July 29, 2008

Cake-n-Cat

Karen’s cake was awesome. The secret was TWO cans of icing. She FILLED in the middle with white butter cream and then put chocolate flavored icing over the top. I was going to get a picture of it, but I wanted to wait until we had cut it, so you could see a cross section. Then I forgot to snap the picture before we went out to the barn and then WHILE we were in the barn, REBA THE FARTING DOG ATE IT.

Reba, in the THREE DAYS we have been here, has eaten:

1) An entire box of Vive cereal (Not three hours after I salvaged half of it from her gaping maw and put it in a ziplock baggy, she counter surfed and dragged the bag away and polished it off. That’s something like 86 grams of fiber in two fell swoop-n-gulps)

2) 5 – 7 baked Cheetos from EACH of us as she told us, one by one, NO ONE ELSE was letting her have even an orange powdered LICK.

3) 1/3rd of a bag of Buffalo Wing Ranch Doritos. (stolen from the coffee table)

4) Chicken Cookie dog treats. (She said the OTHER dog was getting some, and it wasn't fair)

5) 1/3rd of an extremely dark beer. (Sara set it down BRIEFLY to open the horse-gate.)

6) More than half a cake. (We were a little worried about this one because of the CHOCOLATE icing, but she seems to have weathered it.)

I no longer find it amazing that her toots are so…epic.

MEANWHILE, I am heartbroken. A stray-skinny and yowly-lonely yellow cat followed me home from the cemetery where Karen and I were power-walking. I fell for him SO hard. That was Pushkin. Not Alexander Pushkin. BARNEY Pushkin because we put him out on the barn office with kibble and a litterbox and fresh water so he couldn’t mix with Sara’s cats and possibly infect them with something.

I found him Saturday night, and by Sunday morning, I had Scottly permission to bring him home and keep him. On Sunday and Monday I borrowed a lapdesk from Sara and wrote out in the barn office to keep him company. He inserted himself into the slot between the desk and my abdomen and lay there purring and batting at my fingers and rubbing his face on the keys and generally making a HUGE nuisance of himself – the exact right KIND of nuisance. I got close to 5K words done in two marathon writing sessions with him “helping.”

On Monday, after he and I wrote from 6 to 10 am (and it was good stuff, if you will forgive me the hubris,drafty but I could tell it was the RIGHT GOOD BONES of what will be a scene) and then I ran Pushkin up to a local vet and said, “Check for a microchip because this boy is so sweet I can’t believe no one is missing him, then do a feline luke test, and if he isn’t chipped and is negative, we’ll do a full exam and get him vaccinated.”

That seems like a PRETTY CLEAR order of events, but instead the vet did a feline luke check, charged me 50 bucks, and THEN told me he was micro-chipped. NEAT. I got my heart broken and my wallet rogered out in the same ten minutes.

I called his owners who had SAD, HEARTFELT pleas for the return of “Marhsall” on their answering machine, and an hour later, they came and got him. I have been blue ever since, and this morning, trying to draft in post-feline-depression, I perpetrated the follwing line of text:

“His desk was big; he had a big desk.”

I especially like the SEMI COLON in that gem, don’t you? It’s almost like if I had tried to write a sentence that was a palindrome in meaning instead of in form. WAH! OH! PUSHKIN! WHERE IS YOUR OVERLOUD PURRING ENCOURAGMENT NOW?

My heart is sad; I have a sad heart.

Posted by joshilyn at 12:13 PM | Comments (29)

July 27, 2008

I Cry Dog Fart Uncle (now with CAKE!)

I am on writing retreat at Sara’s house with Karen and Renee – all the usual suspects for these North Carolina getaways. We set goals each night, and we are not allowed to leave our DWA (designated writing area) and PLAY until we have MET our goals.

The pressure to FINISH is intense. There are horses here AND a fully stocked bar, to be enjoyed STRICTLY in that order, and post bar, there is POKER and BAD TV. I plan to get at least two chapters knocked out before I go home, so a half chap a day is my minimum.

In sad retreat news, I am FORCED to admit TOTAL CRUSHING DOGFART DEFEAT. It hurts me, because LORD KNOWS Bagel could totally make the DF Olympics A team, but truth will out. Reba, Sara’s yellow dog, would totally take the gold.

Just when we thought Reba had reached her maximum dogfart potential, she snuck off and ate HALF A BOX of my Kashi Vive cereal that SOMEONE (not me, for the record) left on the floor. Each serving has 12 grams of fiber. TWELVE. GRAMS. OF FIBER. Reba’s eye-wateringly hateful emanations reached EPIC pungency. Renee, I am sad to report, is now blind.

The ONLY GOOD part is they are AUDIBLE. I have NEVER met a dog who literally makes the THBTHBTHBTHB (fart noise spelling courtesy of Bloom County) sound, so we have TIME to run for another room of the house. Or perhaps a different continent.

I am PLEASED to report I worked like a (NON-farting) dog all day today. I VIRTUOUSLY got more than half a chapter drafted while sitting in Sara’s barn office. Outside, a disgruntled goat named Enzo kicked at the door and demanded I share bites of the delicious laptop I was CLEARLY bogarting.

Work done until sun-up tomorrow, we are ready to hardcore PLAY. It’s Sara’s birthday. Karen Abbott--- the LEAST DOMESTIC HUMAN BEING on the planet---got all CRAZED and said, WE HAVE TO BAKE SARA A BIRTHDAY CAKE.

Sara and Renee and I (all bakers of some international renown) thought it would be AWESOME to have her make the cake. Unsupervised. I am blogging this AS we sit in a judgmental, wine drinking line at the breakfast bar, NOT HELPING AT ALL. Karen is like the little red hen, and we are the dreadful FARM CAT, DONKEY and GOAT who do not want to help grow the wheat or harvest it or mill it or mix it or bake the bread, but we shall be SO HAPPY to help her EAT it.

WELLLL…whose of us who are not fastidious will help her eat it. Five minutes in, and she’s already let Fritz stand in the cake pans. (For the record? For breakfast I ate handfuls of the Vive cereal that REBA had started on, so a little cat foot is not going to deter me…)

fritzpans.jpg

And, when told to grease and flour a pan, she did this…

greasenflour.jpg

But she realized intuitively that she had too much OIL, so she did this…

improvedgreasenflour.jpg

BUT in the end, her batter turned out SO perfect she had to sneak a TEENY sample…

mmmmmbatter.jpg

I suspect the cake may come out a little FRIED because of the amount of OIL in the pan, but, heck, everything is good fried. For a first foray into the fabulous world of box baking, I give her a 30. Out of 10. We are all justly proud.

IN OTHER NEWS. I have fallen most desperately in love with Pushkin. No, not Alexander Pushkin, the most famous and lauded of the Russian Romantic Writers. BARNEY Pushkin. I met him in the cemetery. More on him later--- The cake is about to come out of the oven. I must go see what happens….

Posted by joshilyn at 7:43 PM | Comments (11)

July 25, 2008

Paddle Paddle Paddle

YAY! Thanks for being my FACEBOOK friend! People keep sending me PLANTS and facebook assures me that ACCEPTING these plants will save the rainforest. (!). I am FOR saving the rainforest, and I am ACCEPTING PLANTS, but I can’t figure out how to SEND PLANTS BACK. I want to send everyone these limited edition white DAISIES. And, you know, save the planet. But I can’t QUIIIIIITE figure out the application. I can make a montage, but I can’t send a plant. That’s slightly pathetic, and the word slightly there is a kindness. HOW HARD CAN IT BE?

MANY THINGS TO SAY, and then I have to leap in a car and go to Atlanta. I am sleeping over in town tonight as we leave for the writers retreat TOMORROW verra verra early. WHEE!

OH – apropos of nothing: I DID A FUN PODCAST INTERVIEW if you need something to listen to while you do your dishes.

MEANWHILE< speaking of saving rainfoests and other worthy causes. We saw LLAMAS! They have some weird lips. We went to this wildlife preserve which is run by darling hippies and they rescue stuff and heal hurt stuff and they are all dewey and young and vegans. VERY fun.

They have a silver fox with a terrible underbite. HUGE bizarre underbite---like his lower jaw sticks out an inch or more. His wife was classically fox pretty though, with a long slim nose and big ears and bright, sly eyes.

We didn’t know they were foxes – they had no marker. We were standing there going…are these COYOTES? Are these…HYENAS? when this weird super-pachouli-smelly little woman started yelling at me -- like -- unprovoked, I had not even made EYE CONTACT, and she got WAY too close to me and spoke loudly enough for everyone in a twenty foot radius to hear:

"THEY ARE FOXES AND YOU KNOW THEY STILL SLAUGHTER THESE BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS? FOR FUR! FOR COATS! CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS BEAUTIFUL ANIMAL BEING KILLED FOR HIS FUR. THEY KILL THEM IN TERRIBLE WAYS, BASICALLY THEY *GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION REDACTED*

Sam is old enough to smell crazy and edge away, but Maisy was looking at her, horrified, her overactive imagination already conjuring up images of Fox Bastilles.

You know, I KNOW the fur industry is full of satanists and monstrous cruelties to minks and suchlike---but really, should you be getting all DETAILY about that with a 6 year old? I wanted to say, Can I have some club soda? You seem to have spilled your activism all down my CHILD, who, by the way can’t even VOTE and is too short to MARCH and saving the EARTH is what COLLEGE is for, not kindergarten and do you SEE her in a FOX FUR STOLE, lady???.... But instead I said, "Well, that one is beautiful' and pointed at the girl, and then I pointed at the boy fox and said, "But THAT ONE needs serious orthodontic work."

The patchouli-lady looked at me all puzzled with her crazy eyes spinning in her sockets and then wandered off… IN HER LEATHER SANDALS.

Right now I have to go get on my elliptical for 6 or 7 hours….My friend Renee wants to go eat HERE and I need to earn 70 extra WW points because I WANT THOSE SCALLOPS. Or the FRUITED PORK! Or the roasted onion salad (VIRTUOUS) wtih the appetizer of PIONONOs, which have the word “nono” at the because I SUSPECT they are evil. Sort of like a meat filled poptart.

Mmmm. Meaty poptarts.

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

July 24, 2008

Chigger Bites and Sunburns

Yesterday, when I SHOULD have been working or sleeping or cleaning my rat-infested plagueland of a kitchen or packing my family for their upcoming travels or getting us some groceries or planning my next elaborate bank heist, I was instead sucked into a black hole called FACEBOOK, where I discovered I can try to find everyone I ever went to high school with AND make MUSICAL MONTAGES with out having ANY understanding of CODE. It is like…an episode of WHERE ARE THEY NOW meets interwebs 4 big dumb dummies.

SO Here is my facebook page, and if YOU have been sucked into facebook, then let’s be friends (heart!sparkle!diamond!) and if you have NOT been sucked into facebook due to having a life and some actual accomplishments to accomplish, at LEAST go watch my EXTREMELY cheezzzzzz-whiz laden montage that I made out of PAINT SHOP PRO and four hours of life I will never get back. HEH.

OHWAIT – maybe I can post it here…let me go to facebook and SEE…

View this montage created at One True Media
A Book Thang

Yeah, I CAN post it here. And THAT’S another 30 minutes of life I will never see again. BY THE WAY that’s one of my new author photos! Remember my publisher setup a photo shoot where I had a real alive make-up artist who gave me an upper lip and Fancy Big Girl hair? REMEMBER? I will try to post the two shots they picked later but they aren’t the right size and I may be able to make blurry movies with CHEESEY FADE EFFECTS but I can’t resize pictures. Maybe facebook has a tutorial for THAT, too. Maybe Facebook can walk me through making a SOUFLE that doesn’t turn out looking like an outsize eggy breakfast flap with a saggy middle. If they can teach me to make a MOVIE-esque object, they can do ANYTHING.

ALSO! even if you do not have facebook you can follow that MONTAGE LINK thing and make your own montages. It’s not hard. Even Sam is going to learn how. He got a job puppy sitting and spent his loot on a digital camera to take sleep away camp next week. Assuming he returns home with the camera still in one working piece (or even with just a few dampened chunks of camera that include the memory card), I have told him I will help him make a CAMP montage to send his grandparents.

This is an 11 year old boy we are discussing, so the CHANCES of him returning with the camera in any condition seems about as likely as him coming home with a UNICORN and saying, “Look what I found at CAMP. His name is Rexy. Can we KEEP him?” (For the record, my answer would be, OH HELZYA, YOU CAN KEEP REXY!)

Sam has MANY extraordinary gifts, but like most boys his age, he is not very good at keeping track of the physical objects in his care (and it is VERY hard for me to call him to task on this because I have ZERO street cred on this topic….for two WEEKS now I have had NO IDEA where my keys might have gotten to…tricky little things, keys. Very sly. Mine are SO very gone that I suspect they may have entered witness protection.)

Given his age and his gender and his upcoming week of NO parental follow ups on objects he is on charge of, I fully expect to have the child come home with calluses so thick that his foot-bottoms look like hooves and maybe some vines twined around him in a makeshift loincloth with NO idea where his shoes, clothes, camera, duffel bag, soap, or luckless swim-buddy have gone.

And yes, as you may have guessed, this IS his first time going to sleep away camp, and I AM sure he is going to be eaten by bears. If *I* was a bear and had a whole camp full of 11 year old kids to choose from, I would absolutely pick him to maul and eat. He is clearly the very best one.

We who are about to pack our eldest child up and send off for a week to a place that wants to ARM him (Archery? REALLY? You want to give this child a WEAPON in the vicinity of other children? And their EYEBALLS?) salute you, and if you need me I will be pretending none of this is happening by immersing myself in FACEBOOK.

Posted by joshilyn at 5:39 AM | Comments (25)

July 21, 2008

Defeated by Nature (both mine and MOTHER)

HI! I AM DRAFTING! This means my mental illness number is a living thing with ropes and grappling hooks that goes creeping up and up and up and up until I see its flag has been planted on the peak of Kilimanjaro. It is currently wearing a “THE MOON OR BUST” T-shirt and STILL climbing.

The newest symptom is this weird LOCATION thing. All last week, I kept having to change rooms, ‘Frinstance, I’d work in my bedroom and then I’d realize, Hey! This is not a writing room. It is a room for sleeping. Suddenly, I could not see how I could POSSIBLY be expected to WRITE in the same room in which I SLEEP! What am I? AN ANIMAL???? I had to IMMEDIATELY sleep or leave.

OR take my office, a room we set aside specifically as a room to be WRITTEN IN. It also happens to be where I play World of Warcraft, and last week, while working in it, I several times had the instant and inescapable realization that I had I some VERY IMPORTANT WOW to play. I had to either play WOW or leave. I spent all last week making laps of the house, room by room, laptop and coffee cup in hand, cats who HAD been asleep beside me trailing me, one mournfully, one muttering foul curses.

Over the weekend, it has gotten much worse. Rooms stopped feeling USED…they started feeling used UP. Not only do I now have to MOVE, but I cannot go back to a room I have been in doing something else, EVER, and expect to write. The rooms do not RESET anymore. Every room in my house has PERMANENTLY become the place where I eat or cook or do laundry or watch TV or bathe (YES! In the spirit of TMI, I admit I DID in fact spend a good hour yesterday drafting in the bathroom with my spine pressed up against the cool side of the tub.)

If I can’t draft in my own house for the love of little ducks, I have to GO SOMEPLACE, and if I GO someplace, I have to change out of pajamas and who can write if they are NOT IN THEIR PAJAMAS???? What am I, a PARAMECIUM?? A one celled ANIMAL WANNABE? It can’t be done. It. cannot. be. done.

I have a writing retreat 3 states away set up to begin Saturday – THANK GOD. And Sara has a WHOLE HOUSE chock full of rooms I have never used for ANYTHING. But I have to have this first third done by then because I plan to DRAFT the WHOLE MIDDLE there. I am one scene and some polishing away from being ready to do this, but my house is used up and I am not putting on pants. Period. SO! It was catch 22.

There was nothing to do but move out to the backyard.

I told Scott I had to go write in the yard, but I had a problem. The cats are INDOOR cats and I can’t write without an animal around to have a companionable heartbeat and bathe my fevered aura with dim, cheerful brainwaves. This means the DOG has to come outside with me, and the dog is NAUGHTY.

I had a vision of how it would be…He would see there was a fat delicious electrical cord running across the deck, and he would wait until I was deep in my own mental Texas watching my narrator wreck havoc and then he would BITE INTO that cord and electrocute himself, blow up my computer, AND cause a flashing, fast electrical fire that would burn the house down, killing my children. I was sure of it. I told Scott what would happen and he set out to prevent all of it with DUCT TAPE. Duct tape can fix ANYTHING, even, apparently, psychic visions of complete doom.

So Scott got the duct tape and TAPED the cord down to the steps and ran it to the table and tied it off around a post and made it all very dog safe, and Bagel and I went outside and I was working VERY FRUITFULLY and he was snoozing very Fartfully and outside did not feel USED at all, it was HOT and BRIGHT YELLOW and smelled like CITRONELLA and FRESH CUT LAWN. Perfect!

UNTIL! I noticed these teeny little blue-tailed skinks were CREEPING up under the tape and STICKING themselves and being Very Upset Indeed. It takes a good ten minutes of careful picpickpick to get these stupid skinks safely untaped and off on their way, and then I put the tape back to protect the cord from the dog, and then the thirty seconds worth of memory skinks have resets and they CREEP BACK UNDER THE TAPE or they send their COUSIN in to see if he fares better, and the next time I look, I have SKINK TAPE again.

EDIT in response to comments: IF you do not know what a skink is, the ones in my yard are about an inch to an inch and a half long, and here is a picture lifted off wikimedia.

cuteskink.jpg


This morning, for every three minutes I have spent writing, I have spent a good five PICKING SKINKS. It is a SKINK PANDEMIC. I had to remove all tape and come inside to blog. I have been defeated because they are SO cute and every time I pick one free I am scared I am going to be too hasty and rip a little skinky leg off (EEP!) and also, I keep thinking they BREATHE with their skins (I may have made this up, but it feels like a true-science-fact) and if SO then having half their BREATHY PARTS stuck to tape is probably causing loss of brain oxygen and permanently damaging them so they come BACK to the tape just like those crazy swallows come to Capistrano, only with more lobotomy-like side effects.

Nature wins. I QUIT. I will write again tomorrow. Probably in a closet. *martyred sigh*

Posted by joshilyn at 1:28 PM | Comments (32)

July 19, 2008

Sprechen Sie Klingon?

The pink motes I see floating in the sunlit air around my sleeping dog's head MAY VERY WELL be the last few brain cells he has jumping ship, but I THINK they are little hearts. Deep in the doorknob he keeps at the top of his spine, he knows it is (!!!) GEEK LINKY LOVE DAY(!!!)

I know… I keep this VERY under wraps, but TODAY I am going to confess to you, and only you, O pretty internets…. I am an ENORMOUS GEEK. *cough* Yes, let me help you up off the floor where you have fallen in shock.

SAMPLE GEEKDOMS YOU MAY HAVE HEARD ME MENTION:

*I play MMORPGs, notably World of Warcraft. But I have also played Ultima Online. And Diablo. And Starcraft. MAYBE a couple more.

*I’m an art house girl with a fair measure of movie-pretentilicious-smartipants-ness left over from grad school...but I ALSO like movies that take place in space, preferably with rubber puppet aliens eating people, or at least some time travel-fueled avenging.

*I got 90% of the references in the fast-rap part of the Barenaked Ladies song, One Week. (yes, I AM in tune with Sailor Moon, thanks for asking)

*My first crush was Spock.

*My second was the constellation Orion.
(Yes. Really)

*Yesterday I drove over an hour to get to the MALL OF GEORGIA by 7:30 see a 9 am opening day showing of BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT. (We got there at 7:30 so we could get in LINE for GOOD seats. We considered CAMPING OUT. )

*While watching Batman, I BURST INTO SPONTANEOUS APPLAUSE. Three times.

SO, take this link with a pinch of salt. If you are, ever were, or someday aspire to be COOL, this link will not HELP YOU. If, however, you secretly think of JRR Tolkien as your REAL daddy, if you ever missed a school dance because you were in a basement rolling 20 sided dice to see if the vorpal sword of orc slaughter you just found in a chest can deflect a level 22 axe of monster-plus-plus, if you know who Summer Glau is INSTANTLY, without resorting google, then click on…

Like most geeks, I fangrrrrrl <3 me some Joss Whedon. Thanks to a heads up from bj, I learned he’s had his fingers all over a BIZARRE and spiritually damaging little project called Dr. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG. I freakin’ loved it. (Also, YES! OKAY! I admit I like looking at Nathan Fillion. Sue me.) You can see it FREE until tomorrow, and you can buy it for keepsies off i-tunes.

PS. The H in my name is silent, so Joss is the short version of my name I;ve been called Joss since I was a kid. And my friend Deb just sent me a link to This T Shirt. I know it refers to Mr. Whedon – that B is from the BUFFY logo. But…I am strongly considering getting those shirts for both my kids. JUST SO THEY DO NOT FORGET. Maybe Scott, too.

Posted by joshilyn at 4:47 PM | Comments (30)

July 16, 2008

National PJ Month SOME MORE

If you are not regularly a comments reader, you SHOULD break open the ones on the entry below this. There is a RAMPANT WEASEL STORY and more entertaining goodness down there…

Today when I came downstairs AFTER A TRIUMPHANT MORNING OF PRODUCTIVE DRAFTING (bells!trumpets!parades!angels!) my son said, “Do you have writing group?”
I said, “No.”
He said, “Date with Dad?”
I said, “No, I just came down to make a sandwich…Why are you asking me this?”
He said, “Well, you put on real pants, so I figured you must be going someplace special…”

I am WARPING my children.

But I am HIP DEEP IN THE BOOK NOW, WHEE. Today I am ESPECIALLY smug because I finished a sex scene, which means I do not have to write another sex scene for quite some time. I will have to revise this one, but no DRAFTING SEX for a good month or two--- I am PRETTY certain no one is going to do it for at least another 5 chapters. “Keep it in yer pants, oh my fictional beloveds,” says I, and if they whine, then I will say, “TOO BAD ON YOU! UP TROU! IMMEDIATELY! All rampant weasel stories *ahem* will be limited to the comments section of the blog. AT least until August.”

HEE now you are RUNNING to read the comments! But no, in the comments, it is a real alive MAMMAL sort of weasel, not a METAPHOR. It’s just when you spend all morning writing a sex scene, everything starts to sound dirty. I do not LIKE writing sex scenes. Makes me feel pervy and like I am watching something I have no business watching.

My friend Vahz asked me, “SO why do you keep writing them then? Can’t you close the door?”
I told him my whole thing about sex and forward movement and character development, and he said, “Well but give yourself a break! Maybe next time you could just end the chapter with, ‘And then they knocked boots!’”
I said, “Well…if they both keep their BOOTS on, that DOES tell me quite a bit about their characters, right there!”

Maybe I will go with that.

Was thinking as I read over my sex scene, this is another book my niece can’t read *sigh* and then I realized she may well be 16 before it comes out. YARG! In the comments you’ve been talking about what age is appropriate for my books, and yeah –with gods in Alamaba especially, I think, “You must be THIS HIGH to ridet his ride.” In fact, I told one teacher that wanted to have a school wide read I wouldn’t come if they did gods in Alabama---asked them to change to BETWEEN (girl wasn’t out yet).

THAT SAID --- if sneak reading is your teen's greatest vice, then dude, you are both lucky and doing a GREAT job with the parenting.

I was a DREADFUL sneak reader. DREADFUL. I read VERY grown up things like JAWS and ROOTS and THE GODFATHER etc etc on the sly in grade school. And I tell you, I do not THINK of books in the same way I think of movies and TV--- Movies and TV and video games show you things that you can not unsee. Ever. Books tell a story in words, and you can only accurately picture/understand the things that you have the life experience to be ABLE to picture/understand.

I remember this part in roots where Kunta Kinte is dreaming of marrying the prettiest maiden in the village, and in the morning, all the women would display the bloody sheets and there would be feasting, and if there WERE no bloody sheets the girl would be sent back to her father in SUCH SHAME!

I remember being SO enraged with that DUMB TRIBE! What a HATEFUL thing to do to a girl! How on earth could any girl be expected to time her wedding so exactly, MONTHS in advance, so that she would get her period the very next day???

Yeah. Well. I was probably ten.

I had NO idea of how sex worked, really, and I came away from Roots with my innocence still perfectly intact. I didn’t really have an INKLING about how to even PICTURE sex in the books I sneaked to read until 1982, when I boght a tiocket to some Kristy McNichol PG fest and turned left instead of right and walked in to see CONAN THE BARBARIAN instead. Conan TOTALLY does it with a witch in a tent. Very totally with the doing it. Shortly afterwards, I clandestinely read Lady Chatterly’s Lover, which was chock full of gasping and passionate fingernails raking across heaving flanks and sweat-slick bosoms, and I blush to admit that in my MINDS eye, the titular lover of Lady C looked a LOT like DER ARNOLD in breeches (and out of breeches) instead in (and out of) a fur loincloth.

HEE!

ALSO – let’s talk WW for a minute…I am having a HARD TIME sticking to it right now. I want to go see HELLBOY 2 and eat MOVIE POPCORN. But my friend Amy snapped this shot of me at a recent signing at MM house and LOOK! I am SLEEVELESS! I don’t think I have been body confident enough to wear sleeveless since 1992, so it MUST be doign me some good...except I realized that a tank top leaves NO PLACE to safely put a nametag.

sleeveless%21.jpeg

Posted by joshilyn at 4:20 PM | Comments (28)

July 15, 2008

National Pajama Month

I am spending July (and most of August...) in Pajamas, writing this book. I am living in my head, my eyes turned so far inward that I am walking into walls, and I have virtually stopped sleeping. It’s neat, but there isn’t much to blog about.

I am lonely here in my Pajamas---what would I do without you, Best Beloveds? All weekend long I left my upstairs hole where I am writing this book on the INTERNET FREE laptop and crept down here to the big computer to check comments. THANK YOU! Comments is what I am having in lieu of actual adult human contact this summer. HI! I wish I had something to TELL you back. Um…MY HEADACHE ISGONE? I can breathe through both nostrils? YAY! Or I could tell you insomnia stories, which are mostly made up and paranoid…

For example, last night at about 2, I was coming to go to bed and try fruitlessly to fall asleep again after a bout of writing, and I heard Suspicious Rustling. It was a SCRABBLING, TICKY sort of rustling. Something CLAWED was very busy somewhere IN MY BEDROOM. I lay awake trying to decide if it was a squirrel in the attic, a cat under the bed, OR a terrible possum---possibly rabid, definitely befanged and slavering ---- pretending to be a squirrel or a cat to soothe me before it crept up and blew its fetid possum-breath on my feet and then opened its yawping gape-hole, filled with disease needles, and SANK them into my flesh.

In my imagination last night, it was a very FAST terrible possum. It fled and there was no way to KNOW if it was rabid so I had to go to the emergency room and get 17 excrutiating shots in my stomach, which may be an actual treatment for possible rabies OR merely what the HATEFUL Terwhilliger kids who lived next door to us when I was seven TOLD me was the treatment.

(These are the same kids who lay on top of a Dempsey dumpster, waiting endlessly in preternatural silence with a bag of bricks and then bashed my brother’s head in with it as he went past. My brother had to go the emergency room for stitches and a concussion check, and when confronted by my family POST-hospital, those three children blinked with their empty, inhuman eyes, and the youngest lisped, “We just wanted to see what would HAPPEN,” in lieu of an apology. I am VERY sure they are off somewhere on a compound in rural Montana practicing ritual cannibalism by now.)

I broke at 3 am and woke Scott up and said, WHAT ANIMAL IS THAT? WHAT ANIMAL?

He listened for a moment and said, DEFINITIVELY, that it was a squirrel in the attic and even MORE DEFINITIVELY that I should GO. TO. SLEEP. SO I went and worked on the novel to give the terrible possum time to move on, which he seemed to have done around five and then I was sure he had died under the bed and soon I would smell his terrible ROTTINESS and he would open red glowing reanimated dead eyes that were sinking into his sockets and begind to CRAAAAAWL toward me... Yeah. On and on.

This hyper-active night-fear is probably because I reread Stephen King’s MISERY yesterday --- you know how BIRD BY BIRD is supposed to be a book about how to write, but SECRETLY it is a gorgeous, hilarious, and unstoppably great memoir about parenthood and family and loss? I am sure there is a lot of concrete writing advice in there too, people TELL me there is, but that’s not what I remember from it. That’s not what I take away every time I reread it.

In the same way, MISERY is supposed to be a dreadfully suspenseful tale about a lunatic and her own pet writer---a twisted retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights. But that’s not what I take away when I reread it. A few weeks after a rereading, all I remember is the love story to writing it contains. That book is a poem to the GOTTA, to the CAN YOU, with gloriously CONCRETE and EXACTLY CORRECT directions for writers about how to get unstuck, and it explicates perfectly the difference between HAVING and GETTING ideas. It’s awesome, and I reread it every coupla years to remind me how to find the hole in the paper and what a pleasure it is when I can find the way and fall through it.

What I FORGET until I am two chapters in and hooked all to hell, is that it IS actually a dreadfully suspenseful tale about a lunatic and her own pet writer, and even though in six weeks what I will remember---what I will have taken away---is the passionate love story of BOY MEETS PAGE, BOY LOSES PAGE, BOY REFINDS WRITING, last night I was all up ons from the AXES and the BLOODY BIRTHDAY CAKES and it led to imaginary undead possums and three hours of sleep.

Thanks, Mr. King!

And I MEAN that.

Posted by joshilyn at 10:42 AM | Comments (26)

July 11, 2008

Things to do While Endlessly Ill: Day Three (Part Two)

Part ONE was mostly about shopping for dishes I cannot afford and am therefore not going to buy, and I had it narrowed down to THREE patterns to not buy, each with pros and cons, and then MIR, that crafty shop-tress extraordinaire, sent me an EMAIL that said:

“... I know just the dishes you should not be buying.

You're welcome.”

AND SHE IS RIGHT! THOSE ARE THE EXACT DISHES I AM NOT GOING TO BUY! I heart them SO much. Whimsical, but not putridly so. Countrishy Frenchishy out the wazoo! Cheerful and colorful without being FEY, and way too vibrant to be twee. AND the bowls have sunflowers. LOOKIT:

mydishes%21.jpeg

ANYWAY As Pink Sockily Sworn, here is the rest of my list of things to do while endlessly ill:

3) Playing the morning scale game. All. Day. Long.

As you may recall from a previous entry, I threw out KINDLY OLD AUNTIE SCALE and got a fancy glass scale named Mr. Taylor, digital liar-pants and known CRUELTY-MONGOR. I HATE Mr. Taylor, who told me that instead of being at the TOP of the proper weight range for my height, I was actually OVER. That meant that instead of needing to lose ten pounds, I had to drop fifteen. *martyred sigh*

DIGRESSION: 8 weeks into Weight Watchers, I am SOLIDLY down five pounds from the HORRID new weight the HORRID new scale gave me. WHICH MEANS even according to that LYING SACK OF CRAP, Mr. Taylor, I am OFFICALLY not overweight, but am NOW a few pounds down from the TOP of the weight range for my height. And there was much rejoicing, if rejoicing is defined as “sour looks that imply a wish for the new scale’s accidental total submersion in lava.”

DIGRESSION 2: 8 weeks? FIVE pounds? Seems like a LOT of diet and exercise for LITTLE return. BUT, I changed scales and had to start over and I can’t do the math on previous stuff before and after or my brain hurts. AND, you have to factor in a week of BEACH VACATION: Buttered crustaceans. My mom’s rum cake. Late night CHEETO fests. REALLY a lot of shiraz. Chocolate Skittles. (for the car! You HAVE to eat chocolate skittles in the car!) and more than one visit to Cold Stone Creamery for Cake Batter ice cream with heath bar and/or cookie dough where I PAINFULLY overused the AND function of that and/or.

ANYWAY, The MORNING scale game goes like this:

1) Get up.

2) Use the facilities.

3) Strip down to my glasses.

4) Step gingerly onto the icy glass surface of the loathsome Mr. Taylor.

5) Scream “NONONO YOU CRAPULANT PIECE OF WADDED JERKFACED DISHONESTY! I REFUTE YOUR POOPY MISCALCULATIONS WITH RIGHTEOUS VIGOR!” This is a paraphrase, of course. In reality, I use MUCH fouler language because the first number is merely an OPENING OFFER. Mr. Taylor is like a used-car salesman, only YUCKIER --- he is a masterful manipulator ---and his opening gambit must be rejected immediately and firmly.

6) Step off and wait for numbers to clear.

7) Get back on. The number is now about one pound lower. Every morning. It’s like I wake up with a POUND of accumulated profanity in my gut and Mr. Taylor reflects the WEIGHT of those UGLY words. This causes me to unleash them ON HIM. Then I step off, and when I step back on I weigh at least one pound less. EVERY DAY. (And yes I am standing in the same spot every time and the scale is in the same spot every time and I am not touching the counter. It is a mystery!)

8) Step on and off 2 – 7 more times to make sure that the SECOND 1 pound lower number is repeated and therefore true. It almost ALWAYS is, and then I am done. BUT...

9) SOMETIMES Mr. Taylor wobbles UP from the lower number by one or two ounces. (Yes, he is accurate down to the OUNCE, the exacting worm.) I CANNOT accept this ounce or ounces, obviously, but I can generally make him drop the issue by removing my glasses.

10) If glasses removal fails, I have been known to resort to trimming my bangs.
(Yes. I know. This is SO. MENTALLY. ILL.)

Well, on day 3 of being sick and bored, I played this game not JUST in the morning, but every couple of hours. ALL DAY LONG. I would try to factor in the weight of whatever meals I ate and not count them. Like, when I was up four ounces, I would say, “But I ate 8 ounces of lentil soup! SO REALLY I am DOWN 4!”

4) Surfing YOU TUBE to learn valuable lessons like it’s funny when animals sneeze, NEVER follow You Tube Links sent by Karen because she RICK ROLLS, and that I LIKE it when the stride gum guy CROSSES CULTERAL BARRIERS to bring simply dreadful dancing to the many, many cheerful populaces!

Also? Turns out LIONS ARE NICE!

WARNING: The following video perpetrates Whitney Houston.

The number of times I watched the LION video and got all MISTY on day three borders on OBSCENE. If you simply cannot manage Whitney, you can try this shorter, blurrier version which has AEROSMITH wailing that they don’t want to fall asleep because they would MISS YOU babe, and that Steve Tyler in particular does not want to miss a THING. YOU ARE WELCOME! I say you are welcome because you are thanking me even if you do not like Aerosmith because at least it isn’t WHITNEY HOUSTON.

I looked really hard for this same lion vid that was set to a FRATELLI’s song, or that think I know why the dog howls song or something else JUNGLE-Y, or even the superlative Aerosmith/Run DMC hybrid version of WALK THIS WAY, but Aerosmith in Ballad mode was the best I could do.

5) PHILOSOPHIZE. You know, the reason I say perpetrate Whitney Houston is because I never forgave her for THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL. I HATE that song. It was our class song, too, UGH. For the record, I voted for Rock Lobster.

If you listen to the WORDS (I do not recommend it, but if it was voted your class song in spite of the obvious merits of the B-52’s anthem to marine life, and they play it at EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY for the months surrounding graduation while your spry young brain is mostly EMPTY and thus still defenselessly hoovering up all manner of useless knowledge inadvertently, the words soak in around the edges no matter how hard you try to NOT HEAR), the song is about floppy-quartz-healed-my-soul-crystal-mystic-too-much-therapy-ese love. Puke.

Learning to love yourself is NOT the greatest love of all. Loving yourself is EASY---every sociopath and narcissist on earth can manage it in a dead sleep. We are BORN loving only ourselves and 90% of our problems come from staying there.

Actual love is about service. It’s learning to love other people that is hard. Other people are IRRITATING and they DO NOT DO WHAT YOU WANT. They have NEEDS and SMELLS and STUPID OPINIONS. But when folks can manage it, they find loving other people makes them helpful and kind. When folks are helpful and kind, they love themselves as a by product of ACTUALLY BECOMING LOVEABLE, and that’s a good idea.

We love the thing we serve.
Fresh born babies teach you that, FAST.
Every major religion knows that.
Even FREAKIN’ Aerosmith knows that.
SO DO RESCUED LIONS AND THEIR LONG HAIRED HIPPY-BOY RESCUERS!

Which reminds me of that video. WAH!!!! THAT LION…so touching. *sniff* Let’s scroll up and watch it again!

(Not whining – really – but JUST SO YOU KNOW? Just in case YOU WERE WONDERING? Here we are on day four and…

My head still hurts.)

Posted by joshilyn at 7:25 AM | Comments (30)

July 10, 2008

Things to do While Endlessly Ill: Day Three (Part One)

Day three is when you HAVE to stop doing the things you have done for the first couple of days or you are ABSOLUTELY going to get a plastic crock-pot liner put over your head. (I spent the first days lying on the sofa, whining at Scott and watching either terrible TV or good TV I had ALREADY SEEN.) SO. Here is how I spent yesterday:

1) NOT WHINING! This took a lot of effort. I counted it as 30 minutes of aerobic activity on my Weight Watchers chart.

2) Online shopping for things we absolutely cannot afford to buy this summer. Like a WHOLE set of new everyday dishes.

Digression: We’ve been married over fourteen years now, and that makes our everyday dishes pushing fifteen, as we registered for ‘em when we got engaged. Now, fifteen years is not THAT old for dishes…unless you have children.

Ever since Sam graduated from baby bowls, our hardy stoneware has suffered MANY casualties---plates, cups, saucers, NO ONE IS SAFE. They have been dropped, smuggled out to the YARD, (to make YARD PIE in, one assumes?) and lost, stuffed under beds and sofas to be chipped by the Super hero action figures who are shoved in after them (are they on secret plate rescue missions? Or even more secret I DO NOT WANT TO PUT MY TOYS AWAY missions? The WISE mom suspects the answer is B) The dishes have been folded and mutilated and spindled and ---

Interal digression inside the digression: Once when Sam was maybe 9, I remember coming into the den to see him STANDING ON A DINNER PLATE. He had his feet kinda CURVED to fit them inside the rim, and he was balanced there happily watching TV.
Me: What are you DOING?
Him: Watching Jeopardy. (DUH was implied)
Me: WHY ARE YOU STANDING ON A DINNER PLATE???
He looked down and discovered the plate and evinced all manner of completely genuine surprise and said, “How did THAT get there?”

BOTH my children have this automatic STAND ON IT impulse – if something is on the floor, they go PERCH on it and wobble around without noticing the object is there OR that they are in the process of breaking it with their feet. They are especially prone to perching on objects that are MINE. The more VALUABLE and/or breakable and/or IMPROBABLE an object it is, the MORE LIKELY they are to not notice it should be picked up and go stand on it. In other words, I could leave fifty SHOES or CAT TOYS on the floor and they would not go stand on these things. BUT! I have found them standing on
---my missing wallet
---A silk blouse that fell out of the cleaner bag
---The cordless phone
---a signed first edition of a MICHAEL CHABON book
---A completely full and unopened bottle of wine…RED, of course.

ANYWAY:

By 2005, Maisy was out of baby bowls, too, and we’d lost so MANY dishes that we had to eat in shifts. Luckily, Scott’s brain is SET on “Eternally remember inconsequential details,” so one day, when I was eating my squash casserole off one saucer and my pork chop off another, and I casually said, “I wish I knew the name of this pattern so we could have enough dinner plates,” his eyes went dark and misty, like he was peering through the layers of space of time, and he said, in a hypnotized, robot-y voice, “The dinnerware is Northwinds by Pfaltzgraff.”
(Picture for the curious.)

It had of course been discontinued, but we got some extra plates and such off ebay and limped on. NOW 6 of 7 remaining plates have a chip or a crack, we have five saucers and NO coffee cups, we are down to TWO salad plates, and the kids are eating mostly off plastic fish plates we got for a dollar each off a clearance end cap at Target.

My kitchen can be described as HYPER CHEERFUL BLUE AND WHITE COUNTRY FRENCH-ISHY. Here it is:

dimkitchen.jpeg

YES MY PHONE CAMERA SUX! Sorry.

breakfast%20nook.jpeg

It was an inherited kitchen---luckily the folks who owned this house before us had good taste because my deco style is “It’s not exactly me, but I am not sure what IS, so fine.” I don’t really HAVE the ability to match styles and colors and it seems nice looking and do I care enough to change it? I mean, my OFFICE, yes, my BEDROOM, yes, but a KITCHEN? No.

Here are the dishes on the short list of the dishes I will not be buying this summer:

A) Yes, I know. NOT TERRIBLY EXCITING, and not at all blue.
BUT LOOK AT THE ACCENT PIECES! So so cute.

B) I shamelessly <3 me some crate-n-barrel stoneware.
On the minus side: This is WAY too modern for my hyper-cheerful country-french-ish blue and white kitchen.
On the plus side: IT HAS BLUE IN IT.

C) I LIKE this …but I think of it WITH the wallpaper and my eyelids start to twitch. I think anti-matchy-matchy brain convulsions would ensue.

I also saw some very CUTE dishes with little CRABS scurrying on blue waves, but I think after about two weeks I would get a bad WHIMSY OVERDOSE and HURL them across the room.

OBVIOUSLY I did not spend the ENTIRE day assiduously NOT WHINING and shopping for dishes. But I actually feel the TINIETS BIT BETTER. I’m going to go work on the book---I will finish this tomorrow.

No really, I swear. I WILL. Do not LOOK at me like that! I AM SICK! I SWEAR I will finish and the first one of you that even BREATHES the word pink socks in my direction is likely to get this empty box of PUFFS to the side of the head. *vigorous nodding*

Posted by joshilyn at 7:42 AM | Comments (128)

July 9, 2008

Time to Call the WAHHHHHmbulance.

I woke this morning to the dulcet tones of Big Cat yacking up a hairball, and as I uncoiled my legs to transfer him and his intestinal ablutions OFF THE CARPET to the more easily cleaned bathroom floor, Little Cat bit the CRAP out of my ankle. My ankle was moving, you see, under the blankets in a COVERT and DEVIOUS manner that made him think it was a STEALTHY BED MOLE who was after the important top secret national security documents we file in the sheets. My ankle CLEARLY needed to be stopped---not just stopped, but murderously stopped with deadly force. Shock and awe, people.

During his patriotic whirlwind ninja attack, he sunk one fang down so low into my flesh that I thought I heard it click against my bone. My ungodly howl pierced my OWN BRAIN MATTER, alerting me to the fact that I still HAVE A HEADACHE, LO, THESE LONG THREE DAYS LATER. I also still have a nose full of snot, muscle aches, and a POOR POOR POOR attitude.

I want to be working on my novel. I am FRANTIC to be working on my novel, if a person who has done nothing but sleep and eat oranges for three days can be described as “frantic.” I am a new kind---lackadaisically frantic. It’s the kind of frantic you can do while supine. I am frantic INSIDE! Where it counts! A free floating, off-the-charts, mucus-riddled frantic.

I feel scenes are ESCAPING me as I lie around WHINING at my husband—sometimes he leaves the room and I lie in a pile, whining in the general direction I saw him go. Scott is the most patient man in the UNIVERSE. He makes JOB look like an unruly little hothead. Any other husband would have put a plastic crock-pot liner bag over my head yesterday and held it tightly until the noises stopped.

Things I repeated more than 9 times each, yesterday:

1) Is it carbon monoxide poisoning? What if it is? A HEADACHE FOR THREE DAYS? I bet it is, and if I go to sleep we will all die. WE CAN’T GO TO SLEEP.

2) Do you think I have meningitis? A HEADACHE FOR THREE DAYS it HAS to be. Can you go print out whatever wikipedia and Web MD say about Meningitis?

3) I have brain worms, and Excedrin is not TOUCHING THEM. Get a drill.

4) Can you rub my head? Softer. No, harder. NO! NO! THERE IN THE OTHER PLACE WHERE IT HURTS. Yes! There. But softer. Not that soft. No, do not SCRATCH just RUB. WAH! WAH! MY HEAD HURTS! MY HEAD HURTS!

5) Yes, now that you mention it, it DOES hurt more when I yell. Interesting.

6) Do you want to lie on the sofa with me and pet my head and watch (Monk reruns/ Super Password reruns/ Scrubs reruns/The Office reruns/CELEBRITY FAMILY FEUD)?

7) I hate summer programming! Where are my beautiful off-season shows? Can you go check TV guide on the computer and see when (Burn Notice/Project Runway/The Closer) starts it’s new season?

And your fingers just sympathy twitched, didn’t they! You were reaching for the crock-pot liner bags. WELL TOO BAD, I refuse to be killed now. You should have killed me last night WHILE I was watching Celebrity Family Feud. That show completely sapped my will to live.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:46 AM | Comments (13)

July 7, 2008

WARNING: Grumpy

I got SICK and missed 90% of the fun with Kira and Mir. Including a Bridezilla marathon. SO. TODAY, I am going to whine about an unrelated tpopic and stuff homoepathic gels up my nose.

When my family first moved to the Gulf Coast, there was already a fishing pier on Navarre beach. It had been up for decades. Then Hurricane Ivan happened in 2004, and Ivan was bad. Flying into Pensacola after, I said to the woman next to me, “I know this is Florida, but have you ever seen so many pools? Almost every house has one!”

As we got closer, I realized I was wrong. The ACTUAL pools had no water and weren’t terribly visible from the plane. What almost every house had was a bright blue rectangular chunk of TARP where the roof used to be.

Before the Navarre beach could recover, Hurricane Dennis came roaring through and tore the poor fishing pier yet another new one. I think those rowdy ladies were ticked about being given BOY names when it is patently obvious to anyone who has ever been out in one that a HURRICANE is a GIRL STORM. (Tornados, on the other hand, are all male. If you do not believe me, run up to a tornado and call it Doris. See if it doesn’t whirl your car away and drop it on your mother, or at the very least, slam a cow into your house.)

Anyway, when both angry storms were over, Navarre Pier looked like this:

monument%20to%20bureaucracy.JPG


It STILL looks like that. Yes. In 2008.

The county was all set to build a NEW pier, and they had a budget and a plan and were moving forward when the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reared up wearing tiny little skirts and fluttering pom pons made of thousands of strings of red tape. “RAH RAH REE!” They hooted, “WE NEED A “biological assessment! It will cost millions of dollars, and we are not even going to be specific about what you should assess! Or how you should assess it! GO, TEAM!” Then they did flips.

In OTHER words, they want to know what putting a pier up where a pier has stood for more than half a century will do to the fish.

Well, let’s see. I recently completed a study where the parameters were “Go to Navarre and look at this ruined dangerous pier dropping chunks of itself and swaying over the tourists. Watch people fish from the beach. Watch people catch ladyfish, pompano, and ALMOST one BIG-BUTT MONSTROUS bull shark.” Here is my “Biological assessment,” which seeks to answer the question:

WHAT RADICAL DOOM IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN IF WE PUT UP A PIER IN THE PLACE WHERE A PIER HAS STOOD FOR HALF A CENTURY?

My patented radical Doom-meter needle barely moved. It didn’t even get past diddly into SQUAT territory.

ALTHOUGH – it is true the new pier would do nothing very good for the fish that people CATCH while standing on the fishing pier with hooks and line and bait. Those particular fish will be eaten, and if they are pompano, can I come to your place for dinner? Still, it’s not like those guys aren’t there anyway, wading out in rubber pants and pulling in those same pompano. They are. It’s just they would rather do it ON a pier instead of UNDER the hazardous, unstable ruins of one. It is also worth noting that currently, the fish population currently has HALF a pier dropping chunks on them at random intervals…That can’t be good for their stress levels.

You know, I TRULY like people in onesies and small groups, but we keep BREEDING and if you get enough of us in a room, we start to ooze bureaucracy. And when that happens? Forms become triplicate, and budgets become tripled, and no one gets their stinking pier fixed. *sigh*

Posted by joshilyn at 4:08 PM | Comments (12)

July 4, 2008

Best Drink of Summer (the SO FAR edition)

HAPPY FOURTH! I have a summer cold AND tons of friends in town --- Amy-Go, Mir, and Kira --- SO I am NEGLECTING you horridly. BUT! I offer delicious alcohol, because I believe there is an old saying that goes something like, "Starve a fever, get a summer cold tiddly."

WINNER, best drink of summer (so far): Golf Club to the Head
Invented by Amy-Go, true friend and cocktail genius, and her husband Kevin.

1 part Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
2 Parts fresh squeezed Lemonade

Serve over ice in a tall glass with lemon garni. It tastes as innocent and refreshing as an Arnold Palmer Then you will discover you are dancing in the compost pile and cackling about how funny the word MOON becomes if you say it 900 times really fast. Especially if someone mentions that MOON can also mean BUTT.

If you have more than one, TRUST ME! The next morning, you will know why this is called a golf club to the head. It can also be called an “Evil Arnold Palmer” or just an “Evil Arnold.”

We drank this and played three games of OUTBURST. The team made up of sober husbands WON all three. I am convinced they cheated. By being sober. THEN we found a pristine gamebox in the basement. I think we got it for Christmas in 1992 and it had NEVER BEEN PLAYED – It was called MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS and it was the most DROOPY, TOUCHY, FEELY, SENSITIVE, THERAPEUTIC MUSHPOT game ever invented. The women would read a question to the men, like,

A REAL MAN HAS
1) A healthy dose of ambition
2) Control over the TV remote
3) The ability to express his feelings

Then the men would put their answer in on the SECRET MAN CLICKER and then the women would vote what they THOUGHT the secret man clicker would say. Or you could vote something called CAVE which we never quite understood. Our little curvy-figured fertility-green game piece got to move one space for every vote we got right.

THEN the men would read us an EQUALLY insipid question (A woman’s most important territory is 1) her kitchen 2) her bedroom 3) her mind!) and we would put out answer in the SECRET WOMAN CLICKER and then they would guess what we thought, and for every correct vote they got to move their NON CURVEY game piece forward, and HAND TO THE LORD their non-curvey game piece looked like a teeny orange wang.

Two questions in we decided to call it EMOgame. I felt like we all needed to have LONG LONG bangs to peer through disconsolately in order to play PROPERLY, and we would need to take FREQUENT BREAKS to read each other our homemade poetry that would feature lines like

My heart! Is a black sad hole
of pain!
For you have stomped upon it!
Yes, again!!!!!111one!one!!1111eleventy

The not-exactly-sober wives team won EMOgame, and there was MUCH rejoicing.
Then we ceremoniously marched outside and put EMOgame in the trash.

That night I had the most BIZARRE dream in which I called my editor but I got EMILY, who was her assistant like 4 or 5 years ago and who is now an editor at GCP. Emily said, "Caryn is secretly in but I am supposed to tell everyone she is not, because she has a terrible headache FROM DRINKING AT LUNCH, and why is this MY JOB?" And I could hear my editor in background saying, "EMILY! THAT IS NOT SUBTLE!"

I think I MAY have been projecting.

If you can’t get the FIREFLY (or if for some CRAZY reason you don’t want to feel like you just took a golf club to the head) you can try last years winning summer cocktail, the more innocuous Pimm’s Cup, invented by UNKNOWN, discovered by Karen:

1 part Pimm's No. 1 Cup
3 parts Lemonade
splash of Sprite OR Ginger Ale (I prefer the ginger version)
2 crushed mint leaves
Garnish: Cucumber wedge

Posted by joshilyn at 2:03 PM | Comments (208)

July 1, 2008

The Real Thalia

STILL working on an FAQ, and by WORKING, I mean “Throwing emails that ask questions I seem to get a lot into a file and SWEARING I will organize and answer them. Tomorrow.” Then I forget they exist until another comes.

I was hoping that “If they come, I will build it” would work as well as the reverse did for Shoeless Joe Jackson, but no, you have to make the mystical baseball field first. THANK YOU, KEVIN COSTNER, FOR TEACHING ME WISE THINGS ABOUT LIFE. *stew stew stew*

ONE question I am getting a lot recently is, “I read the girl who stopped swimming and I (loved/hated/am related to in real life) Thalia. Is this creature based on a real person?”

No. None of my adult characters are based on real people. I usually base KIDS on composites of actual children because REAL children are SO FREAKING WEIRD. You can’t make that stuff up. I have a little Thalia in me, I am afraid – just a LITTLE. And I have seen Thalia-esque behavior before, especially when I was working in Theatre. Theatre breeds nihilists and sybarites.

But the name, I stole absolutely from real life. When I was a little chunk of too-weird-to-make-up, I went to Wiregrass Christian Youth Camp every year. There I hiked and roasted marshmallows and played kickball and braided lariats and caught grasshoppers and swam (but never with BOYS---swimming with boys was called “mixed bathing” and you could ABSOLUTELY go to hell for that. It’s in the Bible, I think. In the book called “The Gospel According to Wiregrass Christian Youth Camp.”)

Mixed Bathing aside, I LOVED that place and had total fun every summer. I saw many of the kids year after year, and ONE of them was this adorable object, slim as a filament and topped off by a THICK MASS of blonde curls, named Thalia. (It is pronounced THAYL-ya, for the record. That’s another FAQ.) She was my best friend every year at camp, and she was funny and charming and sweet straight through to the bone, so I only based Thalia’s looks and hair and name on my memories of her.

Look here we are at camp---she is blurry and I am smug. AND HOW ABOUT THAT HAIR-DO! It look slike my mom put a salad bowl on my head and then cut everything that stuck out from under it off...My old camp counselor read the book recently and mailed this to me:

thaliaforrealz.jpeg

I often wonder if she will stumble across the book and recognize my name---there are not many Joshilyns in the world, just as there are very few Thalias. I hope she would feel more pleased than horrifed. *grin*

ALSO BEEN MEANING TO SAY! I read quite a few books over beach week, but here are the two that blew my socks off, the two I can hardly wait to reread, the ones I am DYING to make everyone I ever met read, too:

THE WAIT by Frank Turner Hollon, out in both paper and hard covers.

NO ONE YOU KNOW by Michelle Richmond. This one is only out in hardback, but The Year of Fog by the same author is in paperback, and it is awesome.

bestreads.jpg

Posted by joshilyn at 9:43 AM | Comments (10)