Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I Give Up!

So I'm going back to my old layout for now. I don't have the patience to figure out what the heck was going on. Some of the problems I could fix but the big ones are beyond my limited understanding. If doing my own blog layouts has taught me anything, it has taught me that if and when I publish a novel, I'm paying someone to do this. I have a decent understanding about html but not how it works with the various browsers. Sigh.....I'll try again in October. Right now, the time I spent on the layout took away from my bloghopping so I'll be catching up today.

Oh yeah! Today is Cole's birthday. Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Let's Try This Again

Okay, is this easier to see? It's tough becaus I could see the other one just fine, but I that has happened before. Anyway, tikis are good luck, so maybe that is a better one.

I hope you can see the font. I'm using Kristen ITC which is a Word font.

Anyway, this is a tweener layout. I'm eager to do something for fall and Halloween, but it is too soon for something like that.

One Week

First, pardon my mess. I changed my blog around and for some reason Blogger isn't saving my changes. I'm hoping the defect will cure itself. At this point, however, it isn't but at least you get a good idea what it will look like. BTW, this is what the background should look like:

This is the Week of Regret. Sounds like a religious holiday. This is the week where I look back with disappointment at what I didn't accomplish this summer with the kids. We didn't do many of the activities I had planned or gone to the places I wanted to take them. I'm not exactly sure why. I think it boils down to the fact they really didn't have any interest in doing these things.

Being a mom, I'm overly concerned with my kids development. My greatest fear is that my kids will grow up to be serial killers or, heaven forbid, Paris Hilton. And of course I would blame myself because I didn't take them to enough art museums or did enough arts and crafts projects with them. In my head, I know macrame isn't the path to maturity and whether they've seen enough Monets is going to make them better adults. But being a mom isn't a particularly rational state of mind. We live with guilt like it is our favorite pair of sweatpants. It is comforting in its way and we cling to it, no matter how torn up and useless it is.

I'm looking forward to next week. So are my kids. They love school. Now the Playstation will be mine!!! Yes, I still have one at home, but she isn't as tough as she once was.

One week, I can make it. Barely.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

May The Force Be With You

First, I want to wish a happy birthday to Nienke. Stop by and give her your felicitations. Also, I have a book review up at Age of Enlightenment. So if you are fascinated by 18th century cooking (and you know you are) check it out.

My home has been overrun by Star Wars. My son has been playing to Star Wars video games non-stop this summer. We have watched all the movies (except for the last one) this summer. This includes the Clone Wars cartoons created for Cartoon Network. This obsession is shared mostly between my son and his dad, but the girls are not immune. What is it about “Star Wars” which makes it a cultural phenomenon? I doubt there is a place on earth which has never heard of it.

Is it the elemental battle between good and evil? Is it the adventure? Is it the cool gadgets? If you look at the series, there are plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. Yoda is annoying. I have never been able to get over the fact he sounds like Fozzie Bear. But whatever I have against it, I have to admire its universal appeal. Still, I have to say, after thirty years of Star Wars, I’m pretty sick of it. That all of this could come from one movie is stupefying

The saga isn’t particularly unique with regards to plotline. The same story and characters could be placed in a medieval setting or the old west and still play the same. But George Lucas really hit on combo which feeds the fantasies of the masses. It is rather innocent in its themes. There is a good side and a bad side. You have to choose which to follow. The concept of balance is big and the value of friendship and family are heavy themes. All in all, not a bad learning experience. My kids could be into something far worse.


Friday, August 25, 2006

New Countdown

I have a new countdown to start today. Hubby finally cleared his calendar and I started booking a trip to Hawaii. We have had a hit and miss on this trip for a couple of years now, so we are really looking forward to it.

We are leaving on September 25th and returning on October 2nd. Yes, the kids will be in school but I’m going to pull them. They have conference that week and school gets out at one everyday. The teachers are so busy with parent conferences they give minimal amount of work so I think we can work with it. This is the problem when one is self-employed, there is no one to take your place, and so we have to find time when we can.

We’ll be staying on the Big Island at a condo complex called Mauna Lani Point. I originally wanted to stay in a hotel, but the more I thought about it, the less appealing that idea became. First, and those of you considering having a third child, keep this in mind, hotel rooms only hold four people. If you have five, you have to get a second room. Usually they cut you a deal, but still, it adds up. Second, condos roomier. Third, going out for every meal is expensive. Fourth, going out to any meal with my kids is as fun as a root canal. And fifth (this is the weird one), I get antsy if I can’t cook. After 3 or 4 days of not cooking, I start crawling the walls. I’ll cook cheerios if that’s all that’s available. I haven’t always been like this but I noticed it kicking in when I started staying home. Maybe because it is habit, I’m not sure. Oh, I won’t be pulling out the gourmet stuff or anything like that and we will be going out to a few restaurants (and a luau), but I need the security of having the option of cooking.

I don’t plan to do a whole lot. I’ve been to the Big Island before so I don’t need to do much in the tourist department. I do plan to spend lots of time at the beach. So now the fun chore begins: what books do I take? This is strictly a fluff-reading trip, “War and Peace” will not be amongst my selections. I’ve got tons of books in my TBR stack so I probably have enough to keep me busy, but I would hate to miss out on an excuse to buy books.

Yeah, I will have a laptop as well. I do tend to write on vacation. And I will have to blog about what a great time I’m having.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Post-BIAW Syndrome

Last week Melissa and I hosted a Book In A Week at Villa in Tuscany.  Some of these writers really pushed and got some awesome word counts out.  There were also writers who tried.  They may not have reached their goals but they put in the effort and tried.  I admire their dedication.  Bad hostess that I am, I did not keep up my end of the bargain.  My writing went kaput.  I did have some excuses, but none were good enough to excuse my lack of effort.  I did post some nice pictures but I sadly did not post any writing totals.

I’m not one to beat myself up too much for blowing a BIAW, I’ve done it before and will no doubt do it again.  But the interesting thing is the aftermath.  I wrote five pages yesterday and so far I have eight pages today.  Why this sudden output?  Maybe I’m just slow on the uptake.  A lot of jokes go over my head.  Maybe the manic need to write was building like a big geyser and now I’m bursting with creativity.  Who knows, but I am thrilled.

In my spare time I’ve been fiddling around with MySpace.  Love this toy.  I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for stupid graphics to send to Nienke and Chrys.  I think they really appreciate it *snort*

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two Weeks

So, two more weeks before school starts and the natives are restless.  

Supernerd has decided it is time to test his father’s temper.  Not a wise thing, but the Force is strong in my family.  The younger generation hasn’t figured out there are only two Sith at anyone time and right now they are Darth Grandpa and Darth Dad.  But it doesn’t stop the younger generation from trying to usurp the throne.  

My hubby is a lawyer which means he is good in any argument.  He is also good at asking the right questions and expecting the right answers.  And he’s crabby.  His workload is non-ceasing, so being contrary for the sake of contrariness is just not wise.  I had to gawk last night when my son pushed back on his dad.  The kid has a mouth on him and the undeserved arrogance of the truly brilliant.  His attitude is going to land him flat on the ground with a black eye if he isn’t careful.  

He is growing bolder.  For the most part, he has been using his Dark Side powers on his sister which is annoying but not particularly foolhardy.  The last couple of days he has tried it on his dad, mouthing off and shooting attitude with the power of a .44 magnum.  His dad asked him a question last night and my son was in a snit.  So instead of answering with a monosyllabic response, he decides to ignore his dad.  At the dinner table.  Boy, the kid has big brass ones.  His dad told him to go eat in another room.  Kid is cruisin’ for a bruisin’.  For some reason he hasn’t figured out who holds the power in the house.  Literally.  It would be simple enough for me to take away his computer, gamecube & PS2.  Duh.  Dad could also take away his allowance.

I expect him to be sullen.  He is ten going on fifteen.  But the stupid part is surprising.  I think it is his restlessness and his need to go back to school.  His mind needs the outlet and he isn’t finding it in Super Mario.  Sure, there are plenty of things for him to do, but it doesn’t replace the structure of school.

Oh, by the way, I posted at Search for the Good Life about eating a meal together as a family and the benefits it provides.  I’d like to share the joy which I’ve been experiencing lately.  Sullen kids, crabby husband, obnoxious toddler, makes the meal feel extra special.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Because He Loves Me

Today is my anniversary. Twelve years ago today I looked liked that. Damn, we looked young.

Marriage is difficult. Forcing to different personalities to live with each other and expect them to do it until death do they part is pretty tough when you think about it. But somehow we manage.

There is so much change and doubt in the world, I think it is amazing love can last. Being a romance writer, I'm hardwired to believe in happy endings. But the happy ending in a romance novel is different from the happy ending in a book.

It's a helluva lot more work. There are dark times, times where we make each other miserable. But we work through it and learn a bit more how to keep our marriage working.

When I read about celebrity marriages which crumble after a couple of years, I have to shake my head. I suppose some of these folks live in a world where every effort is made to keep them happy, they expect everything to be that way. But true love isn't a golden dream populated by unicorns and spun-sugar flowers. It is as much toil as it is joy. And those struggles only make it more worthwhile.

Now, after twelve years, I know, without a doubt, he loves me. And not a hearts and flowers love, but the lasting, solid love which embodies the soul. I guess soulmate is the term, but whatever, I never doubt the depth of his love or the commitment he has to our marriage. I know I am the only woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. It took a few years to figure that one out. But I can feel his love is everlasting. We have built an amazing life together I look forward to the years, look forward to growing old with this man in the life we have built.

BTW, guess what I got for an anniversary present. I'll give you a hint. It's name starts with a "i" and ends with a "d" and it only comes in black or white. It helped that I had the kids campaign for me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This Thing Called Love- Carnival of Romance Writing

Welcome to the first Romance Writing Carnival, "This Thing Called Love." The topic is why romance? What is it about the romance genre that attracts you as a writer? As a reader?

There is no doubt romance is popular. Here are some statistics I got off the RWA website:

  • $1.2 billion in sales each year
  • 54.9% of all popular mass-market fiction sold
  • 39.3% of all fiction sold

But why?

Robert Ball likes the fact love runs the course of human nature, commanding mans actions as he explains in Love: The extremes of Human emotion and relationships. Jane Harrison finds romance to be the mirror of our own mores and morality, our own cravings for the happily ever after in The Attraction of Romance: Heroic and Utopian Optimism posted at Bellamorté. Olga is drawn to the happy ending, but she wants her characters to earn it as she points out in Olga's Life.

Toni Anderson is proud of being a romance writer and doesn't understand why others put it down in I Write Romance. Melissa Marsh thinks romance is a great escape from the difficulties of reality as she discusses at her blog Grosvenor Square. Bailey Stewart at The Long and Writing Road also loves the happily ever after but she loves writing in a genre that leaves its reader feeling good.

Cole Reising answers the question Why Romance? citing among other things the endless variety of romantic stories which exist. Teresa Eckford believes her love of history is a natural for romance as she explains in Why historical romance? Cara North offers an Ode to Readers for their support.

Last but not least, Andrew Rihn presents some things I don't need posted at And time yet for a hundred indecisions. This endearing post is about the reality of romance. The evolution he has gone through is the stuff of which we like to write, reminding us why romance is so popular.

That concludes this edition of "This Thing Called Love" Blog Carnival. Next month, the topic is the perfect or imperfect man. What makes a hero? If anyone would like to host next month, let me know. It should be posted September 18.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Diva and Scooter

The Diva has a new man in her life. He's hairy and smells bad. He's a thirty-two year old vegetarian and he goes by the name Scooter.

My darling daughter has spent the afternoon and evening talking about Scooter, drawing pictures of Scooter and mooning over Scooter as if he were the cover boy on Tiger Beat.

Yes, Scooter is a horse. After she hounded me like a toothache, I finally got her into riding lessons. It took awhile, not to many trainers are willing to take on a 6 year old, particularly English style which is what I wanted her trained on. I found a stable not to far from my house tucked into a beautiful canyon. The temperatures were nice and the instructor was very sweet. The Diva was nervous at first, I don't think she has ever been that close to a horse before. But she helped groom him, picking his hooves and brushing him, but I could tell she was afraid. However, she has enough pride to square her shoulders and proceed.

Then it was time to mount. She did so and didn't seem scared at all. Although the lesson was only supposed to last a half hour, the trainer worked with her for an hour. She held a lead rein and walked with them through the ring. But Diva had to control him. He's a good horse and took to commands very easily. By the end of the lesson she was completely comfortable.

I was very proud of her. Too often we shy away from things which make us nervous or frighten us, limiting our scope of experience. But her desire to learn to ride was enough to make her push through her fear and approach the horse. I have a feeling we are going to be doing this for a long time. She seems to have a natural affinity for it. And she is willing to learn.

Today we start her other love: soccer. She's moved up a division which is a good thing, she is far too aggressive for the younger girls. She's pretty excited about that. In so many ways, she is a fun kid to have around. Her delight in activity thrills me. I hope she is able to keep this enthusiasm for the rest of her life.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Three Weeks

So I took my daughter back to school shopping at Kohl’s this past weekend.  My heart is still trying to recover from the sticker shock.  Yeah, I know, Wal-Mart is the place to go, except here the stores are filled with skanky people who don’t bathe and are probably on parole, and that’s just the employees.  Also, the clothes would be perfect if my daughter was attending Hoochie Mama Elementary.  Target is an option as well only my Targets seem to stock only one outfit per size.  Plus, well, they aren’t much cheaper than Kohl’s.  

The biggest problem is me, however.  I refuse to buy cute clothes for myself.  I’m determined not to buy real clothes until I can buy them in a single-digit size.  So I expend my fashion sense on my daughter.  Of course, our fashion tastes differ.  Sometimes I think she inherited her father’s sense of color coordination, or lack thereof.  Anyway, we did manage to buy her a passel of cute clothes.  It took awhile.  I lost her little sister in the toy department.  She’s easy to find because she is so freakin’ loud.  She never shuts up.  And when I told her no on the  “Dora the Explorer” house complete with wine cellar and diamond-studded bathroom fixtures, she threw a major tantrum, the kind of behavior makes bystanders give me the “can’t she control her kids?” look.  By the way, no, I cannot.  I gave up a long time ago.

Anyway, we buy out a chunk of the 6x department then head to the boys section for my son.  After 7 minutes, we were done.  He’s easy.  He likes sweat pants (none of those annoying zippers or snaps to interfere with quick bathroom trips) and the long-sleeved tee shirts that look like there is a short sleeve tee shirt on top.  I did buy him a couple of pairs of Levis as well.  However, the problem I have with him is that he could wear a 3T in the waist.  I swear, the kid gives new meaning to the word beanpole.  He’s stick boy.  And he eats more than I do.  He eats t.v. dinners for snack.  I buy him the Banquet dinners that run a $1 a piece and have enough fat grams to satisfy a walrus.  And that is just a tweener for him until dinner.

I think we are ready for the first day.  My school usually has plenty of school supplies so I don’t need to bother with the usual accouterments.  However, the boy decided he needed a desk organizer.  My daughter needs a new lunch box, so I’ll have to take her to pick out the proper one.  Disney Princess?  My Little Pony?  Strawberry Shortcake?  Barbie?  This could take forever.  Of course she will then decide to buy lunch everyday.  Always happens.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

This Thing Called Love


Regular posts are below

Okay, so that is the name of this edition of the romance writing blog carnival. I will need the link to your post by August 13 or at least a copy of what you want to post so I can write it up in the carnival post. You can submit in two different ways. First, you can email me via that handy little graphic at the side which says "day or nite, leave a message" or you can go here to Blog Carnival and submit that way as well.

The topic for this carnival is:

Why romance? What is it about the romance genre that attracts you as a writer? As a reader?

I figure that's a pretty general topic to start with. Depending on how everyone feels about the carnival, we could do one every month or so, delving into deeper topics about writing.

Any questions, let me know. I'm working on a graphic you can have on your site for the carnival.

***Teresa brought up a good point. The post doesn't have to be new. If you have a really good post on your blog from back in the past, that will work too. Just make sure the link works.*****

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ms. High Tech

So I bought a webcam yesterday.  Office Depot had a deal for Logitech webcams where you bought two, got $19 off of one then a $30 rebate, making the cost $9.99 for two.  I had to get me one these.  I needed it mainly so I could annoy Melissa on Messenger.  Or maybe I could set up a website and charge people to watch me scream at my kids.  Anyway, Its kind of a cute little doodad although I haven’t really done much with it.  But here’s the fun part of my story.  The camera came with a microphone.  So I hooked up the microphone and started voice training it.  OMG, here is a piece of my typical conversation with my computer using MS Word:

Me: Open document
(We’re okay to that point)
Me: Fairy
Computer: Very
Computer: Very
Computer: What was that?
Me: ##%$$%^$#$#V$%$#%

Then I start dictating on a document.  OH, talk about more trouble than its worth.  So I’m using a cheap mike, I’m sure that’s not helping, but geez, it really is a pain.  It is kind of nice because I can say “New Document” and it does.  This keeps my hands free to make stupid faces at Melissa through the camera.  All in all, this little high tech gadget is pretty pointless.  When it did work, I realized how I speak and how I write is totally different.  Not the same at all.  Plus, I type faster than I talk.

In other stuff, I updated Search for the Good Life today.  I’m talking about being a healthy writer with some useful links.

I’m going to go play with my camera now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Four Weeks

In four weeks I will be taking my kids to school.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!  I know most parents feel the same way.  Remember the Staples commercial a few years back where the dad is dancing in the aisles buying school supplies to the tune “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?”  

Summer never goes as I plan.  I had all sorts of ideas of what I wanted to do with the kids while they were home.  I had educational field trips I wanted them to do, schedules to follow, a summer of fun and organization.


My first mistake is thinking my kids are like the ones on cereal commercials.  I start the summer forgetting about the summer before, seeing my children as the well-mannered, civilized humans they aren’t.  I figure one more year has made a difference and providing some wholesome activities along with a firm schedule would bring peace and joy to my home.  I also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, so that shows you how far gone I am.

My kids are what they are, strong individuals with all the charm of rabid bobcats.  They can’t help it, they are genetic products of my husband and me.  They have some lovely games.

  • The Gang-up: My 10 year old allies himself with his 3 year old sister to torture the 6 year old.  It’s a classic and works like a charm.

  • Tattletalemania: All three of them run down the stairs like they are being chased by bulls in Pamplona so they can report to me what vile sin the other has committed.  Another tried and true game which is guaranteed to blow Mom’s stack.

  • What’s for Dinner Trivia Game:  My 10 year old starts asking me at 9 a.m. what we are having for dinner that night.  Like it makes a difference.  This ain’t Burger King, you can’t have it your way, so why bother asking what’s for dinner?

  • Twenty Questions-Telephone Version:  This is a new one to my household and the 6 year old is quickly becoming a contender for a gold medal in this sport.  When the phone rings, she asks who I’m talking to, what we were talking about, what decision was made, blah, blah, blah…while I’m still on the phone.  This game is a kicker because I honestly think my irritation is pushed so high I can feel my blood pressure increase.  That takes talent.

  • The Bawling Serenade: The 3 year old has her own skills, I didn’t want to leave her out.  She is an aficionado.  Not only does she have an ear-piercing cry, but she can do it at the drop of a hat.  Literally.  She bawled the other day because she dropped her hat.  Her sense of timing is perfect.  She really knows how to hit those high notes on those mornings when mommy is suffering the effects of her tequila shots and the multiple beer chasers that followed.

As fun as this summer has been, I’m looking forward to seeing them off to school.  I still have one at home, but she won’t have her siblings to add to the cacophony.  She’s actually pretty easy.  A little “Dora,” a little “Disney Channel” and her Little People toys and she’s good to go.

I know by next summer I will again delude myself with visions of a “Donna Reed” household where the children know their place and I vacuum the floor in pearls.  I’ll plan another exciting summer full of educational trips and stick to a rigid schedule and we will all be happy.

Next year.

Hey Writers….
Get your links ready for the Blog Carnival.  The url for the event will be my blog.  I’ll post it Sunday night so you can post the link on Monday when our carnival begins.

Also, next week Melissa and I will be hosting a Book In A Week (BIAW) over at Villa in Tuscany so if you are in the mood to punch up your writing, head over and sign up.  It should be fun and inspiring.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Intolerance v. Intolerance

Brouhahas and RWA go together like root beer and ice cream.  They swirl around in a glass with foamy delight.  The ice cream counteracts with the carbonated soda, providing a contrast which pleases the imbiber.

I don’t like root beer floats myself and I’m not big on brouhaha’s involving the RWA.  I rarely comment on them and I’m not going to on this latest one either, only the repercussions which have resulted.

The latest to-do is with regards to a letter written by Jan Butler to the RWR, the magazine for the Romance Writers of America.  She wants the RWA to define romance as being “one woman, one man” stories, excluding gay romance and anything else which doesn’t follow the strict definition.  I’m not putting in any links because there are so many.  If you are interested in the argument, punch in “Jan Butler RWR letter” into any search engine and you will get plenty of links.  

Let me say I disagree with her point of view.  I find the need to define romance in such a narrow confine as repugnant.  I’m also disgusted I even have to express my opinion because I know if I go against the status quo, I will be hammered by all sides.

This post isn’t about the controversy itself, enough cyberspace has been devoted to the topic, but rather the responses of people and their complete vilification of this woman.  Jan Butler has been accused of being a right-wing, bigot, and racist whack job.  You would think this woman was Andrea Yates for all of the vile which has been spewed in her direction.

And this is a big problem.  People whine incessantly about what is wrong with the RWA, but to create any meaningful dialogue means you have to be prepared to be either worshipped or reviled by the masses.  It seems impossible to actually express an opinion without one or the other responses occurring.  It inhibits people from coming forward.  

No, I’m not saying people should not express their opinions and they can get as mouthy as they like, but really.  Is there no such thing as decorum?  Are people truly expressing their opinions about Ms. Butler’s letter or are they showing off?  Is it showing how “enlightened” you are by throwing hate buzz words at another person?  Are we all going to think you are a greater person because you have an acid tongue and can throw an insult with the best of them?

Okay, okay, so I was less than well mannered when I went off on Joe Francis of “Girls Gone Wild” fame.  But the man has physically caused harm, made money off the exploitation of inebriated young girls and has committed date rape at the very least.  He didn’t write a letter to the editor of a special interest magazine.  Save your poison for those who really deserve it.  Hammer on Bush, hammer on FEMA, the government, the Middle East, the criminals who go out and ruin our lives.  Picking on a woman who wrote a letter is a pointless potshot and shows a lack of class.  It is always easy to pick on the easy target and the gang-like atmosphere this has generated is truly nasty.  

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What a Dirtbag!

I wasn't going to blog today but I read this story in the L.A. Times today and it really got me thinking.

The story is about Joe Francis, the "genius" behind the "Girls Gone Wild" phenomenon. I really never paid much attention, but this article really got my attention. This man is a pig, a purveyor of what is horrible in our society. And what I find most revolting is that he has more money than he knows what to do with. What I find most chilling is he made this fortune because of a sleazy need in this culture.

First, guys are buying these videos. That's nothing new. I'm not a prude and I can picture a frat house full of guys enjoying these videos while hammering down the Budweiser. For them, it is a hot party with hot girls. That doesn't bother me so much.

But how does Joe Francis get these girls to do this? Alcohol and the girls themselves. They target the girls in the clubs, find them somewhat inebriated and get them even more drunk. From there, they pressure the girls to do things they wouldn't do otherwise. These girls tend to be under 21 and in some instances, younger. They have dreams of being "discovered" from one of these videos. The payment they receive are tee shirts, underwear and hats emblazoned with advertising for the dvd's.

Why would a girl do this? I honestly don't understand. Yes, alcohol does play a big part in it, but they know about it before hand, make the conscious decision to become involved. They seek validation, as if the only thing which will make them important is this blatant exploitation of their sexuality. Forget school, forget activism, if you want to make your mark on the world, show off your breasts to a camera. The only attention which is important is the lascivious interest of strangers. The quickest route to stardom is to use your body. How sad is that? Why do they feel this way? And how pervasive is this attitude?

I think as the mother of two daughters, the whole issue really preys on my mind. I try to accentuate what is most important to my girls, to find the beauty within themselves rather than the beauty without. But how strong is my influence compared to societies at large? I have a place at and I'm amazed at how provocative the pictures are and how suggestive so much of the content is. Why is sex so prevalent in this culture? Funny question coming from a romance writer.

But there is a difference. In romance, even erotic romance, sex is a part of the relationship. It isn't used as a means of exploitation, it isn't a cold, emotionless device. What I see with these girls is that they are trying to use their sexuality to gain them the admiration of the opposite sex. They're going to get admiration all right, but not the kind they want. They are setting themselves up to be objects for these guys. Sure, your dance card is going to be plenty full, but does it really make you feel better that you are dating a dirtbag like Joe Francis? Don't these young girls realize they are nothing but toys to these men? Just like that little rubber ball thrown to a dog, they will use these girls until they are chewed up, worn out and useless. They they will be tossed aside.

It seems opposed to everything the women's movement was about. Yes, women fought for the right to express their sexuality, to be an equal participant in the world with men. Somehow I don't think "Girls Gone Wild" was what our mothers and grandmothers were fighting for. I wish these young women would see how much more valuable they are than to be the participants in garbage. I wish they could realize they are worth so much more than the flash of a camera bulb and the money-driven desires of scum like Joe Francis.

I think guys know better. People take advantage where they can, but the whole thing would shrink down if these girls posing in these videos would quit greasing the wheel. The only reason these videos exist is because insecure young girls think this is the way to become valuable. Until they figure out this is nothing but exploitation, Joe Francis will continue to make obscene amounts of money and take horrible advantage of our world's daughters.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hubby Goes Gourmet

Hubby made dinner tonight.  He made a pasta dish in a light broth based on something he had at a restaurant.  It was quite good, in fact it was better than the one he brought home.

When we first started dating, he did all the cooking, inviting me over to his place and fixing dinner.  Things didn’t change after we got married, he still did most of the cooking.  That’s changed over the last five years since I am now a stay-at-home.  I do most of the cooking (I don’t barbecue, I don’t think hubby could handle me touching his grills).  So tonight was a bit of a treat, particularly as he tried to make this meal as low fat and low cholesterol as he could.  To top it off, he made milkshakes for the kids and a frozen coffee confection for us that had a bit of Starbucks Coffee Liqueur in it.

Is it me or is there something incredibly attractive about a man that cooks?  I mean, besides the obvious of having a man do a chore which falls so often to a woman, but I find it fascinating to watch a guy in the kitchen.  What do you think?  And guys, have you ever cooked a meal to impress a woman?  Did it work?

Friday, August 04, 2006

The L.A. Zoo

I took the kids the the L.A. Zoo yesterday. I had a couple of pictures but Blogger doesn't seem interested in loading them today. Anyway, it went okay. My son whined the whole time. His feet hurt. His side hurt. The zoo really smells. There is too much feces (he is convinced animals should be trained to use a toilet). The children from the various daycamps who came to the zoo were too loud and they were disturbing the animals. Blah, Blah, Blah. My 6 year old daughter was in a snit because I wouldn't let her ride in the stroller and we ate at benches rather than a picnic table. The three year old seemed to have a good time. We asked her to talk to the Golden Cheeked Gibbons and she said, "Hi, you losers." A shining moment for me as a parent, particularly with all the other parents looking at me with incredulous expressions.

The girls liked the reptile house the best. They seem to have an affinity for cold blooded creatures. Perhaps I should be worried?

During one section of the zoo, there were these two women taking their kids through the zoo. We were on track for the same exhibits. All the one woman talked about was raising kids. She was a walking "Parenting" magazine. I wanted to smack her. From her companion's expression, I don't think I was alone. Of course while she is blathering on and on, her kids are climbing up towards the animals and being obnoxious.

What I find hard to believe is how shabby this zoo is. I find this beyond comprehension considering its in Los Angeles. I should amend that. The gift shops are very nice as is the entrance where they probably hold their benefits. But the exhibits have a rundown feel to them. I won't even mention the elephants, only to say I think the activists have a valid point. I suppose it is hard to compete when you have the San Diego Zoo about three hours away. Not that L.A. isn't trying. There were at least three major construction sites operating while we were there.

It was a nice break from the day-to-day. I'd done a bunch of writing this week and I felt drained. Our heatwave hasn't returned yet so it was a pleasant day. The zoo was on my list of things to do with the kids this summer and with a month left before school, I felt the need to do something with them besides screaming.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Riding that High Horse

I’m back on my high horse today. I was going to talk about writing, but get on the train to Pompousville seems to suit me better today.

Boy, bag on motherhood and have the world come after you with pitchforks! Helen Kirwan-Taylor, an expat American who lives in Notting Hill has written an article complaining about motherhood. You can read it here. Seems she doesn’t enjoy much of the chores of motherhood and would prefer to go shopping.

Can you blame her?

She finds children’s birthday parties boring and miserable. Having been to a few myself, I get it. If you’ve ever been to Chuck E. Cheese’s, you can understand. Being in a pizza place with hundreds of screaming children is not my idea of a happy Saturday afternoon. Kirwan-Taylor has been vilified for her opinions. She doesn’t like reading bedtime stories or taking her kids to school. When she takes them to kiddy movies, she text messages her friends.
In everyone’s haste to condemn this woman for her lack of maternal instincts, they miss the point. She believes we devote way too much time to our kids, allowing them to take over our lives. Kids are turning out to be “a generation of narcissistic children who cannot function independently.”
As mothers, the current belief is to be enthralled with everything our kids are doing. To say that you don’t is to be a “bad mother.” We think we are inadequate if we find motherhood a drag. I know I do.
That being said, I probably enjoy motherhood more than this woman does. I like going to soccer games and taking my kids to museums and such. But I think she makes a good point about how we expect a mother to be happy with her lot and woe to the mom who has the audacity to say it’s boring.
Kirwan-Taylor talks about how boring it can be talking to other mothers at school because their conversation revolved around their children at all times. Oh, how I know that one. I only talk to a couple of moms when I’m at school, I’d much rather chat with my online friends. There are some mothers at my kids’ school who are there everyday, working in the classroom and volunteering any extra hours they possess to school functions. They are fixtures at the school, devoting their lives to their children.
All admirable, I suppose, but, well, boring. They really have nothing to talk about but school and children. These are women who have graduate degrees. Many of them had careers, put the same kind of slavish devotion into their pre-kid careers that they now put into their children. To be frank, I wonder what their motives are. Do they really enjoy this lifestyle? Are they just as happy to type up the classroom newsletter as they would be to doing something for themselves? Some of them probably do. And bully for them.
I do wonder, however, what happens when their kids hit 12 and 13. At 10 my son would rather I took a backseat in his life. I know I would have died with embarrassment if my mom hung around the school when I was in junior high. Children grow up as they should and lead their own lives. Of course Kirwan-Taylor could be right and we will have a generation of spoiled, pampered, over-indulged young adults who can’t function without their mommy’s assistance.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Wrote A Letter

I wrote a scathing email yesterday.  This isn’t in my usual manner of doing things.  I’m pretty easy going; I don’t get worked up too often unless my kids have done something.  I get worked up plenty for that.

If any of you have cable or satellite and have small children, you probably are familiar with the new PBS station  Sprout.  This station contains programming for the under five set with all sorts of annoying shows like Dragon Tales and Angelina Ballerina.  They are also the home of Thomas and friends, Sagwa, and my own personal hell, Caillou.  

At night they have something called “The Goodnight Show” with this preternaturally perky hostess named Melanie.  She introduces the cartoons, does a craft, dances, tells stories and generally entertains toddlers before they go to bed.  For me, watching her is like hearing nails on a chalkboard.  However, my kids like her and I guess that’s what’s important.  

Earlier in July she told PBS that some videos of her were circulating on the Internet.  They immediately fired her and took the show off the air.  When I heard, I thought it must have been hardcore porno.  What horrible thing was in her past which made PBS dump her so quickly?  Turns out she was in two PSA spoofs seven years ago.  The 37 second videos were making fun of the abstinence campaign.  They were not pornographic and in fact the language wasn’t particularly rough.  I believe it was for a site called which no longer exists.  I haven’t seen them but I hear they aren’t any worse than a skit you would see on “Saturday Night Live.”

Talk about overkill.

“PBS KIDS Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character’s credibility with our audience.”

This is what PBS offered as explanation.  Umm…How in the world does this affect my three year old?  My kid is pretty savvy, she plays computer games, but last time I checked, she didn’t really know her way around a search engine and I doubt she can spell Melanie’s name.  I doubt some silly video the woman did 7 years ago is going to have any impact at all on my daughter.

What is PBS teaching our kids?  Geez, Caillou sets the dog on fire and sells his sister to a traveling band of gypsies, confesses, and the show ends in a group hug.  Angelina accidentally sets a cat loose on the village and it eats Miss Lily, but she acknowledges her mistake and she is forgiven.  Well, maybe not, but the characters in the shows broadcast on Sprout make mistakes all the time, learning a valuable lesson and also learning they can be forgiven.  PBS’ actions are certainly contrary to the programming they show.  

The outrage has been pretty universal among parents.  As I understand it, the Sprouts headquarters has had to set up another phone line just to field the calls on this topic alone.  Letter-writing campaigns are in the work as well as petitions.  I doubt PBS will listen, knowing people will most likely let the controversy die down and move on as usual, but I can’t help but be bothered by the network’s faux-morality on this issue.  And what does it teach our kids?