Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Did It!

I successfully trimmed my short story from 15,800 words down to 14, 670! Now I can have it critiqued and sent on its way. I feel so relieved:)

I'm having issues with a beloved friend right now. She took my head off verbally last night, and instead of losing my temper right back, I bit my tongue and quietly told her I never expected her to drop everything and come see me.

And today, I very nicely sent her an email, stating that I certainly understood her stress level and to please talk to me if she needed to vent. And reminded her I didn't know her new schedule; I had expected to find her relaxing instead of working. So far, I've not gotten any response, but I hope she calms down soon and either emails or calls me.

Especially now that I've completed an interview and finished with a WIP.

Next problem: I need a title.

My story is about a young chef who finds herself involved with a newly-returned member of the country club in which she works.

Taste of Love?

Cooking up Desire?

The Way to a Man's Heart?

Appetite for Love/Desire?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Time Management?

My friends at the Oh Get A Grip! blog were discussing time management last week, and while everyone has different ideas on how to go about it, there's really no set in stone method. Some people list; some schedule every single minute down to the wire; others simply attack the day and hope everything works out well.

Three years ago when applying for a job, I was asked about how I manage my time. And at the time I had just finished an exhausting year with a husband with heart problems, and being caregiver to my young niece and nephew. My answer was to look at what chores needed to be done in any given day and to prioritize.

For example, a typical day went like this:

6am: Shower, drink my coffee, and dress. Start getting kids up and dressed.
7:30: Everyone out out the door to drop off older two at school.
8:15: Return home; breakfast for the younger three.
8:30-noon: Housework, surfing web, writing, mediating 3 toddler arguements/tantrums.
Noon: Lunch
1:00: Movie hour; nap time
2:30: If no nap was taken, leave to go to school. Otherwise, enjoy the solitude and write!
3:30: Older kids arrive home, if rode the bus. Otherwise, home at 3:15. Younger kids usually asleep at this time!
5:00- Start dinner
6:00- Eat; hubby home.
6:30-8: Cleanup, baths.
8:30-9: Younger ones storytime; bed.
10pm: My bedtime.

And yes, I've blown my stack. When my MIL fell and broke her back, I tried to squeeze in visits to see her, which entailed an hour trip both ways, and was frustrated by not getting all my laundry finished. I had to learn the world wasn't going to end if it all wasn't finished by 5pm. And at Christmas, when my husband nearly died, a comedy of errors showed me I seriously needed some downtime.

We were supposed to attend a family Christmas party. I also needed to go to the store for dog food. I invited my 'older daughter' to attend the party, thinking while she was reconnecting with her kids, I could slip out and go to Walmart without taking the entire crew with me. Hubby wasn't feeling well...we'd all gone through a bout with the stomach flu....and he thought it was his turn. So the kids and I left for the party.

My 'daughter' never showed up. At 4 pm, I loaded them back into the car with the intention of dropping them off at home and then going to get the poor dogs some food. We arrived home; all three were fast asleep; I left them in the car to enlist my hubby's help in getting them and the presents into the house.

Curve ball #1: He's on the phone to 911; they think he's having a heart attack, and the ambulance is on the way! We arrange to send him to the hospital where his doctor is. I telephone my aunt's house and fortunately my parents are still there. Yes, they will meet me at the hospital (my 2 older kids were going home with Grandma for a few days). I take off for the hospital.

Curve ball #2: Dad meets me in the parking lot; the ambulance had taken hubby to the local hospital, in order to transfer him better.

Curve ball #3: After 2 hours, he still hasn't shown up. St. V tells me they'll call MC to inquire about status.

Curve ball #4: Turns out hubby had vomited blood and MC decided to keep him.

Curve ball #5: I sent my 13-yr-old to the van to get the car seat. Five minutes after I kiss him goodbye and watch him leave, I discover he still has my car keys! After frantically contacting the State Police and giving them not only a description of my parents' van but a detailed route between here and their home, I kiss my 'daughter' goodbye after losing my temper with her over her inquiry about me watching the kids on New Year's Eve.

Curve ball #6: At 11pm, Dad calls from home and says he will return with the keys. And, oh, by the way, would I cancel the APB on him? An hour later, I thank him, get in my van, and head to the RIGHT hospital. Get hubby settled, and at 3 am, finally head to the store for dog food!

Curve ball #7: Walmart is waxing the floors in front of the pet department! I have to detour all the way to the back in order to retrieve the 40-lb bag, also enlisting a very nice person to help me wrestle it into the cart. I'm finally home at 3:30; feed the hungry dogs, and fall into bed!

But those two solitary hours helped me get my emotions under control; I was able to focus on what needed to be done and not just on my own mounting frustrations.

So now, when faced with a seemingly huge task, I've learned to step back and take of what HAS to be done, rather than what I think needs to be accomplished in a certain time period.

And for the most part, it's working for me. Overextending myself only leads to frustration.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Indy 500 Memories-1982 and 1986

I think this was the year my interest in racing took off. I confess to a certain shallowness in picking my favorite race car drivers. At this particular time, I was 'in love' with a handsome driver by the name of Kevin Cogan. This particular year, he was sitting in the Pole position (ranked 1st for all you non-racing fans...this position has the highest qualifying speed and has the honor of leading the pack of 33 cars for the first two parade laps), but something happened when the green flag appeared, and an accident occured, wiping out several cars. And since this was before the teams could repair the damage and still re-enter the race, several past contenders were furious at my guy.

And those of us attending Band Camp were huddled around the radio, listening and cheering on the final ten laps and taking imaginary bets on who would win, Gordon Johncock or Rick Mears!

In a photo finish, Gordon Johncock nudged past by mere inches and won the thing! Even to this day, even though we know who the winner was, just hearing the sound bite from the final seconds brings back that adrenaline rush!

My second race (1985 was my 1st) was a downpour. We huddled miserably under our rain gear, eating our sandwiches and watching the futile efforts to get the track dry. Everytime progress would be made, Mother Nature opened up the floodgates and the process would start all over again. The next day, it was still raining. We didn't make the trip to Indianapolis; we watched the progress on live TV. Dad said if things looked better by noon, we'd go. But once again, Mother Nature decreed no.

A week later, the weather was bright and sunny. We made fresh sandwiches, repacked the coolers, and off we set again. This time, everything went off without a hitch. Well, okay. Almost without a hitch! We parked in a different place than last time, and my sister and I set our own 'track record' by setting off in the opposite direction of our seats! We walked around the entire OUTSIDE of the track in 45 minutes...and did not beat our parents to the seats:) We did, however, see some interesting sights...we witnessed the Celebrity Caravan taking off; we joked about stealing an unmanned Pace Car (yellow Corvette! My favorite car!) and driving to our seats; and we pretended not to notice the drunk guy who offered to carry our heavy coolers for us.

And the race was awesome! My guy led several laps, and when an accident ocurred late in the race, I was jumping up and down with excitement, wondering if Kevin was going to win under the yellow light, or if the Safety Crew would get the track cleared in time to go green for the final lap or two. And since Dad's favorite driver, Bobby Rahal was in second place, we had a friendly rivalry between us.

With 195 laps down, the green flag waved. The crowd roared; we all got to our feet and cheered as the pace car pulled into the pits and the drivers hit their accellorators. The race was on! Kevin managed to hold off Bobby for lap 196, but the distance between them closed. Going into to 3rd turn, Bobby edged closer, and by turn 4, saw his chance and took it. He passed Kevin going into the home stretch, and even though Kevin continued to chase him for the final 3 laps, it was all over. Dad was jumping up and down and yelling; I was yelling at Kevin for not taking his spot back; Mom and my sister were also cheering for Rahal. But my sister very nicely said, "It almost happened...there's always next year!" Dad looked at me and said, "Experience wins every time!" and popped open another beer to celebrate.

Unfortunately, the following two years, my guy didn't even finish, and I don't think he even races anymore.

This will be the first year since the mid-90's that my sister will attend the race. And we have some hard and fast rules for picking winners.

1) We always cheer for the women! First it was Lyn St. James, and later Sarah Fisher. Now Danica Patrick stands to be the first female to win at Indy. Wouldn't it be great if she were to do it this year?

2) We always pick at least one rookie to finish. And this has been a private joke: For three years in a row, the rookie we picked either blew his engine at the start and couldn't even begin the race, or was the first one out of the race! We'll see what happens on the 25th!

3) And being loyal to our parents, we cheer for Foyt, Rahal's team, or the Unser family. Used to love Little Al's car...his sponser used to be Domino's Pizza! And we always pick the car with the best logo. One year it was a dentist who was driving...his sponser was Crest:)

And what happened between 1982 and 1985? In 1983, I chose to go to Florida with my church choir and skipped Band Camp that year. Took a lot of flack from my fellow Seniors who couldn't believe I was being taught my routine from (gasp! Shock! Horror!) an underclassmen! Yeah, right...get over it...who cared who taught me the routine, as long as it was somebody? They got over it after a few weeks. And in 1984, I spent time with my grandparents, who had come up from Florida for my HS graduation. And I got to spend an entire month with them afterwards!

Well, I'm off to get busy with revisions. Do me a favor? Click on Suazanne's blog and leave your opinion on her decision to stay home with her kids and WRITE! Or, just send her encouragement as she's sending off her first submission:) Tell her I sent you! And for time management tips, click on the gals at Oh Get A Grip. Do you spend the morning in your jammies? Do you let housework pile up when you're In the Zone? Are you super-organized? Give them your input.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is This Public Knowledge and if so, How Did I Miss It?

Went blog-surfing the other day, and came across one post devoted to Brazillian Wax hygiene.

First of all, ugh! I have a very low threshold of pain, and cannot fathom ripping the hair away from any part of my body with HOT WAX. I do not tweeze my eyebrows; I gently shave away any unwanted body hair under the arms, down my legs, and in the bikini area.

I have a close male friend who told me several years ago that the 'messy look' was out.

"I like the landing strips," he sighed.

Okay. One question: How do you KNOW the 'messy look' is out? He's been married for over fifteen years! Is there a newsletter, a magazine, or was it in the paper? Do you belong to a certain group who keep track of body hair fads?

And secondly, are you SERIOUS? What, can't you find your way without, mmm, uh, a path?

Oh wait...this is a MAN I'm talking to; a MAN who regularly reads Playboy. And yes, knowing him, he looks at the pictures.

But to return to my original thought: What's wrong with simply shaving? I admit to having experimented several years ago, and in the summer time to shaving a little excess off, especially when going to the pool. But wax? Nah. I'll just touch it up in the shower, same as my armpits!

But I have noticed the, uh, clean-shaven trend in my erotica books. So maybe there was an ick factor when describing certain acts? Who wants curls tickling, or loose hairs falling into open mouths?

So maybe there is something to this trend, after all.

Or maybe we're becoming so warped a society that now women have something else to worry about?

Body hair. Who knew? And what's next?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Indy 500 Memories-1977?

My mother's going to laugh at me.


For years, the Indy 500 meant only one thing: We fought traffic along Kessler Blvd in Indianapolis every year, trying to get to Grandma's house. Grandma lived off 30th St, and so my parents would simply walk to the track and leave my sister and I with Grandma.

I don't remember how old I was when they first tried to instill some excitement about open-wheel racing, but I do remember being impressed when we arrived for Time Trials and Janet Guthrie was taking her practice laps.

I remember wandering around the track, eating hot dogs and sitting in various seats. I had a book and was bored after a while. After all, the cars only went around in a circle, and we couldn't see all the action. So what was the point? I went back to my Nancy Drew book. Even when Mom took us up to the seats at the top of the front straightaway, I complained because it was colder and windy up there.

My sister, however, was more impressed, and the next year, saved her money to prove to my father she was serious about attending the race, and purchased her own ticket from him.

I just looked at Race Day as an excuse to skip church. Even when the boy I had a crush on several years later wasn't able to come and get me! Grandma had moved to Florida by then, and I was left alone on Race Day, spending a rather boring day by myself. I've never admitted that until now.

But thankfully, I did 'come to my senses' and I love everything about the 500! Heck, I even showcased it in one of my alter-ego's books! think they'll ever let me join the Caravan of Celebrities either during pre-race festivities or even the 500 Parade?

That would be so cool! I'd get to meet Rupert from Survivor!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Posting Anonymously

I've only done it once, and that was cowardly. But I commented anyway, because the person who wrote it had made it clear she didn't want to be associated with me.

So I commented anonymously.

Now we've had another falling-out, and someone has posted a negative comment on hers without revealing their identity.

It wasn't me; I don't leave nasty comments. If I don't agree with what the person's written, I will either abstain from commenting, or give my polite opinion, depending on how strongly I feel about the issue. But I do NOT leave sarcastic comments when they aren't needed.

In the meantime, I'm continuing to read her posts; I may even resume commenting in a week or so. Just depends on how the wind is blowing, so to speak. If she accepts my private apology or continues to ignore me, well, we'll see.

Moving on....

My alter-ego had some good news concerning a manuscript:) She'll post the good or bad news when the time comes...she doesn't want to jinx herself.

And as soon as I get more ink in my printer, I'll be doing edits on Chapter 4. And I finished the short story I was writing:) Now to shave a couple hundred, or even a thousand, words off somewhere...I think after the 15th (my critique partner's on deadline) I will give it to her and see what she thinks. My submission deadline isn't until September. So no more work on Head of the Class for at least 2 weeks. Don't want to stress out my partner!

In the meantime, it's the month of May in Indiana. And for racing fans, that means Indy 500 time! Throughout the coming weeks, I'll be posting some of my favorite memories. And if you have some you'd like to share, be it anything from fond memories to griping about the traffic, feel free to join in the fun!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Auto Technology

Maybe I should have taken it?

First the computer gods laughed at me yesterday.

Today, it's the automotive gods who are having a field day.

Let's recap the past year:

April 2007: I'm halfway to my convention in Fishers, IN when my van refuses to go faster than 30 MPH. The kind person who let me use her phone graciously took me to my first stop; my friend's house, where my father was waiting to meet me. He was intending to pick up my 3 kids and take them home with him. Little did he know he would first be taking me to Fishers...And later, all it took was a $5 fuel filter repair.

December 1st, 2007: I'm scheduled to go to Muncie, IN, to be a part of the Midwest Writer's book signing. I'm only four blocks from home when I stop to buy oil, and the brakes suddenly lock up. I can't go forward or backwards! Two hours later, hubby gets it fixed and is totally perplexed at why it happened when the phone rings. Forget Muncie; I have to drive to Noblesville in order to get one of my best friends, as her mother just passed away, and she needs a ride to Evansville.

Last Saturday: My son takes my van to Walmart for a forgotten item and calls 30 minutes later to say the van refuses to back up, and the transmission is screaming. Hubby babies it home, and further inspection shows we're gonna need a new tranny. It's okay; Jackie says she needs a day with 'the girls' and says she'll drive.

6:15 am Today: The phone rings. I smile and pick it up, expecting Jackie to say she's on her way. Nope. It's her hubby.

"Got a slight problem. Apparently I hit something last night, and there's a 4-inch gash in the sidewall of one of the tires."

Ouch. And the tire repair shop doesn't open until 9am.

Ouch, ouch, ouch!But, there's a good side to all of this: 1) my kids were early to school; 2) Kelly gets to hold down the fort for the first two hours until we get there; 3) Mikey stayed in his cage all night; 4) I had time for more than one cup of coffee!So just pray everything goes well the rest of the day? Please?

And let's hope that when my next event rolls around, which is the Cincinnatti trip, all vehicles are in good, working condition!!!

Oh, and another piece of good news? My sister and her family are set to arrive on May 17th! She got her visa to cross the border! Woo hoo! For any new readers, she's in Canada and lost not only her work permit papers, but her US birth certificate. Don'cha love beaurocracy? NOT!