Friday, August 29, 2008

Maybe You Can Explain It To Me

I love fiction. I've read all kinds of books, of course, but fiction has always reigned for me. Writing fiction, however, has been stalled. I don't have writer's block, I have writer's brick wall.

So imagine my surprise when I was jotting a few thoughts down in the journal, on parenting, of all things- and I decided to start typing it up. Suddenly thoughts are flooding me. I can barely type fast enough to get it all.

Could I be actually writing a non-fiction book? And do I qualify to give anybody advice? I have no alphabet soup after my name. I do have two pretty great kids, though. Maybe you can explain it to me.

Or maybe you can explain why my dog can whine and moan and lie on her back and paw the air like she's saying CAN THE POOR, POOR DOGGIE GET A LITTLE BIT OF AFFECTION FROM YOU, PLEASE and when I reach down to give her the begged-for belly rub she springs up to sniff her butt to check if it's still there. Whichever is easier.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In Which I Lay A Big Smooch On Alan Rickman

Cute Guy Wednesday features a somewhat unorthodox hottie...

Was there anyone who wasn't fascinated by Die Hard's Hans Gruber, the ultimate suave villain? I loved it when Bonnie Bedelia said, "After all your posturing, all your speeches, you're nothing but a common thief."

"I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite. "

Even when the rest of the movie sucked- and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves did- he shined. The Sheriff of Nottingham was Snidely Whiplash on acid, but his over-the-top antics still made beautiful sense. It was also a joy to watch.

"That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas."

[to a wench] You. My room. 10:30 tonight. [to another wench] You. 10:45... And bring a friend.

Of course, he wasn't always a villain. I don't know many women who didn't absolutely swoon when Col. Brandon carried Marianne home, and waited outside her sickroom door in Sense and Sensibility.

"What can I do?"

"Colonel Brandon, you have done so much already..."

"Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad."

Any man who could make me feel for Severus Snape while still despising him has got Mad Skillz.

By Grabthar's hammer...

I love that man.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Visions Of The Eighties Dance In My Head

OMG you guys! To the Max! I mean, like, it's totally bitchin', ya know?

Fer sure!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Old Ladies Rule

I just finished washing up after fixing my family a hearty (read: ventricle slamming) breakfast in honor of my son's 15th birthday. Funny how different things make me feel young, and different things make me feel old.

My own birthdays don't really affect me much anymore. I went into a spiraling depression on number 38; all the Things I've Never Done loomed very large. So too did the Things I'll Never Do- not that I wanted to become a ballet dancer or go to the Olympics or be in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Putting things into the file marked "that ship done sailed" hurt more than I thought it would. I got my groove back around age 40. There truly is a freedom that comes with new dreams.

The older my kids get, the older I feel. I find myself telling old stories more, you know the drill: When I Was Your Age, We Had To Walk To School Uphill In The Snow, We Ate Dirt And We Were Thankful, etc. My children never tire of hearing about things they did as babies. It's like they need to fill up that time gap from birth to when their own memories take over. As much as I enjoy it, it blows my mind. I still have trouble saying I did anything 15 years ago, much less I gave birth 15 years ago.

I still get angry that I've been cheated on the wonderful times I could be having with my mom. There's so much she could talk me through right now, so much we could share. I hate cancer.

But there's an odd sort of hope, too- I am very firmly PARENT, but more and more becoming FRIEND. I have so much fun with my kids. Quite frankly, the older they get the more interesting they are. And I'm looking forward to being an old lady with unholy joy. Old ladies can get away with anything. Demand certain seating, tell someone off, pat the occasional young man's tight backside, whatever. Old ladies can do it all.

And as much as I love my children, I'm dreaming of the things I'll be able to do when they're gone. Or at least at college.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Victoria's Secret? Volleyball!

I am an Olympic fanatic. The opening ceremonies are must-see for me. Even sports like archery, shooting, and trampoline (yes! trampoline!) will do for a late-night insomnia session. But I've noticed a disturbing trend lately in a few of the summer games, namely track and volleyball:

Now I understand why volleyball has suddenly become a prime time hit.

Have you seen what the men wear to play volleyball and run track? The shorts are so long they're practically pedal pushers! They still seem to be able to run fast and spike balls. I just can't grasp why wearing dental floss undies would make it easier to jump and sprint. One would think the mega-wedgie alone could cause major problems. I know I would miss the ball coming straight at me while I was dislodging my Nike Swoosh.

Do I have a point or am I a hopeless old person who's just a JELUS LOOSER?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chapter 33: In Which Our Heroine Is Menaced By Angry Drag Queens

I’ve mentioned this incident a couple of times, and someone asked me to elaborate. When I was in college at North Texas State University, now known as U. of North Texas, I stayed in the musician/actor/artist’s dorm. Bruce Hall was a crumbling mansion with no air conditioning and a dozen ways to smuggle in contraband. We had slackers, divas, and a little more than our share of those in Alternative Lifestyles. Bruce’s official motto was The Last Dorm to Conform, but we knew it as Bruce: Where Men Are Men and Sheep Are Nervous.

Anyhoodle, some of my friends decided to go clubbing in Dallas and made me go with them. I wondered how much fun I could actually have in a gay bar, but whatever. The first club was pretty cool- there were men and women, straights too- and I got propositioned by a beautiful woman in the bathroom. I don’t know why I’m still slightly proud of that. Probably because I’m a pathetic attention ho at times.

At the next club, they knocked a few people out of the way to get the perfect table. When I asked why, they just smiled and said, “You’ll see.” I did. The music started, which sent the guys into a flurry of primping; hair perfect, skinny ties adjusted, eyebrows pasted down. When the drag show performers took the tiny stage, they were in heaven and I was depressed. It’s bad enough to be intimidated by another woman, y’know? A million dollar’s worth of surgery couldn’t make me look as good as those guys. One guy, Bart, had his own hair grown out, no wig. It was glorious. At this point, my friends were practically drooling. Cheerleaders walking past a construction site wouldn’t get this reaction.

After the show, a few of the showguys sat at our table. In yet another example of why no one should ever drink, I said, “Let me ask you something. You all are Men, right?” I had infused the word with the proper amount of macho pride.


“And you love men?”


“And the men you love most look like women?”

You know those movies where there’s a party with really loud music and people chattering and the characters have to shout to be heard and one person says something very stupid and suddenly the music stops with that record-scratching noise and everyone stops talking and stares at her? Yeah, it was that kind of moment.

The two friends I had left hustled me out with declarations of how much I’d been drinking and how I wasn’t too bright in the first place. They never took me out again, which was okay with me, although Bart did give me some good advice on conditioner.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oh, Whatever. I Hate Titles

It's a bummer of a week over here. My son's beloved bearded dragon, Drake, died Monday.

I know, I know. Most of us mammal lovers will say Come On. It was a lizard. A lizard that cost $70, from a reputable pet store. But for my herpetologist, that little reptile was his world. He worked very hard to get it; we made him do all his research on what it needed to live, habitat, feeding, etc. When he finally did get Drake he was so conscientious about when the basking light was to go on and off he set the alarm for 6 am. In the summer. He was a positive demon about cleaning the $120 terrarium- the rest of his room didn't get that kind of attention. I heard him say wash your hands before you touch him, please so many times that I wondered where my messy, procrastinating teenager had gone.

From what information we could get, some lizards are very picky about their diet. But they will turn their pointed noses up to the point of starvation, which is what Drake did. We had just bought a different food source and vitamins and what not, prepared to force feed him, when he went South.

My son held him when he died. We buried him under the irises off the front patio, and Lord but there are times when being a mother sucks. Since he's a young man now, he's past crying on my shoulder. Since he's a carbon copy of his father, he won't talk much. My main worry is that he'll blame himself- but there's not much he could have done. He worked as hard for that animal as I worked for him. Thank God the salamander we got from a kiosk in the mall for $30 is still going strong.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

If This Is Hollywood's Idea Of Hot I Need To Poke A Stick In My Eyes

So I decided to find out what the fuss is with the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer. I'm about halfway through the first one and...I don't get it. Seriously, I don't get it.

Granted, I am not exactly in the target audience. Teen angst ceased to thrill me about ten years ago, and there's only so much she likes him and he asked her to the prom and did he kiss you OMG! OMG! I can take. The main character finding interesting ways to bend the truth around her dad so she can go out with the 'bad boy' while still getting A's on her math tests and term papers gave me hives. Probably because my own daughter is about this age, and it started to scare the crap out of me.

I think these books are termed YA, and aimed there, so I don't think I can fairly compare it to vamp romance novels. But having read my fair share in the past five years, I can't help but think I've seen this all before. And I have, in...almost every vamp romance novel I've read in the past five years. Just take them out of their 30's and shove them in high school, and viola! Megahit.

The book isn't bad, per se, but it isn't new. And I don't think the movie is going to help matters for me. To wit:

Good Grief. Okay, really? This is what passes for hot these days? Yes, I know that the vamp, Edward, is supposed to be pale but this dude would put a fish's belly in the Artic in the winter to shame. Or the current state of my legs, take your pick. Sexy, tousled hair is one thing; small animal got caught in it is another. And Edward's described as having dark circles under his eyes, but I don't think that comes from L'Oreal eyeliner. I want to know what shade his lipstick is, though. I've got a dress that would look great with it.

What gets me is that actor played Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter movies, and he was all kinds of cute. They had to actually work to make him look this bad. Considering that Edward is misogynistic in the extreme, moody, borderline stalkerish and takes emo to the horrifying limit, he'd have to be waaaay hotter than that to make me swoon.

Kids today. What are you gonna do?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Best Romance Hero Ever

This guy is definitely the best hero I’ve ever seen. He isn’t an Alpha male;

He isn’t a fireman, a cop, or a Navy Seal;

He isn’t a cowboy, a pirate, or an eligible Duke;

He isn’t a Greek businessman, a powerful Sheikh, or a ruthless Italian millionaire;

And he certainly isn’t a shape shifter, demon hunter, or vampire.

But he has worked jobs he didn’t enjoy for 20 years to provide for his family;

He has loved his daughter and shown her the way a true man treats a lady;

He has overcome his natural ‘men don’t show emotion or affection’ to give his son both;

And he has made his wife feel important, wanted, sexy, smart, and loved- so, so loved.

Waking next to him is like turning the next page of the greatest love story ever written, and for once, I am the heroine of the tale.

He’s my hero, and today we celebrate the 21st year of our happily ever after.

Happy Anniversary, Gary. I love you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Think I'd Re-title This... Allergic to the Were-Chihuahua.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Books: Dead Or Undead?

My daughter went to the release party for the new Twilight book, Breaking Dawn, Friday night at Borders. She had a blast. There were total strangers bonding over character dissections, the overpriced iced coffee in the cafe, and whether or not they thought the movie would be any good.

There were also frenzied groupies screaming in the parking lot. "Oh My God, this is the best book EVAAAHHHH!"

She and her best friend had so much fun, and have had their noses stuck in the pages all weekend. Which leads me to ask:

Is the printed page truly going the way of the dodo, as has often been prophesied? If it is, then how could a book warrant this kind of fangurl squeeing? Especially from the text message-OMG-LOL-will not capitalize my i's-generation, who supposedly have the attention span of a gnat?

I will admit I do not understand people who hate reading. I'm sure they have their reasons; one friend of mine said it was because she couldn't take just sitting there. She got anxious if she just sat for too long. Nevermind that she and I could have an Antonio Banderas marathon with no problem.

But if Twilight and the Harry Potter phenomenon and even the Left Behind series (they had to build a 2,500 square foot warehouse just for the release of the last book) are any indication, books aren't going anywhere soon. Maybe it's just with all the competition, they have to be better.

Friday, August 1, 2008

And Boy, Was She Good

Happy weekend, everybody!