Monday, February 27, 2006

Academy Awards Help Needed

I'm going to a shindig at the Tampa Theatre for Academy Awards Night. Like any good mom, I haven't seen ANY of the movies nominated in the big categories. So quick, what was Brokeback Mountain about? Just kidding. I feel like I've already seen it. Not so with some of the others. I'm going to see Brokeback this week since it's still at the theatres and I can squeeze in a matinee while Girlie's at school. If anything is on DVD, I'll find it at Blockbuster and give it a look before next week. What shouldn't I miss? In the meantime, I'm diving into the latest book by Stephen King called "Cell." Don't anybody call me or otherwise try to contact me tonight (and for God's sake no cell phone pranks!). I'm going for full immersion and I'm a very fast reader. I'll let you know what I thought at Tampa Book Buzz in a couple of days (it's the book club pick for Feb.). Ciao!

The Cooler

I have finally figured out the job I was meant to have: the cooler. That's the schmoe who exudes such bad luck that casinos hire him (in my case, her) to walk by and rub a little of the bad stuff on somebody who's winning a little too often. I went to the horse races on Saturday and the first horse I picked came in dead last. The next horse I picked to place, came in third (that's a show). You get the idea. I couldn't even pick the winner of Dancing With the Stars (I picked Rinna, a former classmate of mine.) Add to that the bad luck I had on a recent trip to France and the ongoing flood/asbestos disaster in my living room and you've got the makings of a bad luck professional. I've been considering taking up poker. After this post, I expect to get invited to a lot of games. Look for me at Hard Rock Casino. I'll be the gal touching elbows with that guy who suddenly can't get the dice to roll in his favor. I wonder what coolers get paid?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Wendy's Little Helper

Because my dog looks like Santa's Little Helper, I get to think about The Simpson's every day. My favorite episode ever, you ask? The one where they staged the musical version of Streetcar Named Desire.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Harvest Moon Update

It's three a.m. so naturally I must fill you in on Harvest Moon. Why do I like it so much, you ask? For starters, my Harvest Moon me never has insomnia and isn't totally whipped by her animal friends. I'm up tonight because my clever little pooch has discovered that once my hubby comes to bed, a veritable feast in crumbs is waiting for her on the family room couch where my husband was parked eating snacks before bedtime. He's a night owl so this happens at well, three a.m. And since my dog long since abandoned the crate in favor of sleeping with us, her night time scavenging wakes me up. My Harvest Moon me would have sold her by now. Just like BooBoo the calf. She was cute and all but she fetched me $2,500 at market. And in Harvest Moon, I have a two-headed talking plant that eats fruit and spits up hybrid seeds. Mix a tomato and a watermelon? No problem. There are even recipes involving these hybrid creations. In real life, I have a two-headed cat (actually I have two cats) and it eats two things like rubber bands and houseplants and spits up too. But there are no recipes involving her creations. Don't even get me started comparing my Harvest Moon offspring to my little Girlie. Squirt waters the crops and he was just born like forty Harvest Moon days ago. I also have Harvest Moon friends. In Harvest Moon, you can shamelessly court friendship with a lonely old man hoping that he'll leave you his bonsai plants when he dies (his wife died last Harvest Moon year and he's got major depression). He's already coughed up a new fishing pole in exchange for pickles made out of turnips. My real life friends have never given me a fishing pole. In Harvest Moon, there are no parents or parents-in-law and the water heater never floods your house. I should wrap up by saying that real life is more fulfilling, blah, blah, blah, but it's three a.m. and I can't sleep. I'm too grouchy to be reflective.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Serf Chic

Sometime in history, it must have been that only the wealthy land-owners had water piped into their houses. Others had wells and still others, the worst off, had to fetch water from the creek. Actually, this scenario is probably still true in many parts of the world. That's what gets me about bottled water. Now. Here. Where everybody's got drinkable water running out of their spigots. It seems (hurricane prep aside) that there are those who drink only bottled water that they have to fetch from that modern day creek called Publix. I suppose the wealthiest these days have bottled water delivered to them by men in big white trucks but I know that there are lots of people who stock up on the bottled stuff when they grocery shop. So, these days, it's all reversed. If you're poor (or just hopelessly out of touch), you drink water piped into your sink. If you're on your way up, you buy cases at the creek, I mean grocery store. And if you really care pamper yourself, you have it delivered right to your door. I guess that's the well in my scenario. What does it all mean? Nothing. But now that it's common for everybody to have a car, watch out for the return of horse carriages and buggy whips.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Jumpin' on the bandwagon

I assume that this gripe has been griped to death in some forum or another. But that never stopped me from piling on. Cough, cough, clear my throat... Why aren't there a few more safe places for pedestrians to cross over Bayshore (in Tampa)? It's the longest uninterrupted sidewalk in the universe but you have to make a death-defying dash across the street to get there. What if I fall? It could happen. My history in athletics has left me with sore joints and two fewer bones in my right foot. Falling could happen. Then smush. Just when my Amazon ranking was looking better.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Join A Book Club

Today is book club promotion day here at my blog. I'm having a lot of fun with my online book club facilitated by Tampa Book Buzz. Anybody can join and obviously, you don't have to live in Tampa. So Alison? How about it? We read a wide variety of books. This month it's "Cell" by Stephen King. March is "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire, April is "Saturday" by Ian McEwan, May is "The Year of Magical Thinking," by Joan Didion, and June is "Maps for Lost Lovers" by Nadeem Aslam. If you live in Tampa and meeting in person is more your style, you don't have to wait for an invite from somebody else's club. You can join a book group at Barnes & Noble. I found out about that when South Tampa B&N picked my novel, "Parvenue Throws A Party" as the March choice for its women's fiction group. I'll be visiting the group for discussion on March 28th. Get busy reading, people. At the very least you can read during commercials while you're watching Lost on TV.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

So serious it's called "abatement"

Tomorrow the haz mat guys are coming to "abate" the old asbestos-lined vinyl that was revealed when my house flooded and the wood floors were pulled up. I guess I'll be working away from home that day. Can pets get asbestiosis? It might be bring your two cats and your dog to work day. And crappity crap, my daughter has tomorrow off from school. Does anybody know of a combination playground, dog and kitty park (with wireless internet access)?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Does anybody play Bridge anymore?

I like to play Bridge. It's the best card game as yet undiscovered by people under age 102. My husband (the exception) learned to play in college and he taught me. For a long time, we had another couple to play with once a month but, sniff, sniff, they had to move away. Now people humor me like a crazy nutjob when I mention Bridge and my desire to play it again soon. They just don't understand. It's best played with good friends, a stiff drink, and some jazz on the CD player. Where is your culture, people? Or am I really just a crazy nutjob?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hopped up on caffeine and ready to roll

But first I digress. "Hi Mom. I wish you had been at this year's Suncoast Writer's Conference this year." So, as you know, I was just at the conference and I feel like a wound up toy that just needs to be placed on a hard surface. Okay, not that kind of toy, Bitch. I'm getting out a novel that was well underway before I decided to tackle the Parvenue sequel. I finished polishing up PARVENUE GETS A PASSPORT a couple of weeks ago and I'm ready to move on. The next novel, set for completion prior to Christmas, is tentatively entitled, THE CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR IS A GODLESS HEATHEN. Sure it sounds autobiographical but I'll remind you all that I am never going to run for office no matter how hard you beg. I'm going to sit down, write my fourth novel and click out a slew of travel pieces that have piled up on me. I never have writer's block. I'm just occasionally blocked by my addiction to Harvest Moon (see below). Lucky for all of us, the novelty is wearing off and now it just feels like, well, work. Have a great day, all.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

James O. Born ate my chicken

I went to the Suncoast Writer's Conference this week and although the highlights should probably be that I met Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, and listened to some great stuff by Augusten Burroughs -- I'm at least most amused that I sat next to James O. Born at dinner and he asked to eat the chicken that I didn't touch due to food allergies that are too boring to go into. Mind you, his first words to me were not, "are you going to eat that?" We had struck up a friendly conversation first. But when he signed his book for me today, he wrote, "Thanks for dinner." I guess you had to be there but I was amused. Still am. If that was the most amusing thing, my favorite things were: 1) meeting Kitty and Jennifer O'Neil, authors of Funky Shui. They are funny and engaging and their book is great too. 2) meeting (again) Sheree Bykofsky, an author, agent, and poker shark. She's the type of agent I hope to land one day. Two of her authors are Kitty and Jennifer O'Neil. (It's a small, small world.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

But I've got more cows. Harvest Moon update.

We have a Harvest Moon epidemic at my house. Hubby, Girlie, and I all have our own games going and it's only because Hubby is a night owl that we don't fight over the Playstation 2. I've never had this kind of game addiction. Not even when Zelda came out. Now it's all about one-upsmanship. "I have seven fruit trees." "I caught a Huge Sharshark." "I dug up three skulls." (There's an archeological dig.) "I have three hens." And on and on. Girlie doesn't participate in the bragging because when she plays, she just pets the doggie and makes her character run around in circles. Sometimes she picks a mushroom. We told her that when you run a farm, you have to work to feed yourself and your animals. We were going to let "nature" take its course but then she got so freaked out over possibly losing her cow, Alice, we had to intervene. So her game is really a challenge. She blows off a few days playing in the forest and I come in and scrounge up food for her cow. And I enjoy it. Shoot me now.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Natsume! I'm gonna sue you.

My Hubby bought Girlie the Harvest Moon game for Playstation 2. Now, instead of doing my work or minding my own little ranch, I'm madly growing apple trees, picking flowers, tending cows and other stuff like that. And when I'm not playing my own game, I'm helping Girlie survive the winter without starving her livestock. Somebody save me!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

And now she's on Dancing With the Stars!

About thirty years ago, I listened to my Barry Manilow Live album every day when I got home from Hoover Elementary School where I was in the same class as Lisa Rinna. So imagine my pleasure watching Dancing With the Stars tonight (the results show). There he was. There she was. And in the studio audience? Harry the L.A. Law guy (now Lisa's hubby). I wonder if my Mom was watching too. Mom and Dad still live in the same vicinity as Lisa's parents and in fact they are friends. Now I'll have to confess that the show is pretty awful but it's compelling in a sort of train wreck sorta way. The dancing is great. It's all the rest of it, like the announcers, that aren't working for me. Lisa? You better win big. Do it for the Hurricanes! Yes, the Hoover Hurricanes. Location? Oregon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Party at the LIbrary

I just discovered that you can suggest a book for acquisition by the library. If you are so inclined, you could suggest that the library acquire my book, Parvenue Throws A Party, Paperback, $12.00, Hoyden Press. Many thanks.

My kingdom for a good night's sleep.

A sharp knife, a king size bed, stuff falling on the floor -- it sounds like a scary movie but don't worry, it was a simple pillow top mattress decapitation. Or should I say, formerly pillow top mattress. Word to the wise, never buy a freakishly expensive mattress that isn't under warranty because they've disconinued the model. My hubby and I must have "Sucker" stamped on our foreheads. This was the single worst bed I've ever owned. It's actually better now that we've removed six inches of down but it's not going to last. And I'm a little worried about how much Hubby enjoyed the process. Hmmm. If you don't hear from me again soon, send the cyber cops.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stingrays are not for petting.

You know how a fox will chew off its foot to get away from a trap? I would have chewed off my foot just to get away from my foot. That's how much it hurts to get stung by a stingray. Naturally when it happened we were at a beach you can only get to by boat. Then my dear hubby ran the boat aground trying to take a shortcut back to the dock. The motor stalled and needed something or other replaced (we had one, whew). And finally, we found out that all I needed to do was dunk my foot in hot water. Instantly better. I had to keep it in hot water for most of the day. A week later, however, it became infected and took a month to heal. And my daughter wonders why I don't pet the stingrays at Lowry Park Zoo. This happened ten years ago when I first moved to this wild and dangerous state. Why am I thinking about it today? I went for a stroll on Bayshore Blvd. and stopped to look into the water and staring back at me was a fairly large stingray. It's like that crocodile that follows Captain Hook around. The scar on the inside of my ankle will throb all day now. I miss Oregon.