. The writing is great and the cast is fabulous. Billy Crystal plays Jodie Dallas one of the first openly gay characters on television and you can see the talent he really had blossoming.
Okay, I have much to do today so I am off to do my errands.
While our friend finishes building our bedroom closet, WHOOO HOOOOO!!!, I have been looking at claw foot style tubs for the upstairs bathroom renovation that will happen one day in the future. This of course could mean years from now, but I still like to look. Dare I say if I was a wealthy person who wanted to buy something decadent, I'd say Copper Slipper bathtubs would rate high. Of course I would want a sexy hammered sink like this from Waterworks to go with it.
What about pure minimalism? Kohler has a Purist Suite series that embodies this.
This Woodland Sanctuary bathroom by Kohler is interesting. I doubt I would do something like that, but I like the concept.
Friends of ours came back form India a few weeks ago and brought me home the magazine Syncorian Matrimonial Times. It is interesting to read all these ads placed by families to procure the "perfect" spouse for their child. Height and weight and college degrees are listed. There are preferences for cultured families, same town, professionally qualified mate and numerous other things we probably think of in the States, but would not dare say mattered out loud.
Many people are appalled by "arranged marriages". Considering our divorce rate is on par with marriage, I would say it is not the worst idea. Now, I am only talking about arranged marriages like the ones I am reading about. I am not endorsing the alliance of a twelve year old with a fifty five year old. That is a totally different arena that I am not getting into.
I am sure there are bad arranged marriages along with good ones. Plus, Time Magazine has a whole issue devoted to marriage this week asking if the institution is not obsolete. I think it all depends where you are in life and where you stand. Marriage and cohabitation are not for everyone nor should it be forced on everyone. Same with parenthood. It is not for everyone and should be a personal choice. That is where arranged marriages are wonky. Choice is removed as a whole and that is that. Still, I do wonder how many people in arranged marriages see their alliance as working out better as a business partnership then those in love? More research for me!
I have to admit I am one of those folks who loves little gadgets and things for the kitchen and table. Salt cellars being one of them. No I do not have one and I doubt I would ever use the darn thing. But I like them. Yes, yes I do.
I really like Made By Girl's style. Here is an interview with her in Siren Magazine.
When will people get art and nudity is not an offense to God? Seriously.
I am a sucker for wraps, stoles, all things that would have wrapped Jane Austen. This Autumn Leaves Stole from, Brooklyn Tweed is calling me to pick up my needles.
As I edit my book between daily errands and commitments, there are times I want to pull my hair out and run screaming into the night. My writing has improved quite a bit. Amen to that. Though there are passages in the story where I shake my head wondering when _________ (insert bad writer name here) came into my head and screwed me up. Trust me, I know there are parts that are stronger then others. My editor, if and when I get one, may hate me on that. But what is burning my ass for sure is that I get stuck in a certain scene and it overrules anything else I was going to pursue. Yesterday I had to work on a bedroom scene. Nothing too racy or scandalous and for the life of me I could not think of way to describe the main character's feelings or reaction without sounding like a dork. I am not a romance writer, could never be one, some of those folks have mad skills, and I was pissed. I was at a loss on how to make her emotions shine on the page. Her expression of want and need. Just writing it sounds half assed. Even good 'ol Merriam-Webster's thesaurus was no help. What I had written and erased most of the day was so awful it sounded robotic, lifeless, dead in the ground with roses on top. Who said this was easy? Not me, but to lose command of your mother tongue like this is so unnerving I swear I might have to write it in a different language to make the point.
Yes, I could walk away, go back to my Angel of Death story, but this needs completion first. There is an agent out there somewhere who will want this and I can not deny them any longer. (Of course I am nervous and smiling, I have to at least sound confident right?)
There has to be a book where novelists discuss writer's block or stupid block in my case. What the hell did Tennessee William do to alleviate this issue? Or Nora Roberts? What about Harper Lee? I bet she never had it. I bet "To Kill A Mockingbird" flowed like honey. Damn her.
When I open that file later I hope I can just get through the cleaning up and final research. I have conflicting opinions on what happens with a medically induced coma and getting the tube removed from your throat. Can you talk? Should you talk? Do I have an advanced medicine that makes him talk? Is that too Deus ex Machina? Charlie Brown yell here please.
And so later on today I will resume my course of action and pray to all that is Holy that I can get out of this locked down mind of mine. I really do hate when I am at a loss of words to help make the reader feel as if they were there. Hell, I am not even sure I have made them feel like they are there. We will find out. That is if I can get the muse in me to rise and focus.
It brings out the best and worst of all of us. As I sit here typing on my couch from Pier 1 trying to figure out if I can reupholster my retro one armed love eat, sounds like a James Bond villain, I peruse the Internet for inspiration.
I admit that I am jealous of some of these folks who without a clue on how to work a drill watch a few videos, make a few errors and then create a built in bookcase that custom cabinet makers would envy. I do not fear the upholstery, I just want to do it right since the couch is a timeless design. Depending on what fabric I choose for it, it can look contemporary or antique. I think I am going to aim for a more contemporary look. The wing backs will follow suit and then our seating area will be complete. Yes, a stunning area to hang out and drink, chat and read all night if one chooses.
Let me not get wrapped up in seating areas and fabrics and retreat back to the full blown renovations that inspire and captivate me.
Here are some blogs that have shown what some sweat equity can achieve. Of course, some of these folks do have a bit more disposable income then we do. Innovation still abounds among those who have cash flow so I am ignoring their financial status and looking more at what they have done to improve their living spaces. On a side note, our friend is building us a closet, YAY!!!, in our bedroom so I am hoping to get pictures of it up once it is complete.
Redneck Modern is about a couple who bought a dilapidated Eichler home and made it a masterpiece. Here is their post on Apartment Therapy as well. Here is a link to Eichler Homes for sale. These may be the one modern type home design I could truly live in.
This kitchen renovation on Nothing But Bonfires is divine. I am a sucker for white subway tile. We want it in our kitchen and one bathroom so viewing a small amount of it in the kitchen just helps to feed the monster. :) Honestly, I would hire these folks to do my kitchen, yes, yes I would.
416FixerUpper's kitchen redo is fabulous and I love the spice drawer idea. I am all about using the space wisely and this is a good one.
I think this would be a great tag line for The Brick House blog. "Because we’re renovating a mid century cement brick house in the middle of retirement hell, making it awesome and doing it on a budget."
Okay, okay, this is not a house, but a store and I tell you, if I had cash and a huge truck, I would be all over Copper Fox Antiques in Virginia. The Primitive Pie Safe is gorgeous.
I just finished reading "Circus of the Damned" by Laurell K Hamilton and to be honest, I found it to be a bit of a drag. This is book 3 in the series and I am not sure if I even want to continue reading when I can just look them all up on Wikipedia and see what happens.
That is not a good sign.
What did I enjoy? Like the others, I do like the pace of action and I am intrigued by Jean-Claude the Master of the City. Other than that, Anita has begun to get on my nerves. Yes folks, she is pissing me off and we are only on book 3. Shades of Stephanie Plum are surfacing for me.
Again, not a good sign.
Let us get one thing clear, Miss Hamilton does not need my good words or approval. Her series is doing just fine whether I read it or not so my criticism is like a speck of dust in her world. Prepare yourselves, here come the catty comments in regards to her writing. For the love of God please get a better editor or learn to use a thesaurus. Everyone in her books have eyelashes that are like lace. Be it black or gray, they all resemble lace. Also, Jean-Claude wears the same damn lace shirt all the time. Or if he has another outfit on, it only has lace. Lace, lace, lace. I have never in all my life seen the word "lace" used so much outside of a archive on fashion. The landscape of St. Louis in this book was always stated as being like "the dark side of the moon". Seriously? Really? You had to use that more than once? The descriptions of the main characters were so damn repetitive I almost had a coronary. People change. Yes, even day to day with a tired look , a new hairstyle, anything. She puts a lot of stock in describing these folks this is why I point it out. Now I get why Stephen King said to never ever describe people and clothes to the last detail, it will bite you in the ass. The story itself was choppy and at times I actually groaned out loud. This book was published in 1995 and so fashion descriptions, which there are always way too much of, are indicative of the times in the Midwest and does not make them look at all good. **SPOILER ALERT** Anita has been battling with Jean-Claude about becoming his human servant so what does she do? What any other dumbass 24 year old necromancer would. She sells him out to a rogue Master vampire that should be able to wipe out the human race with a thought, but he needs her help to find jean-Claude. (A big WTF?? there) She then apologizes to Jean-Claude as she warns him and helps try to defeat Oliver. Oh, a lycanthrope named Richard has the hots for her which of course annoys Jean-Claude, but she may date him, yes she may. In case you missed it, I am not digging this at all. Anita baffled me with her constant derision towards Jean-Claude. He helps her, seduces her, she hates herself for wanting him, hates the "monsters" and all they stand for, but he and Richard, the werewolf, are making her think twice. Or are they? Decisions, decisions indeed. Sure I get it, our day to day living is not outrageous so a series will show the struggles of any ordinary person and how they falter and grow. Maybe this is why I do not do well with a series. By now I want her to deal with the Jean-Claude situation and either sleep with him and become his servant and kick ass or walk away. Of course, this may all be in the fourth book, but I am on the fence about going on with the series. I hate being disappointed by a book. I have gotten recommendations for various other series in the same genre. The people who recommended them claim they are written much better and have consistent character advancement so we shall see.
On a different topic, just because someone is on the bestseller list, it does not mean they are a millionaire. Most folks have no idea what it actually does mean and this article, The Reality of A Times Bestseller by Lynn Viehl breaks it down beautifully.
I do adore a good piece of fabric. No matter the pattern or use, outdoor, indoor, etc. I see everything as a dress that Auntie Mame would wear. Keep in mind that I have never made a dress of any sort. I have sewn a skirt and some curtains. That is all. I really wish I could motivate my self to make a dress, I truly do. This MarimekkoNapakettu is divine, but it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive for me to attempt my first dress pattern. I bet it would make a great skirt or sarong.
This Josef Frank textile called Hawaii would be fabulous as a sweeping summery dress. Clearly it would be a beast to line up all the seams and lines of the pattern so it does not look choppy, but in the end it would be worth the frustration.
I have been wanting oil cloths to make place mats or even use as backgrounds of frames instead of some boring mats. Mendel's in San Francisco seems to have some lovely choices.
Can't decide if I like this from Revival Fabrics, but I think it could make a sweet liner fabric or a coat or a cool pencil skirt.
This fabric, Geo Grand by Daisy Jane, would look awesome on an ottoman or on some pillows. It would really compliment our new brown couch!
And here is something not fabric related at all. Decadence my name is Bisazza Tiles. WOW!
Right now I am enthralled with a short story anthology called McSweeny's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. It was edited by Michael Chabon, who's own work I have never really gotten into, but my husband loves. The stories are driven by action and plot. Most of the reviews hated the book, so far I like it. I am not one who enjoys ambiguous story telling as if it is just a fragment of a story, the author smirking as they hold back much detail. Nothing worse then reading a short story and then being pissed off because somehow you missed the deep, dark insight given by the exalted author. Yes, I do get bitchy.
One of the things I was most excited about was being able to read an Elmore Leonard story. I have never read any of his books and have been wanting to check out his writing style for sometime. I like it. He is bare bones all the way. Not an easy thing to do I think because people enjoy details. Some authors enjoy over detailing to the point where you want to kill yourself. I have had this happen in some romance works along with the Anita Blake series. I do not need a catalog description of outfits just tell me how they are going to kill the vampire. We all know how I feel about dialogue that repeats itself to the point that I wonder how dense the character is even after her hero has written "I love you" in his own plasma.
There is a sort of gift in being able to convey a feeling, an emotion without having to put in the descriptive note before or after the dialogue. These are my own struggles. As I continue to edit the bounty hunter story, which has an official title now, I catch these blunders and hope my decisions pay off. Reading someone like Elmore Leonard truly helps. I am at the Neil Gaiman story now, we all know I will love it since his skills are the ones I want the most, and I look forward to reading the whole book. I was thinking of attempting a romance anthology next, though some I have flipped through have the typical wardrobe descriptions and baby makes three endings.
Since we bought the house my husband has rhapsodized about how one day he wanted to raise the roof and make the second floor taller. We know that would one day require an architect and most likely a boatload of cash. In a recent issue of Southern Living Magazine, there was a house that made me catch my breath.
The design was exactly what we wanted to do.
The architecture firm is Gardner Mohr Architects out of Chevy Chase Maryland and this is the house. They went into Asian minimalism in the kitchen which I would most likely not do, but we love the sun porch and I covet the two bathrooms, especially the master bath. I do not think we could do a bath that large, but then again, who really knows? I would love to at least see what they could do with our second floor and find out if even the first floor would need remodeling. Architects see things much differently then the rest of us hence they have ideas that neither of us could dream up.
I ask this because this morning I got in an argument on a blog with an unknown person about my use of the word "Nazi" as applied to ex-President Bush and some of his policies. I was chided by a few bloggers saying I was insensitive and that neither party should use that term as everyone just throws it around. While these folks are entitled to their opinion, there is an assumption I have no idea about fascism and WW II and what Hitler really was trying to do. I replied back and once I was done I wondered if I should even bother checking to see if I get a reply back. I am okay with discussions and agreeing to disagree, but when we are on the Internet it is easier to get nasty much quicker and block out other's opinions and ideas. The reason I felt the need to respond was I became grouped in with those calling Obama a Nazi, never understood that since Socialism is not Fascism, and I wanted to make some points. I started with the subtle nuances between Bush and his team and Hitler and his. I also pointed out that in America today we are very belligerent towards immigrants and Muslims which rears of the ugly stench of 1939. The best was, I realized as I did this, the posters had already stated that no matter my reasons, they were not good enough to use the term. I should have said that the fact that Nazis even existed and were allowed to go on as long as they did should be more offensive then me even having the word to use. But I know that will get me nowhere. It is not just in politics where we are PC, it is with everything. Children all get applause and trophies even when they are mediocre or lose. We are teaching youngsters that they are very special and can have and do whatever they want. No one should ever have bad feelings or make someone feel bad. In a perfect world we would all have manners and be polite and not hateful, but again, we are not in a perfect world. There are awful, vile things that happen in this world that present a dialogue for all of us. Dissenting views and opinions are a good way to learn about others and yourself. I do not think the people who disagree with me or wrong to feel that way, but neither they or I should be blindsided by our might to be right. We seem to have lost the skills for discussion or even the desire to hear others and that bothers me. I have religious discussions with those who are heavy evangelicals and it never ends up nasty or condescending. Could it? Sure, if I let my emotion get in the way and make it all about me. When you ask someone their opinion, it is their opinion and should be respected as such. If we can no longer do that, then we have a much bigger problem at hand.
My husband and a friend went and got our couch last night. It looks really fantastic and now we just have to decide where we want to actually put it. For now it is where the orange couch was, but it is not staying there since it is against a radiator. I also need to go purchase some Scotchgard to help protect the couch.
I started this week out very well as I had a massage client. Always nice to work on someone and get paid :) I need to drum up some more business and start looking into the hospital systems again. Someone suggested the VA Hospitals and I would love that, but their budgets are worse than private hospitals.
Our kitchen is one of the few rooms I like, but the cabinet hardware is atrocious and there is none on the bottom cabinets. Two of the doors on the upper cabinets are cracked, so one day we will need to replace all of them, but for now, I would like to get some nice hardware and paint the walls. It will brighten it up, especially when I check to see if the wall is okay behind the faux brick back splash and if so, I will take brick down and paint the wall. If not, I will paint the brick. Good times.
I need to work on my nephews blanket tonight and some other stuff up in the office. There are two art pieces I need to finish and I need to rearrange some more stuff up there. I also need to get back to writing since it has sort of been on hold the last few days. Maybe after some knitting I can work on that which would be really nice.
Is where I live and while I am on the low end of the wealth spectrum, it is a beautiful place. As one who is tired of seeing my home state and people look like mafioso breeding grounds filled with tanned, high haired Neanderthals this article in Traditional Home makes me breathe better. New Jersey is very diverse with farms, small intimate enclaves, rolling hill estate areas, funky neighborhoods, sea shore, mountains and fun cities. I wish to God people knew that.
Recently I got into a blog discussion with someone from Los Angeles and we were lamenting how Hollywood shows the worst of LA and NJ. When you live someplace, you see the best and the worst, but it seems Hollywood only likes the awful side, the stereotypes. Which I hate more than anything. Southerners are redneck hillbillies who intermarry, Midwesterners are all fat and slow, West Coast is flaky and plastic. Pacific Northwest is filled with hippies. The list goes on and on. Sure stereotypes come from somewhere, but I think it is easier to focus on what makes us uncomfortable and is easy to mock. I have said this before but the best quote I ever heard was "Travel is the enemy of bigotry" and I think we all need to do that domestically to break the ridiculous stereotypes. I am not saying they do not exist. I went to high school with guidos like the ones on Jersey Shore, but those guys were not complete d-bags.
The bottom line is, while we think we know an area in the USA, even the world, but let us focus on USA, unless you have lived there or visited, you do not know the people and if you only do tourist stuff, you have not necessarily seen the true flavor of any place. Here are some places that pleasantly surprised me and are not always touted for a visit:
Providence, Rhode Island
Santa Monica, California
West Palm Beach, Florida
Ithaca and Watkins Glen, New York
There are also a ton of towns in NJ that I have stopped at and walked around.
All those places could feed a serious stereotype but most of the people I met were lovely and the cities/towns were too. I hope I can go to more places without preconceived notions. It is not easy, but since I am used to New Jersey being on the short end of the stick, I think I can do it better then most.
We never ever go in there as my hubby hates the store and I remember when they used to be really cool and funky and carried very affordable things. I was on their site and saw they were having a sale and their Reagan sofa normally $699 was $550. I know it is not the world most beautiful sofa or probably not the most well made, but heck it works for us. It is a three seater and it is a nice camel color which will look great with our dark sage green walls and gold curtains. We sat on it, seems comfy and looks sharp. Sure I would love my chic thousand dollar modernist sofa, but one, we are not made of money and two, this will look nice and it can go anywhere in the house. The big day for me will be when I can reupholster my wing backs, ottoman and retro sofa, but for now, they get used and are very comfortable.
I have finished painting the living room. Will need to do touch ups and paint through the radiators with the sponge on a stick, but it is a great color. I do want to eventually get radiator covers for the radiators in the living room and maybe even our bedroom. They sure have a come a long way from just the simple metal casing. Check these out from Stanley's Radiator Enclosures.
Once company I saw even makes a bookcase radiator cover! I think I like the one with shelves especially if one of them is to go in the living room under the window. We shall see. I need to start pricing them out as well.
Times are tough and when one is renovating their home discount places like IKEA, Home Goods and estate sales become de rigueur. That does not mean I do not dream of pieces that cost as much as the GDP of some small countries. Rejuvenation lighting pretty much makes me drool and all I want is a cool little porch light. My porch light now is just not the right fit for the house. It looks like drooping pastel lilies with pointy lights. I am not even sure it is meant to be used outdoors. Anyhoo, I would like a funky light but I have decided to pretend I have money and see what would I choose if I had no limits?
Why yes I do want this pretty little Euclid light on my porch. If not that, how about Everett? Seems like a nice fellow eh?
We could go the Deco route instead of Arts and Crafts. Do not know if the Grand Avenue light can be used outside but I would beg and plead for it to be.
Here is a nice classic flush ceiling fixture called Thurman. I love the coppery color.
I would adore this pendant light in our bedroom. Too bad the ceilings are too low and we would end up smacking our heads.
Now here is something I can embrace. Painted ceilings. Why oh why does everyone loathe to paint a ceiling? Why does it have to be white? There is an awkward mini, mini hallway from our dining room to the hideous pink bathroom and the richly colored Bermuda Grass room where my hubby's toy cabinet and some of our books are displayed. A dead space really which half of it will one day be converted to a laundry room. I have been thinking about the mini hallway for awhile and was thinking of just painting the ceiling part. The walls are white and well, the ceiling area, even the walls above the door way could be one hell of an obnoxious color. Maybe that would be too much but there are two doors and two open doorways so there is not a huge amount of wall space. Except for the dining room doorway which is arched, but so what? Even a simple fun beige could make that pop. There is much to consider here...
Our living room is a poorly painted semi-perky yellow. I have nothing against yellow, but I prefer a more sunflower yellow. I had seen a cool photo in This Old House where someone used the Tuscany type color of our dining room next to the soon to be dark sage green color of our living room. I had never considered such a combination but once I saw it, I loved it. And now that the green is on my walls?
Home Depot decided to stop carrying Ralph Lauren paints so we got a deal when we bought it. Of course now, if I need more paint, I will have to locate it, but that is okay. Anyway, it is really awesome to watch the room begin to change just by the superb color choice. With the recently painted white faux fireplace it is a striking color. Even though we have all been told a can of paint can transform a room, it is still pretty incredible to watch by how much. Granted, not everyone digs bold colors in the home, but we do. I would love to get photos up, but our digital camera is one of the first every on the market and even when you charge the batteries, they are no longer holding the charge. Maybe I can borrow someone's or figure out how to get my phone to do it.
Behr paints and Apartment Therapy are doing a Room for Color contest. There are very interesting and inspiring entries.
Now I always look at kitchen design ideas because we are cooks in this casa and because sometimes we are overwhelmed by the McMansion ideas even now. Big Island, marble, etc. I am really digginthese colorful cabinets in the kitchen and I see the possibility of going down this path.
Gotta go rest since I have more painting to do tomorrow.
Why? Because for the life of me, I cannot figure out a proper title for the bounty hunter book. I am tossing all sorts of ideas around from lyrics I like to a line from a book. Frustrating to no end. I was hoping once I was done Poof! It would be there, but no. I do realize that I can pick an obscure phrase from the bible or some odd book or song, but then if it is too obscure it may make absolutely no sense. These are the times I wish I could just call it something generic like the character name or name of where it takes place, but I want a stronger impact. Not that it would not have an impact....UGH!!! Anyway, enough of that rant.
The Angels book is moving along though I did add a story line that strayed too far from my original idea and did not work. Seems these last few days have been brain freeze days for me. Today I am looking to get back into the groove or at least locate it.
Pulled the following book to help in my research on Mary Magdalene.
A friend has turned me on to this wonderful weekly ongoing comic called FreakAngels. The story is a nice dystopian tale and the illustrations are superb.
I have also become a huge fan of the BBC One 6 episode series Jekyll. Well written dialogue, creepy and absolutely brilliant. I am so jealous, I admit that quite freely, that I had not come up with the idea.
What a week and weekend. Birthdays, business trips, house sitting, a paid massage clinic all good stuff, but WOW! I need more hours in a day. Like thirty four. This week is shaping up to even more insane. Not that it is a bad thing, but I will be doing a lot of running around while fitting in the gym, writing and normal household errands. I also need to print out coupons for some shopping I have to do and also look into some house stuff. Good times. Truth be told, I need a vacation. A warm place where I have to do nothing but raise my hand and have a drink placed in it. Is that wrong? I did not think so. Close friends of ours in California reminded us we have not seen one another for seven years. Sad but true. I would love to visit them right now. A change of scenery is necessary for everyone, especially me, but there are a few road blocks. Flights are not cheap, renting a car is not cheap, we can do our best to plan to have spending money but that does not always pan out and the big one, no one to watch our pets, especially our handicapped dog. I have been trying to find dog sitters that could handle her, but she is not the only issue. Our one cat is on serious medications so while we could let her slide a day or two, five days or a week is not possible. My husband and I have begun the practice of "Why don't you go?" If both of us cannot afford to travel, well, one of us can. This is his best friend, he really should go see him. Yes I would like to go, but it really is a touch difficult. Compromise is not an awful thing and if it came down to it, I would want my hubby to go. I can always go next time. :) At least I have time to read, sort of... I finished "The Laughing Corpse" the second book in the Anita Blake series in two days. I do like the story concept even though I am not normally a huge fan of series books. One of the issues I am having is with some of the writing. There were a a few times where I could tell the author found a word she really liked and used it as much as possible in her descriptions. Nothing annoys me more then reading a description such as "Tombstones stood like sentinels" and a half page later read "He stood, looming like a sentinel." Granted I am not a published author so who the hell do I think I am critiquing her, but it stood out like a neon light to me every time. My husband read Andre Agassi's autobiography "Open" which he thoroughly enjoyed. He could not stop raving about it. No I did not read it because I have a few books going, but I swear I will add it to my list and get to it sometime this millennium.
A friend of mine made the above comment as he is traveling in India and was trying to find a place to worship. This comment also was made during an episode of Sex and the City.
As someone who has been doing a lot of research on religion as of late, I think a guide would be a terrific idea. What would be some of the criteria? What are people looking for when they seek out a Church or Temple when traveling? Good music? Fire and brimstone? I was thinking, you would have to discuss length of service, if there is coffee time after or scripture study. Do they have Sunday school that children could attend if need be? Think about it, you are from Chicago and visiting New Orleans and you want to attend services. Are you looking for Catholic? Episcopal? Baptist? And every religion has different variants. High Catholic, Catholic light....there has to be a market for this. I just wonder how detailed in the description one would need to get.
This is timely for me because I myself have not been thrilled with the Churches I have attended as of late. Mostly Episcopal, what I find missing is a vibrancy and a passion imbued by the pastor and its attendants. One Episcopal church we have gone to does have a powerful vibe, but truth be told I still feel something is missing. This is why I want to go to Saint John the Divine in NYC because I believe there is a strong feeling of God there that I am not getting elsewhere. I am hoping to go there in the near future so I will let you know how it goes. Let me add that I have listened to and watched online sermons of the new fangled contemporary Christian churches that lure the young ones in with tattooed preachers and rock music, but for me they hide the Puritanical swill underneath that suave hair cut and drum solo.
All of this makes me think, while the comment was made in jest, perhaps this is something I should seriously consider putting together. I would have to start with the area I know. I would attend Lutheran, Christian, Catholic, etc. services and do summaries of the services. I would have to remain unbiased of course and as I listen to the sermons must put it into context of the faith. Regardless of my belief system, I would have to keep them from tainting the reviews. Which of course makes me wonder what would be something that is bad in the service? I can say I have seen many a poorly given sermon. Music that would make your ears split since it was off key, but would that be unChristian and unprofessional? This is something to muse over and seriously consider. Perhaps, once I get my fiction published, I could start culling this list and see if it is something anyone would even have an interest in reading and following. The most important factor would be to not insult the various congregations I would be discussing as faith is extremely personal. Definitely something to ponder.
Oh yes, yes I want one. For those of us who do crafts of any kind The Original Scrapbox is fabulous. I do not even care if I have a smaller one, I think it is a terrific idea and I envision all of my wonderful yarns in happy places alongside my needles and pattern books. Ribbons and Fabrics neatly stores and cataloged....ahhh to dream. This post was on Apartment Therapy and Casa Sugar. Love, love love!
Just discovered this book Hush, Hush on The Well-Read Wife blog and I really want to read it. BUT, I think I should not read it since I am working on a story that also has Angels as a main character and I should avoid any outside influence. I hit a wall of writer's block recently and reading some supernatural story excerpts from other writers did not help. It confounded me further. Undue influence is something I try to avoid because my character's have their own voices, not mine, not yours, their own. So by reading anything that is remotely close to the same topic or character development I have messed with my own head. After a conversation with a friend who kindly let me use him as a sounding board, I am sticking with my original ideas. It is weird when you start to question yourself, your own creativity, but that's life. We all beat ourselves up, being our toughest critics. Now I will lay my weary head down and hope I wake up refreshed, ready to write.
Excellent post by Sharon at The Chatelaine's Keys about living in the "wrong house" but loving it just the same. The need to relocate and then realizing, heck, I am exactly where I belong. I can appreciate this because I love where I live now, but do not think I wonder if it is worth it to one day move to Asheville or San Francisco or wherever. For now though I am happy in Western New Jersey and would not trade it for anything in the world. There is a sense of community, I can garden and my home is NOT a starter home, it is a home thank you very much. There is a phrase we need to toss out the window. Bigger is not always better and I have enough space. I do the cleaning, trust me, we have more than enough space. In the end, home is where the heart is and our home has a big heart.
It does happen. I get into a frenzy of creativity overload and then BAM! Nothing gets done. With the current weather I should be knitting my godson's blanket, but have I? No. Shame on me. I am aiming to do some this weekend so let's pray that I get it done.
The writing has been moving along quite well. I am currently working on a battle scene for my Archangels. I have watched Gladiator to help with the layout of a scene. "Single Column!"
I have completed the ending and now the battle scene and the blow out between two major characters has to be written. I have to say, I love this story. Do I want others to love it? Of course, but if they do not, it is okay. There are more stories in this twisted, imaginative mind of mine. Oh, I have been editing my bounty hunter story as well since it needed to be gutted in some areas. Good times. The Angel story will go out first to the agencies. When that day comes, I will be very nervous, but excited.
I just got "Guilty Pleasures" by Laurell K. Hamilton to read on recommendation. I am excited to start it and will do so when I am done with this post. I also am reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". I like it so far though the literal translation does make you have to review sentences a few time.
I still have to finish two pieces of artwork I started and fix some curtains, but yes, I have time to peruse sites for lovely things for me to share.
I watched all of season 1 on Netflix today and it was mind boggling. Compulsive hoarding is this incredibly crippling mental illness. A few of the folks made me want to smack them so hard, but I realized as I watched, how trapped they really are by these irrational feelings. I felt sorry for their families and friends who could only stand by helplessly as they watched their loved ones spiral further out of control. Season 2 is not on Netflix yet, but I admit, I cannot wait to see the show as it is addicting, but not in a "watch the sideshow" kind of way. For me it is a pure fascination with how the mind can just compensate or meltdown in ways that we never even imagined for the slightest tragedy or concern. If you have never seen the show, you may want to check it out sometime.
I am a lover of hats. All kinds of hats. And I admit that I miss the days when women would coordinate their outfits and top it off with an elegant chapeau. Most of the women seemed to maintain perfect hair upon removal of hat too, but I think that had to do with some serious hair shellacking.
Sometimes I would like to cover my head with a charming scarf or the one thing I truly love and covet, a Spanish mantilla with a peineta.
The problem these days, wanting to cover your head brings about confusing reactions. People find it odd if you wear hats outside of church, and not many folks wear them to church anymore. Hell, you are lucky if people bother to get dressed nice for church.
Sure I can buck the system and wear mantillas, scarves and hats whenever I please, but I don't go out to many places where I can pull that off. I work from home so I am not going to be donning my pill box hat as I type. Though that might be fun. I have thought of wearing my wedding gown around the house. Since it resembles something Queen Elizabeth would have worn back in the 1500's, I love it so.
Lots of religious sects require head coverings and I sort of like that. Though I am not into wearing a wig like some Hasidim women do. Well, maybe if I could have crazy fun with it, but the point of covering is not for fun, it is for modesty and respect.
Anyway, here are some cool coverings and adornments. Enjoy!
I have been reading the book Radical by David Platt, a pastor of The Church at Brook Hills. The reason I got it was because his interview on NPR was very interesting. Of course, now that I am reading it, not so interesting.
First off, I was raised Catholic went to Catholic school, Catholic camp the whole nine yards. I left Catholic school my freshmen year and went to public school. That was a gift. My mother taught me that people have to atone for their own sins, that you should thank God for every day you are given and priests are not "hotlines" to God. The priest at my Catholic school said this in Mass one day and I thought she was going to pitch a fit. All that being said, I believe that everyone has the right to practice their faith how they choose. Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, etc. You believe in God? Go with him then.
What I dislike about certain faiths is mostly what this book's message is. If you do not accept Jesus Christ as your Savior you are pretty much damned.
Ummm, how about no?
I have enjoyed reading his views on doing missionary work, preaching the gospel and gathering disciples. Yes it is in the footsteps of Jesus, but thinking that other faiths have it wrong and are all damned? One church was praying for the people in London who go to "Anglican churches." That is touchy for me. Why? Because some faiths have been around longer than others and people should have the right to worship how they believe.
The few friends I have that are "born again", except for this one woman who I fully believe is a true gift from God with her compassion and love, have pretty much tried to justify their thoughts on this by saying "I just want to walk in life with Christ." Great, but do not tread on others while doing so please.
I was on a website of a contemporary Christian church. What that means is the pastors are tattooed, hip, there is live rock music and they love Jesus. What is also means is they disguise their hardcore fundamentalism under the guise of "Walking with Jesus Christ". One of the Biblical Womanhood sessions was about Gluttony. The leader of this session was the wife of one of the pastors. She talked about how she chose food over God and she had to repent for being such a sinner. I nearly fell off my chair. There was no addressing if it was an eating disorder or where her gluttony stemmed from. She just needed "to open her heart to God". What was fascinating listening was how she broke down and really believed she had committed this heinous sin. The church has a touch of Calvinism to it and I am not a fan of that, but hey, to each their own.
Another pastor at the same church discussed his sins and what a lost life he lead until he found Jesus. Now he was saved and wanted to spread the Word. While that may seem harmless, what is not harmless is the sudden fire and brimstone attitude he gave off because he was saved and the rest of us are living in sin.
This is where religion is dangerous. This is where it is not accepting and not loving. I do believe in Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit and I chose to worship in my own way. If you think that damns me fine, but only God can judge and last I checked, these folks are not God.
Came across the Copy Cat Chic website, love love love, in Real Simple and I am giddy with power. First of all I love that she posts about beautiful, sometimes high end furniture and then posts it's more affordable and still well made counterpart. She did a post on sofas and discussed how you may love the $3000 Williams Sonoma sofa but hate the price. Well, Designer Sofas Direct have a similar looking one for $699. HALLELUJAH!! I cannot wait to play on the website and see what I can find for our living room.
My hubby has painted the floor in the office. So now the guest room and office have beautiful cream floors. I have to order area rugs for the parts that are in heavy traffic areas. I will be going on Heritage Unlimited to see if I can find something for both rooms.
Our front door is red. The problem is I only painted the side facing the street so now I need to paint the side in our living room. This will be pretty cool since the living room color is going to be a dark sage green so between the white fireplace and red door it should be really choice.
With the chill coming on, our focus will be on indoor projects that is for sure. I do need to get outside today to plant the pachysandra where the weeds used to be. :)
"One cannot be betrayed if one has no people." - Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects
For better or for worse, there is something interesting about finding out people you have known for a long time or even a short time do not really like you. Or say they do like you, but for awhile there, it was touch and go. What makes it ever more interesting is that these people have friends that you know who are way more abrasive or selfish or generous then you have ever been. People you would never call in an emergency or even for dinner. But that is life, no? Dynamics between people are complicated and fascinating. At least that is what they say. I think it is easier than that. Some want to be the star, the main attraction. Others think they know what is best because they follow the rules. Then there are those where drama reigns supreme. We all want to shine and when we do not or get a tad eclipsed, it is easier to dislike the person than get to know them. As I get older, I find that most people are a real pain in the ass. Myself included. One has to wonder how we have even made it this far in life? We get set in our ways or we embrace change, but then our little idiosyncrasies rear their heads and let's face it, they are not always fun ones. Maybe that is why some folks have few friends. Better to keep it limited to those who accept you as you are and forgo new allies. But that is not always safe either. Some of your dearest and nearest may find ways to pick on your little faults or character deficits. They claim it is to "help you" but in reality it is a behavior or trait they do not like and are hoping to God you finally change it. I don't ask my friends to change anything, I believe most people don't. There are reasons why you have chosen them, including your spouse/partner, to spend time with. Sure someone may have a penchant for long winded story telling, get a little tipsy at parties or enjoy drama, but you see past that stuff. You see the kind hearts, the good souls, the charming wit. You see why you like or love these people and hang out whenever you can. Or you dislike them and choose to avoid them like the plague. The truth is, it is hard to discover you have been the one who is odd man out. It does not hurt, it does not wound, it just is. When you get older you learn to not care, but it is sort of insulting. Then I guess you do care. But it does give you some sort of power. You become the one who can choose not to be around those that were once considered friends. Sure it may get lonely at times, but there is social networking and acquaintances. You will also still have the true friends who have taken you warts and all for a long time. Of course they always live far away be it in the same state or across country. I included the quote from The Usual Suspects because there is a lot of truth to that statement, sad as it may be. Sometimes flying solo is safer then trying to play in the sandbox and getting told to leave after everyone has used your pail and shovel and decided it is just not good enough.
I finished "Striptease" by Carl Hiaasen and I have to tell you, it was a lot of fun. You can breeze through it all the while enjoying the story and crazy characters. His book "Sick Puppy" was highly recommended from my friend who introduced me to this author so I will be picking that up at some point. The library is holding my non-fiction book by David Platt called Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. I had heard him interviewed on NPR and was very intrigued. He is basically the opposite of Joel Osteen and others like him who are tagged prosperity preachers. I am not looking to bash one preacher over another, just curious to read what Mr. Platt has to say. The same friend who turned me on to Carl Hiaasen has also recommended Laurell K.Hamilton's Anita Blake series. She is a strong female characterwho helps the police hunt criminal vampires. So, I have ordered Guilty Pleasures from the library. My friend told me this first book is alsoher weakest because you can see she was still hashing the character out, but from the second book on it takes off. Okay, I am game. A woman at the gym loaned my "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" which I hope to start over the weekend as well. Yes my friends, I have A LOT to read. HAHAHA :)
My husband and I sat down the other night to discuss his notes on my novel and what he thought worked and did not work. Let us just say, my writing style has changed so much that I am gutting the book. Yes, gutting. This is not a bad thing at all, the story remains the same, up to a point. Of course my angel story can be written at the same time, but as of yesterday and today, I have been reworking the other one. I find I am enjoying the rewrites because I have discovered important details I ignored or should have removed. Better yet, I am able to enrich the story, bringing in more background, weaving a quilt of words which are necessary. Ahhh, writing is bliss.
Do not panic, there is not a church in the world that would offer a coupon, but that would be a very funny promotional idea. No, I am referring to the magazine All You and their neat giveaways and sweepstakes. While I am not a Wal Mart shopper, the one or two things I ever purchases there fell apart so that is that, they do offer some great free samples. I won a giveaway once on Lucky Magazine's website, but that's it. I am a sucker for free samples though. It is a great way to try a product and since they send coupons with the product, then you can buy it and use it if it worked for you.
Churches. I love churches. Some of them are incredibly beautiful and some of them are architectural wonders. Through ongoing research for my novel, I have found some churches/abbeys/monasteries that I would love to visit. But first, here are some of the ones I have been fortunate enough to see.
As one who was raised Catholic, I realize what I like about all the Churches I have listed is they command respect on sight. These imposing stone structures have faith is imbued in every stone, every pew, every altar. You walk into each place and feel God is present. I like that about Churches. There should be a strong presence of faith and peace to me. Look, you can pray in a barn for all I care since God is everywhere, but I still like the vibe of a standing, one hundred year+ holy place. One of those places I would like to visit that gives off such an air is the Benedictine Abbey, Mont-Saint Michel in Normandy, France. Oh yes, I must see this place in person.
Hope you have enjoyed our little journey of Churches today.