December 31, 2007

10 Random Thoughts About Pom Pons (and one digression)

1) Most places hyphenate the word, as in Pom-Pon. It is often called a Pompom, Pom-Pom, or Pom Pom. But truly it most correctly called a Pom-PoN. I like to just let it be two words. Pom Pon. Like that.

2) This weekend has been all about CLEANING OUT and REMOVING. Out with the old loot, in with new, and THANKS Santa, not ONE of us was this good! Maisy, I discovered, had six pom pons stuffed into her teeny closet. Blue and white from last year’s Cheerleading. Blue and Gold for this year. Red and white from a high school I visited to talk about BETWEEN, GEORGIA.

3) We put all but one pair in the box of gently used toys for the Salvation Army, because only an octopus could make a case for needing six pom pons, and octopuses don’t cheer. They are crowd-shy, under-rock dwelling sorts. Maybe if you got an octopus a Wii, he would cheer in the privacy of his, er, rock, but TRY GETTING HIM A Wii, I DARE you. None to be had, unless you want to pay 700 bucks for a Wii BUNDLE with ten games, and octopuses emphatically do NOT want to do that, especially since about 7 of the games look DUMB.

4) Maisy’s Pom Pons for Upwards Cheerleading come as these FLATTENED things that look like a small gaggle of dense plastic ropes tied together, and you have to pick apart each little pom-thread by hand and fluff them until they are nine times the size of the original rope and fluffy and attention-call-y as all get out.

5) While cleaning out the house this weekend, it was noticed that BOGGART has a couple of Pom Pons as well. They used to look like little dense beans, but apparently HE has been picking at them and fluffing them, and ALL AT ONCE, there they are. ENORMOUS! PUFFY! Tails UP, everyone, Rah Rah, Sis Boom Bah! He is QUITE proud of them and grooms them EXCESSIVELY.

6) Unless she is playing with them or heading out to Cheer practice, Maisy is required to keep her Pom Pons in the closet. Because no one wants Pom Pons on the floor of the living room.

7) Boggart puts HIS Pom Pons on the floor of the living room every time he sits down. Here he is putting them on the floor of the foyer:


8) As you can see in the photo above, Boggart has left that awkward “I am a skeletal ribbon, and my chassy is much HIGHER in the back than in the front, and my legs are too skinny and long and tangle up with each other in wonky ways so that sometimes as I make improbable leaps from one bit of furniture to the next I bork it up and smash head first into the wall and slide down and THEN try to walk off all COOL like I MEANT to do that while everyone in the room laughs so hard they shoot their beverages out their nose” phase. The Kitten-in-middle-school phase, I call it. He is now a high school boy, and getting to be quite a nice looking young man. He is sleek and lion faced and his fur dapples are a deep and satisfying shade of pumpkin, and his poinky feet and bib are pristinely white. Altogether, he is a delightfully attractive thing to LOOK at. I like to see him winding by me, or sitting, or stetching. He pleases my eyes.

I do not, however, like to look the Pom Pons. They are not an aesthetically pleasing bit of cat.

(DIGRESSION) FOR THE RECORD! Number 8 has nothing to do with Aragorn’s, er, sporting equipment and is certainly NOT a response to any comments made after the previous post, most especially not Aimee’s and TrudyJ’s. Although, now that you mention it, Viggo Mortenson is ALSO sleek and lion faced and a delightfully attractive thing to LOOK at. If we WERE talking about male bodies, which we most emphatically were NOT, then I might say Mr. Mortenson has a LOVELY one, truly, and I would not hesitate to purchase the 2008 Aragorn In Underpants calendar, and please note the words IN UNDERPANTS because I feel those words are KEY. STILL I am CERTAINLY not drawing any PARALLELS here. It is just some simple observations that no matter how lovely a um, cat is, I do not want to look at his pom pons. Resist the temptation to suspect me of perpetrating metaphor or even ANALOGY. I am JUST SAYING.

9) Let us sing a song of rights of passage. This week, our kitten has become a man cat! And also this week, I am fixing that. Come Janury 6, the only pom pons sitting out in the living room will be MAISY’s remaining pair, and HOW many TIMES have I TOLD YOU KIDS to CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES??!?!??!

10) As Scott and I were cleaning out yesterday, I snatched up Maisy's Pom Pons and shook them about and said the only cheer I know:

Rah Rah Ree! Kick ‘em in the knee!
Rah Rah Ralls! Kick ‘em in the OTHER knee.

Somehow, this cheer seems to be a fitting end.

Posted by joshilyn at 10:04 AM | Comments (17)

December 27, 2007

A Minor Christmas Tragedy, But Mostly Triumph

There WAS NO AIM BALL!!!!! The Championship of the Entire Universe Forever was postponed due to a roiling, pernicious virussy thing that hit everyone in the house one after another. It lasted a day and change, and featured mild fever, headache, joint aches, crabbiness, general malaise, chills, coveting the presents of others, and a bottomless appetite for simple carbohydrates. While in the nub-clawed grip of this mild monster, exercise of any sort led to sweaty, trembling weakness and EXTRA crabbiness. So. Svetlinka slumped dejected in the corner of the Yeti’s cave, as he ululated mournfully for a rematch that was not to be.

All week, starting with Scott on day one and ending with my brother who began to get it just as we were loading up the car to leave, we took 24 – 36 hour turns wrapped in a blanket, puling on the outsize sectional sofa that my mother calls THE GREEN MONSTER and picking at fat potato fat fat with palsied, bitter fingers.

Still, it was an AWESOME holiday – to have all ten of our little circle there, together---it was perfect. We all really like each other, and we had a good time even DURING our turns at being Sicky. We ate too much (even the sick people couldn’t resist my mom’s culinary mastery) and we talked and watched movies and opened more presents than ANY of us deserved and went to a PERFECT Christmas service that ended – as ALL Christmas services should – with a thundering rendition of JOY TO THE WORLD, and we caught up on all the family gossip and drank good wine and played games, including Guitar Hero on my cousin’s new X-Box.
Well, I skipped that last one.

They INVITED me, but I backed away slowly, muttering something about smelling something burning because I have no sense of rhythm and I dance like Weird Al Yankovitch in White and Nerdy on a GOOD day and, you know, I DO NOT LIKE SONGS. I made it to the doorway and sprinted away like a rabbit. But ALL the kids played and Scott played and absolutely NONE of them looked like GEEKS as they hunched over the fake guitar button punching and leaping about with their tongues clamped between their teeth. NO, NOT ONE! Fer realio.

Daniel, who is tall and built and good looking, a boy who both plays lead REAL guitar in a band and is a star on the football team ASSURES me that playing guitar hero, in PUBLIC! At PARTIES! is cool. Well. OKAY! If he says so, I must accept it, because the football thing ALONE makes him practically a deity in Alabama, and when you stack the good looking and the band etc on TOP then you HAVE to assume the boy knows what is cool and it is him. SO PUBLIC GUITAR HERO PLAYING = COOL. But…why?

Scott, who thought Guitar Hero WAS totally cool, would like to point out that I am not even 40 yet, and therefore WHY is my natural fuddy is getting clogged up with duddy? I dunno… I AM 39. Perhaps it is TIME to get fuddy with it. Is this normal? Or PREMATURE???

MY kids got a Wii. Well. Sort of. It is on back order, ALAS, so what they REALLY got was a couple of Wii games and PROMISE, and they were over the MOON about that. HEY! If they FORGET about the Wii in the three weeks it will take for the stores to have them again, then next year maybe I can give them a picture of a pony and some spurs and see how THAT goes over. *grin*

ANYWAY, assuming they remember – and I BET they will ---we ARE getting the Wii, and when it comes, I have PROMISED I will NOT be such a damp blanket! I will make my Mii, and I will SNATCH that remote with ENTHUSIASM, with VIM, even, maybe even with VIGOROUS DELIGHT, and I will go into Mario World and RUN at a tower all pell mell and harum-scarum, and then I will FLING STARS by swashing the remote all around, and when I do, I bet ANYTHING I fling that weird remote RIGHT through the middle of the TV screen. SMASH! But at least I won’t be called a fuddy-duddy on the way to Best Buy.

Scott would like to point out NOW that they MAKE Guitar Hero for Wii. Heh.

OH! Movie recommendation! We watched EASTERN PROMISES, and it EARNED that Golden Globe nom for best pic, and I have to say, David Cronenberg is neck and neck with the Coens as my favorite director, BUT! WHY in the name of Fuzzy Objects is he SO insistent on showing me Aragorn’s naughty bits? It’s as if he now reads scripts until he finds one that has BOTH moral ambiguity and a ten minute full frontal (and side-al! and back-al! And underneath-al!) Viggo nude scene. Oh well. EASTERN PROMISES is smart and hugely entertaining and will have me turning its themes around and around in my mind for a long time to come, so…Bring it, Viggo. I’m not THAT big a fuddy duddy. Yet.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:35 PM | Comments (16)

December 21, 2007

I Dash Past the Other Way, Careenign in the General Direction of Alabama

We are off to have our family Christmas, oh Best Beloveds. YAY! Mom's fudge! Raiding my dad's cellar! Ping Pong and the night time Zoo safari and candlelight service with ALL my favorite hymns and Honeybaked ham and Ice Cold Aim Ball World Championships with Scott. Scott got himself a WARM UP SUIT! this year. He says it is VERY intimidating. He says that when I see it I will QUAIL with TERROR because it is so MATCHING and new. Hmph. Co-ordinated sweatpant sets do NOT frighten Svetlinka Muppineska. Bring it, Yeti.

I asked the lolcats if I would have a great holiday, and I got an invisible limbo pole thing, and I think that's a yes. But it is too dumb to show here. SO. Here is my favorite Christmas lolcat, which doesn;t even HAVE a cat, but it is the best I can do for a card for you guys, asI didnt; even manage to mail a card to my MOM....
funny pictures
find morehere

Whatever you are celebrating in the this multi-holiday season, I hope it is meaningful and lovely and fun and filled with family and friends and a mound of buttery fat potato fat fat casserole. For my friends who hate the holidays, I hope something lovely and unexpected will happen for you, and for those far away from their loved ones, deployed or just trapped by distance or circumstance, I pray for your swift and safe reunions.

Peace out.
See you Wednesday.

Posted by joshilyn at 4:55 PM | Comments (14)

December 20, 2007

As I Dash Past with a Bucket of Ribbon and a Ham

I am drowning in Christmas – but I wanted to remind you that next year (GAH! ALREADY) which is also next month, on January 25th - 27th, my mom and I are going to go to the Kiawah Island Golf Resort (it’s near Charleston) for their Annual Women’s Escape Weekend. My friend Cassandra King
was the guest author last year, and she said they are a WILD BUNCH ---she had all kinds of fun.

I’m going to be speaking, and mom and I are ALSO going to take the seminar on HOW TO BEAT MEN AT POOL (watch out Scott, ya stinkin’ SHARK) and taking the seminar with the nutritionist, who will replace lolcats as my diet guru. It’s especially cool that I can listen to her and simultaneously IGNORE the advice she is giving by drinking champers all through her talk, then I will go do slightly tipsy yoga, or, more likely, bake in the sauna. *grin* You come, too.

DIGRESSION: Scott IS a shark, too. TOTAL shark. In college, he had one of those pool cues that SCREWS together, and he would go to bar tourneys looking innocuous and Saint Scoot-like, tattoo free, his hair innocent of grease and even combed, and then he would clean house.

Posted by joshilyn at 5:19 PM | Comments (5)

December 18, 2007

3Q with Eliza Graham

Eliza Graham worked in marketing and PR before taking up writing nearly six years ago. She lives near Oxford, England, with her husband, two children and small menagerie. Playing with the Moon
is her first novel, published in the UK in 2007, and due out in the states in February of 2008.


Shattered by a recent bereavement, Minna and her husband Tom retreat to an isolated village on the Dorset coast, seeking the solitude that will allow them to cope with their loss and rebuild their foundering marriage. Walking on the beach one day, they unearth a human skeleton. The remains are soon identified as those of Private Lew Campbell, a black American GI who, it seems, drowned during a wartime exercise in the area half a century before. Growing increasingly preoccupied with the dead soldier's fate, Minna befriends a melancholy elderly woman, Felix, who lived in the village during the war. As Minna coaxes Felix's story from her, it becomes clear that the old woman knows more about the dead GI than she initially let on…

The Oxford Times says, She seems to have hit on a winning formula, interweaving an evocative historical tale with a modern story of relationships. Playing with the Moon has been nominated a World Book Day ‘Hidden Gem’. You can find out more about this and vote here

JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?

EG: I absolutely fell in love with my cover on sight: it has exactly the feeling of mystery and ambiguity I was trying to set up in PLAYING WI TH THE MOON. Sepia-tinted covers depicting people's backs have been BIG in the UK this year. THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER and WINTER IN MADRID, both big-sellers here, have similar color schemes and designs. I'm hoping someone might pick mine up by mistake, thinking they've got one of these two...

JJ: What is the relationship between writing and motherhood? (I mean this in a personal way -- for you. Does one feed the other, are they similar for you, does doing one make doing the other harder, do these things compete or come from the same place or? What?

EG: It wasn't until I became pregnant for the first time that I had an overwhelming urge to write. I'd always kept diaries and been keen on letter-writing but as soon as those pregnancy hormones kicked in, I was off! I wrote 60,000 words of drivel, which I used as fax paper. Then I took two years off because I had two babies in a year and a half. I then started to crave a third. We really didn't want to expand the family any further so instead I started writing again,finding that creating a living (hopefully!) book compensated for the lack of another baby. It's obviously hormonal with me.

JJ: Tell us about visiting the village of Tyneham and how that inspired you to write PLAYING WITH THE MOON.

EG: About eight years ago I visited Tyneham on the south coast of England. The villagers were evacuated in 1943 so that British and American troops could carry out pre-D-Day exercises. They were given about a month's notice and left the village expecting to return at the end of the war. They never went home.

We saw the children's schoolhouse, with some of their work still on display describing nature walks, visits to the beach, games they'd played. I found the whole place evocative and almost haunted with memories. It was so poignant. For years after I'd visited Tyneham I kept thinking about the village and wanting to write about it.

Thanks for a thought provoking interview, Eliza….if you want to know more, Eliza blogs over at Staring Out of the Window

Posted by joshilyn at 5:34 PM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2007

Wisdom Has Four Paws and Poops in a Box

I want to be a better person.

By this I mean, if we are speaking overtly, that I want to be virtuous and kind and selfless. That is all true. I want those things. But I have a small and secret bitter black pit at the bottom point of my heart-shaped heart, and when my brain thinks to itself, BE A BETTER PERSON, what that small and bitter hole hears is, “Be a leetle bit… thinner. “

This little corner constantly thinks it would like to be thinner, no matter how thin I am in the ten pound upsy downsy daisy game I play with my body. Even in the legendary summer of 2006, when I was three pounds thinner than the downsiest of all possible downsy daisies I had dared to dream of, there was no thin that was thin enough. There is no goal that can’t be poo poo’d away as NOT goal-y enough. A goal weight is ashes in my mouth two minutes BEFORE I reach it.

This bitter corner also thinks that I MORALLY have the RIGHT to be thinner, that I SHOULD be, truly, the thinnest person IN THE WORLD, the way I work out. My elliptical is a little bit like Elisha Cuthbert, in that it is locked up cruelly in a room, and I torture it every day, and then about 2/3rds of the way through the workout, I realize that the ELLIPTICAL is not the one being tortured, and it is ME, or more specifically my glutes, and Elisha has turned the WHOLE THING AROUND on me, see, and now my gluteus maximuses are the captives. Then I lift weights.

DIGRESSION TO APOLOGIZE: The above terrible, extended metaphor was inspired by a movie SO AWFUL LOOKING not even *I* would watch it, and I OWN Hudson Hawk. Shamelessly, in fact, with crowing DELIGHT AND PRIDE do I own Hudson Hawk. And yet I WILL not watch that Elisha Cuthbert movie. I do not WANT to watch a pretty young girl being kidnapped and tortured by a deviant for two hours, and I am a LEETLE bit scared of people who DO want to watch that. Just sayin’. SO. I heartily apologize for referencing it, much less for making it an extended metaphor, and most of all, I apologize for dual-casting the relatively unknown actor in the black gloves who plays the kidnapping torturous maniac as my butt muscles. That was just low and a little bit like a sideways sort of TMI. I soundly apologize and let’s just pretend I did not do that.

ANYWAY to eventually dither my worthless way to the POINT, instead of talking about my glutes in public like I wasn’t raised right *sigh*, I was wondering why I was not blessed with RIGHTFUL EXTREME SKINNINESS, by which I mean total RUNWAY IN MILAN skinniness, given my unabashed love of the elevated heart rate, the sweating, and the BeeeYOOOOOtiful mental-illness-number-lowering endorphins.

I was casually blaming genetics. Not CONCIOUSLY, but in an offhand way, in the back of my mind, I was having an amorphous genetics-blaming thought-cloud gather while my conscious mind was kinda wondering why I was not thinner and also mostly reading my daily blogs. There was nothing NEW on I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER, so I hit the MAKE ME LAFF button, which is like a dice-roll, you press it and a random page from the archives loads, and I am halfway thinking, “Why am I not thinner? Genes? Can I blame my GENES?” and LOOK what I got, I mean, HAND TO THE LORD, this is the lolcat I got:

funny pictures
moar Borrowed from ICHC

LOLCATs are the new Magic 8 Ball.
And I am not amused.

I think is both a BRILLIANT and HATEFUL thing to be told by all-seeing lolcats RIGHT before I go to my parent’s house later in the week for HAMFEST, a holiday which most of you know as Christmas. There will be fat potato fat fat. There will be pie.

SO. Thank you, stupid, judgmental, prescient lolcats. NOW I have to have a GOAL at my parent’s house, when I had planned a goal-free feastly bacchanalia. And WORSE, my stupid goal at my parents’ house is NOT to become a better person. I am not even going to try to be THINNER. Instead, I am going to promise my glutes to treat the question of PIE or NO PIE as if I had taken the chronic dieters version of the Hippocratic oath: First do no harm. In OTHER WORDS, I shall try to return my glutes to Elisha-the-elliptical in the SAME condition in which they LEFT on Friday. In other words, YES, to pie. NO to THREE KINDS OF PIE AT ONE SITTING. YES to ham, but also YES to treadmill, to weights, to Aim Ball with Scott.

Want to test the wisdom of the magic Lolcat? I would LOVE for you to disprove the idea that LOLCATS have secret messages telling me wisely to NOT scarf down 5,000 calories at a sitting… You cannot know how much I would like that disproved until you have tasted my mother’s fudge and walnut crescents.

Here’s how you can help. Go to I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER and think a QUESTION to yourself, think it hard, and press the MAKE ME LAFF button on the right hand taskbar. Please report any gleaned wisdom to me, or if it is an EPIC FAIL, I want to know that too…so I can discount the message and eat SO. MUCH. PIE.

Posted by joshilyn at 12:55 PM | Comments (32)

December 14, 2007

Treat and Retreat Were Sitting in a Boat…

Oh BBs. I have drafted and revised ALL of chapter 3 in the last two days, AND HERE! Mark it! HERE AND NOW! Here on this day, working again in this chapter, THIS is where the book got hinges and opened up for me. Right now I am going backwards through Chapter Two and it is my sincere-true-hearted-clear-eyed faith-tastic belief that it is CLOSE to being just as right as three, and when it IS, it will do for Chapter 1 what three has done for two---and then I can go FORWARD. I am SO pleased with myself it is POSITIVELY REPULSIVE. I keep pretending I have to go to the bathroom so I can shut the door and do a silent but manic prance away from the eyes of my fellow retreaters.

I still don’t have even a working title though. It WAS Texas Rose Red, in my head, but that has been nixed. Too bad. TRR had a lot of appeal for me, especially after the Acronymaliciously titled THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING which was called first Togwiss and then Tibby-tak-em, . Texas Rose Red meant I could be writing a book whose abbreviated title was not a word, but a SOUND. I enjoyed pronouncing TRR by saying the T and then vibrating my tongue very quickly against the roof of my mouth in a VERY LOUD purring trill noise.

It was especially satisfying to announce in a loud voice, “I am going to work on TRILLLLLLLLLLLL” and listen to the immediate thunder of 12 paws on hardwoods as every non-aquarium bound animal in the house came bounding to me to say, “WHAT! WHAT???! WHAT?! Was that SOUND? Does it mean COME HERE I HAVE TREATS? Because it SOUNDED like it meant that. Truly.”

ANYWAY. I am going to get back to it, so here is fellow retreater Renee Rosen --- the parenthetical asides are from me...

Welcome to day three of the retreat, or what I prefer to call Camp Gruen. Aside from the fact that Joshilyn and Karen nearly banned Sara and I from TV viewing last night for chatting all during Project Runway, (BB’s CHATTING during Project Runway is a federal offense and the punishment is DEATH---Sara and Renee got off EASY!) we gals have had a stupendous couple of days. I will be returning to Chicago with significantly more words written and the distinct possibility of a bobcat love kitten, courtesy of Possum’s ahem ‘condition.’ (Sara HAS seen a BOBCAT! It was slinking lynxily along in the sideyard, sucking on a limp squirrel carcass as if it were a LOZENGE, and according to the supremely trustworthy internet it IS entirely possible that Possums alleged Lovah was a WILD BOY.
Sara would like me to commit to two love bobcat-kittens but one must walk before she runs…

Another treat here at Camp Gruen is the horseback riding adventures. With Joshilyn as my trusted guide, I got my post-back surgery body up on a horse. Getting off the horse was a different story. I’ve learned that it’s important to take one’s foot out the stirrups prior to dismounting. Live and learn, live and learn… As this is officially our final retreat night, I must return to my girls and my Possum’s Cherry-Lime Bomb (a Joshilyn original bar creation).

P.S. Karen a.k.a Pig Pen will be next up to blog and DO NOT listen to what she says about me. I’m only SLIGHTLY OCD and she is obsessive about licking my utensils. Let that be the cliffhanger…Tune in for more tales from the bunker.

Posted by joshilyn at 9:06 AM | Comments (8)

December 12, 2007

In Which I Am Certainly Not to be Trusted. SO Here is Sara. Trust Her.

If YESTERDAY had been Monday, which I was absolutely certain that it actually was, ALL DAY I was certain, then YESTERDAY you would have read a blog entry from me over at A good blog is hard to find but, see it WAS NOT Monday. Aye! There’s the rub!

WHY WHY WHY am I SO hopeless?!

Somehow, Monday got eaten in the shuffle of packing and leaving town. Before I LEFT, I checked, my calendar, and it SAID post on Monday., and I wisely nodded at it, and it was already MONDAY, see? SO by the time I sat down to WRITE the entry, my posting time had just ended. Heh.

ANYWAY, I did not let that stop my writer’s week. I have been up working since four am, VIRTUOUSLY tippy tapping away and making myself giggle with completely inaapropriate Trojan Magnum jokes, with only a short break to ride ponies at lunchtime, and the idea of trying to write a coherent blog entry NOW< after mroe than 10 hours fo work, makes my brain try to leap out of my ear and creep away, whimpering. I need to GET THE HECK AWAY FROM ALL KEYBOARDS. Immediately.

SO, instead of blogging, oh beloveds, I am going to the kitchen, armed with ice and sliced fruit, to make up a BRAND NEW DRINK that involves HYPNOTIQ! As soon as my legendary mixology skills create a triumph of modern cocktailitude, I will begin pouring with a liberal hand and we shall eat chicken wings and read gossip magazines until time for Project Runway.


SO. Here is Sara Gruen
blogging for me, and she would like to point out that I am A BAD TITLER because the last entry was called “Pony-Keg. Not in that Order.” Actually, that *IS* absolutely the correct order. PONY! Then Keg. Never Keg then Pony. Pony was lunch. Keg is NOW.

Here’s Sara:

Joshilyn asked each of the retreated writers to write two paragraphs for her blog. I'm
going to sneak in a third.

Today we rode BEFORE drinking blue drinks. We rode hard, and we rode
well enough to get Actual Cardiovascular Workouts, and we're all on a
horsey high. The spare mare is beginning to bend to the rail, albeit
grudgingly, and she is decidedly NOT HAPPY when Tia, the princess mare, is in front. I
sincerely suspect she has donkey in her lineage.

And now for something completely different. My sweet little kitten, Possum,
escaped for two hours the other day, and came home...a woman. All
of our cats are indoor cats, and all but Possum are fixed, so we
figured there was no great rush because no one here can do her any
harm. But. She got out for two hours a couple of nights ago and now
she's essentially pole-dancing. Joss and I came up with the following
gem last night:

Lost her blossom.

But I'm more than a little afraid that maybe her boyfriend/Baby Daddy
is a bobcat and then what will I do?

Okay, I ran to even more than three paragraphs, but Joss is the one
making the blue drinks, so blame her.


And now you see why Sara and I are not PROFESSIONAL poets.

Posted by joshilyn at 4:57 PM | Comments (11)

December 10, 2007

Pony-Keg. Not in that Order.

Yes, oh yes, wise best beloveds, as you tell from the entry below, of course I am up to my hips now in the new book. The crazy, she is out. But this is GOOD. It’s GOOD that the crazy is out because it means things are beginning to come together and feel solid and pleasing fictionally, so of COURSE the floor drops out from under me elsewhere. Like, say, in reality.

On Saturday I called Karen Abbott after a triumphant morning of the kind of submerged, satisfying work where after you surface from it, your bones feel crunchy, your eyes feel grainy and used, and you wish you still smoked. Over the course of several hours, the connections between three things that MUST happen finally gelled, and I after, in a post-revising breathless glow, called Karen up and said, TODAY THE AIRPORT CHAPTER OPENED UP FOR ME LIKE A FLOWER.
And she said, Dude, you hang out with me too much. You talk like a Yankee now, did you know that?”
And I said, “Shut it, Philly.”
And she said, It oopened oop fuh me loik a FLOW-Wah. That’s what you sound like now.
And I said, Zomgah, will you SHUT IT?
And she said, WHO in Georgia says SHUT IT? What’re you? From BOSTON now? You wanna Pahhhk the Cahhhh in the Yahhhhhd?

I hung up on her. I swan I am made entirely out of TOFU. If you set me by the soy sauce, I get salty. Set me by the cat box, I get manky. Set me by Karen for too long, and yes, I get…Northern. On the flip side, if I go visit my relations in Alabama, I come home with a drawl as broad as a barn door, but even THEN, regular infusions of Karen have made the word “Wuhdr” a perma-part of my regularly scheduled vocabulary. (It’s Philly for “Water.”)

What she doesn’t know is that Frank Turner Hollon just mailed me some hard physical evidence that SHENANIGANS went on during Southern Writers Reading, AKA my annual Fairhopian Lost Weekend, including a picture of Karen in a sombrero the size of the largest moon Jupiter has going for it, and she is doing the frat-boy crab dance while making an, “I just French kissed a weasel” face. And the weasel had not flossed.

So. I’m not saying I am going to scan it in and post it here or anything. (Admittedly, this is, mostly, because I do not know how to WORK a scanner.) So I am NOT going to post it here…I’m just trying to offer her a compelling-ish reason to NOT CALL ME A YANKEE, is all. Not that there’s anything WRONG with that, Jerry. Some of my best friends are Yankees.

At any rate, by the end of this week, I expect I will have the first third or least the first quarter of this novel UP AND SPRINTING THROUGH THE MEADOW LIKE A LOVELY DEER. At which point my trigger-happy narrator will no doubt gut shoot her. And I will be back in the flailing I CANNOT DO THIS part as I am forced to ACTUALLY DRAFT instead of pleasurably reworking the stuff I already miserably drafted. SECOND VERSE! SAME AS THE FIRST! I’m ‘Enry the 8th, I am, I am, World without end, amen.

SO, in order to find the time and the headspace to get the 30 solid hours of keyboarding-in-pajamas time I need to GET this first serious chunk going before CHRISTMAS eats me, Karen and Renee and I are driving out to Sara’s place to have writer’s working week. We all have goals and work spaces and scheduled rewards that include riding the horses and drinking blue cocktails, MOST EMPHATICALLY and ONLY in that order. Because sometimes, almost by accident, people DO learn from their mistakes.

I think I can blog from Sara’s, so HOPEFULLY you will hear from me. If not, I will be back on FRIDAY. Peace out, dogs. Or, Tally-ho. Or possibly, Catch you on the flip side, Clyde. Whatever it is we chicks from Boston say these days.

Posted by joshilyn at 9:33 AM | Comments (11)

December 7, 2007

Drugs are Bad, Internet Chat Rooms are Full of Pedophiles, and Geeks and Popular Kids are TRULY Not All That Different IN THEIR HEARTS!

Crazy Farm Plan is like The boobs stuck under the bed in Paris story, in that once you have HEARD the title, you have pretty much heard the story. God---in the stuck under the bed story---is in the details, as He is in most things. BUT somehow I have developed a Pink Sock-ish violence against telling CFP CORRECTLY with all the little building lunacies that stacked up like blocks and made it more than its title, and you have developed a violence against me for being so irritating and floppy and unable to TELL it, so here is the atheist version, detail free, just so we can put it to bed and make up.

Here I shall pause and announce that I HAVE LEARNED A VALUABLE LESSON. No, really, I have. And now, all at once, the title, she is making sense, no? Because it is JUST like an after school special, so much lesson have I valuably learned. We will save the moral for the end, be cause that is just good after school special form, and you better brush your teeth and get that gun out of your pocket, because there WILL be mandatory hugging. Tears optional.

DETAIL FREE ATHEIST VERSION: By coincidence, I read LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS and Animal Vegetable Miracle in the same month that my parents decided to move out of Birmingham to a more rural area. Then I started shooting stuff with my brother and these things came together like the Magic Toilet Theory of Life, and Crazy Farm Plan was born.

PAUSE – you want to know what the Magic Toilet Theory of Life is?
AH! I can smell it.
You do.

I will tell you tomorrow.

ANYWAY, my weirdo brother and his even weirdo-ier sister (aka: me) decided that it was a GOLDEN opportunity to get our entire family to purchase some untamed wilderness in CENTURY FLORIDA of all places, and build houses and grow our own food including chickens and a meat-hog, and eat totally microbiotically forever and possibly stockpile weapons and have a cult.

That’s it. It was better in my head. There were DETAILS…

SAMPLE DETAIL 1: We had every member of the family do pro and con lists, and Scott and me and mom and dad and Bobby took all took it very seriously, writing pages of GOODS AND BADS, and doing financial feasibility studies and budgets. Then my sister in law, Julie, sent in her list. The PRO side was noticeably blank. In fact, the whole list read like this:

CON: Bobby will have to divorce Julie.

Sample Detail 2: When we were actually looking at properties, Bobby, my ever-hopeful-of-being-allowed-to-become-a-survivalist-and-grow-a-ZZ TOP-beard brother, slipped us this link, touting it as the solution and the best place for The Branch Jacksonian Home Base.

MY FAVORITE line of the whole Crazy Farm Plan Dialog came from Julie, who said, and I paraphrase here because I have lost the e-mail, dern it,…. “I suspect that the way you see it in your head is like, You sit in the house and write novels, and Bobby sits in the house sculpts, and Scott and I tote sod and slaughter pigs and plow the back 40.”

The only response she got was a buzzing, cricket-y sort of faux-silence, because I HAD seen it that way, maybe, secretly, except in my version I would leave the house once a day to play with the goats.

ANYWAY, sometimes things happen that I REALLY want to blog, and then more things happen that push them aside, and by the time I return to the first thing, it no longer has the rich red flow of the zeitgeist in it, and I am pre-bored by it already and do not want to tell it. But the MEMORY of how bad I wanted to tell it earlier makes me think I WOULD tell it if only I had something PUSHING me, so I post that I WILL tell it here to make YOU be the push…And then I still do not want to tell it and MORE things keep happening I would rather tell you about than the dead thing I am done with.

THE VALUABLE LESSON IS, I must not SAY I am going to tell it here. I either tell it, or I do NOT tell it.
There is no try to tell, master Yoda says. There is only TELL, or PINK SOCKS.



OH RIGHT. I learned a valuable lesson, didn’t I?

OKAY! The Magic Toilet Theory Life came about in college (BE WARNED: this is SO disgusting) when my roommate had a great smacking hairy boyfriend and her great smacking hairy boyfriend had an enormous herd of equally hairy and greatly smacking male friends and they would all come over and sit around our teeny apartment and drink beer. Beer makes you PEE. About half of these boys had never been taught to FLUSH.

Some nights, four or five of the non flushers would go in there one after the other and pee and pee and pee and not flush. The Magic Toilet Theory of Life was that, given that these monkey men COULD NOT BE TRAINED, IF we could send the ones who FLUSHED away on an errand, and then feed the NON FLSUHERS the correct foods and cocktails and malted beverages in a mystical order, and then get them to go pee one by one in a sequence based on the chemicals they had injested, THE MIRICAL of LIFE would happen in the toilet. It would be just like the Big Bang, except in our bathroom. Our deep and sincere hope was the miracle of life would have FANGS and SLAVERING MONSTROUS RAGE and it would leap out and eat the NON FLUSHERS. The end.

Hug NOW?

Posted by joshilyn at 9:25 AM | Comments (18)

December 5, 2007

The Return

Scott came home, praise the Lord and pass the chips, we are SAVED! RESCUED! SALVAGED! In the nick of time, too. I was 8 seconds away from having to go to the nervous hospital. My tip-tilty household has righted itself, though, and I am happy all the way down to my feet, EVEN THOUGH...

the dog has taken to waiting until he thinks NO ONE IS LOOKING and then slinking all low bellied and PRE-SIN guilty to the Christmas tree and slurping tinsel off it, or WORSE, selecting an ornament and gently lipping it off the tree so he can chew it like GUM. I have a box of twelve globes with BIRDS on them that he particularly favors. Those little bird globes fit like LOZENGES into his maw, and he sucks all the bright paper off. Not to be too graphic, but…let’s just say the backyard is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Sam, who has the delightful job of scanning the yard and diffusing dog bombs, is going to have an easy time FINDING them all. Just saying.

And also EVEN THOUGH I am STALLED on my DECO-Mission. Remember I earlier posted that thing about how most of my house looks like orcs used it for a rec room---and you DO NOT want to know what orcs do in their rec rooms. I don’t want to know either, but I suspect it involves both emotionally disturbed goats and cannibalism. ANYWAY. I decided that I should have a PRETTY BEDROOM. Because animals are CONSTANTLY supervised while in that room, and they can’t destroy it as much…

This is the comforter and etc I like—it is called MERCER by Croscill.


I am going with the DRAPES, too, but NOT the valances which I think pushed the whole thing over into MATCHY-MATCHY-ness.

My original plan, looking at the PICTURE, was to paint the bedroom a similar grayed out heathery sort of inoffensive purple, but…purple is PURPLE, you know. AND GRANTED, I like color. I have a crocodile green office, a pumpkin colored work out room, I painted Maisy’s room vibrant Lemon and Sam has a deep dark mossy green accent wall, and in the basement I have a RED play room and a VERY purple movie room.

I am thinking we are never going to be able to sell this house should CRAZY FARM PLAN happen, because I have all these weird colors all over it. (See!!!!! I am backwardly continueing to write my way to---or at least AROUND--- CRAZY FARM PLAN. REALLY! I AM!!!) So I have 50 different shades of purple sample chips, and last night I made Scott look at them.

The woman who owned the house before me had, like, actual good taste and no pets, so it was very pretty and all the walls had contrasting neutrals running one into another. My bedroom is currently a shade of KHAKI and the adjoining bath is a slightly deeper, greener khaki.

Last night I voiced my concerns about ever selling the house, and having more than one purple room, and etc.

Me: SO… do you think we should paint the room purple this weekend?
Him: No.
Me: *thinking pause* Are you just saying that because you are a LAZY SERPENT who doesn’t much want to PAINT this weekend?
Him: Yes.
Me: Okay let me rephrase. Do you think the room would look BETTER if we painted it purple.
Him: Baby, do you know how in GREEK they have like four words for LOVE. Agape and all that? But in English, you just say love? Or how Eskimos have a thousand words for what we consistently call snow? Well, in MAN TALK, you just asked the same question. I didn’t hear a rephrase at all.


Do you think that bedding and the furniture – which is a deep cherry – will look good in a neutral KHAKI room? Or should we GO ALL OUT FULL ON NO HOLDS BARRED BITE-ME-POTENTIAL-BUYERS PURPLE?

Posted by joshilyn at 8:09 AM | Comments (38)

December 3, 2007

In Which I Do Not NOT Tell You Crazy Farm Plan (part 1)

Scott has now been out of town ten days, and while I have TRULY done an ASTONISHING JOB (for me) of keeping the smoke-belching, lurching machine that is my household going, here at Chez Jackson, the wheels are starting to come off.


Number of times I have considered selling one or both children to Gypsies: 4,567
Number of times I have THREATENED to sell one or both children to Gypsies: 17
Number of children actually sold to Gypsies: 0

Nervous breakdowns: 1.25
Lost items: 22 and counting
Lost items that have since been found: 4
Number of major commitments flaked upon: ZERO. I even managed to do that Nashville radio interview in spite of not having a clear grasp on how TIME AND SPACE work, and mucking up which way time zones go. AGAIN.

DIGRESSION: I am scared that here in the end game, the last two windless days of Scott-less desert, I AM going to flake on something major. Because those 22 lost items, by the way, INCLUDE my SACRED PAPER CALENDAR. Yes! The calendar by which all things that MUST happen are made to happen. It’s GONE. ZIPPO ZAP. POOF! I have placed it in an alternate dimension, which may or may not be “the trash can” or “My friend’s car” or “Planet Zeebofloop.” Gone, Baby, Gone.

ALSO listed among the missing: ALL MY EMAIL FILES. I had well over 30 saved to the in-box that I needed to answer including book club calls I am trying to schedule and stuff from my kids’ various teachers about holiday things and events and everyone’s Christmas list…SCOTT can call those files back when my email DOES this---yes, that IS code for “when I do this to my email” files. Heh.--- But he can’t talk me through the file recovery process on the phone without risking ACTUALLY losing them all. SO – If you sent me an e-mail in the last ten days that I have not answered yet (looks significantly at desi) REST ASSURED I am going to answer. Just not til The Finder of Lost Things returns from Arizona.

Number of minor commitments flaked upon: .5 (so far)

Maximum number of alcoholic beverages consumed in a day: 2
Maximum number of mood altering pharmaceuticals prescribed to prevent anxiety consumed: 0
Number of Herbal stress remedies that do actually nothing but that cost a lot gobbled, drunk, huffed or applied: 7

Number of times I have wept out of SHEER self pity: 2
Number of times I have wept because a specific Christmas song came on: 3
Number of times I have wept because I thought of the, BABY DONCHA CRY, I’M GONNA MAKE A PIE, I’M GONNA MAKE A PIE WITH A HEART IN A THE MIDDLE song: 0, but it was CLOSE.
Number of times I have wept while watching GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE when the song about why the dog howls at the moon came on and I realized that he RILLY RILLY LOVES HER: 1
Number of friends who have asked: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? Is it SCOTT being gone, or are you PMSing?: 1
Number of friends I have dismembered with a hatchet and stuffed into garbage bags and buried in the Okefenokee swamp: 0…but it was close.

Number of chapters I have drafted with Scott gone: 1, and I suspect it is a good one that I will actually end up KEEPING A LOT OF!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH. *bows bows bows*

Digression 2: The point five on MINOR commitments flaked upon is for Crazy Farm Plan, because I can’t tell you the whole thing. It is only .5 instead of a TOTAL flake because I will put now the piece I wrote Friday and FULLY PLANNED to expound upon this weekend…

Crazy Farm Plan was born on a day when my brother was driving me out into the wilds of Alabama to shoot stuff, (research, remember? I have shot to kill a plethora of inanimate objects with every kind of gun I have been able to lay hands on) we passed a mobile home. And he looked with SINCERE LONGING at a teeny tiny little mobile home, the SMALLEST one, a single wide that may have actually been a CAMPER TRAILER, and he said, in the heartfelt tones of a sincere supplicant, “Look. My dream house.”

Sure it was surrounded by the glorious green woods of Alabama the Beautiful---actual state nickname---but that was not the point. It’s not like my brother and I are all about the nature.

I tend to say, “meh” at breathtaking mountain vistas, and I remember when we were kids, my brother would say that when HE grew up and had his OWN house, he was going to rip out all the sod, pour concrete, and then, maybe, if the neighbors complained, he would concede enough to allow THEM to come over and paint the concrete green. That was his ideal lawn.


Posted by joshilyn at 9:56 AM | Comments (15)