Sunday, October 29, 2006

Shaken not Stirred

So here's the costume. Hubby was James Bond and I was a martini. I thought it turned out cute; I was pretty pleased. It was a bit hit at the party. I'm not really a party kind of person. The food was good, the drinks were awesome. They had casino tables for black jack, roulette & craps, but to be honest, I don't care much for gambling unless real money is involved. We were home before 10 p.m. Yeah, that's us, a wild and crazy pair.

Yesterday was one of those can't-catch-a-breath days. My daughter's soccer game was at 12:30. It was in the mid-80's yesterday and the girls played hard. Most of them ended up bawling at some point. Diva had a good game although she played half-back the first quarter then ended up forward the next. That was a little too much for her. Going from forward to half-back would have been easier. Anyway, she seems to be back in the swing of things with soccer. I think next year she will have a stellar year.

After soccer was the Village VentureThis is a huge street faire that takes over the downtown area. The booths sell out early every year and the array of artisans are amazing. The food isn't bad. I ate a risotto from a restaurant called Tutti Mangia. It was really tasty but that was pretty much the highlight. I finally realized the faire doesn't change at all from year to year. It is the same vendors offering the same items. Not that it is bad, but I came to the conclusion after going for 10 years, I could probably start skipping it. Part of my reasons for going is the tradition of going, but going with my kids makes it more effort than it is worth. They aren't bad, but they have no real interest in going. I might go next year without my kids. Maybe I will appreciate it more.

It is the last weekend before NaNoWriMo. I haven't given it much thought although in some ways it feels like a vacation. For a period of time each day, I will have to leave my daily routine and disappear into a fictional one. It could be the saving grace for a busy month.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Celtic Mythology

UPDATE: I finished the costume!

Don't you hate when there is a book you want to read but you can't find it in your bookshelf? I wanted to read a Dean Koontz book but I couldn't find it. I have no idea where I put it. So in my pique, I settled on a book about Celtic mythology. Why I picked it up, I'm not sure. Okay, I bought it because it was cheap and had big, pretty pictures. I'm a patsy for cheap and big, pretty pictures. Its short and I knew I had a lot going on right now. Plus, I need to be done with it by November 1st. Can't have a book going during Nano. Anyway, I'm finding it fascinating.

I've never really read much about Celtic mythology. Greek and Roman has always been my interest, but since my writing involves creatures which originated from the Celtic regions, I thought it would help me deepen my characters if I knew more about their origins.

Mythology in any form is a good research tool for any writer. The Hero's Journey is such a common theme, whether it is Odysseus or Mael Duin. The idea of a hero completing a task, bucking the system and paying for it before they can find their HEA is a common one. As a writer, the more I read these types of myths, the easier time I have constructing a story.

I still haven't found my Dean Koontz book but I am glad in a way because I'm enjoying the Celtic stuff so much. Have you been surprised by your interest in a topic? I know we historical writers can be led into strange tangents when we are doing research. Suddenly we are fascinated with the evolution of cheese or the history of tables. Just one of those hazards. But what about other stuff? Have you read a story in a newspaper and thought, gee I need to find out more? Or become involved with a person who is interested in something way out there and found yourself drawn in as well?

Other musings....

If you happen to catch the Pizza Hut commercial for the "Family Meal Deal," keep a look out for the little blonde boy. He's my nephew. Its the commercial where the dad comes into the room speaking very fast and tossing bags of fast food to the family. My nephew is the youngest child and the commercial ends with a second of him on screen eating a cinnamon thing.

Still working on the costume. I've discovered the power of Aleene's® Flexible Stretchable Fabric Glue®. This should save me much swearing and tearing my hair out.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Manic Thursdays

Thursdays are my insane day. I do all of my errands on Thursday. Here's my list for the day:

1. Grocery store
2. Charity drop
3. Thriftstore shopping for lab coat for son's costume
4. Jo-Ann's for last minute supplies for my costume
5. Target shopping
6. The deli for lunchmeat

All must be done before 2:30 when I pick up my kids. At 4 p.m. is soccer then I think I am done for the day except there is still dinner to fix and I have to work on my @#%^^$$#@&* costume (it isn't going well right now). What is frustrating is I used to be able to shop all day. Now, I look at it as a major chore. Maybe its my age, I don't know, but I hate leaving the house and doing the whole shopping thing. Even for stuff for myself, it seems too much an effort.

Oh, gotta go, just realized the kids have nothing for lunch today so I need to stop at the store on my way to school. Sigh...

Anyone else feel the same way?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween Horrors

Forget your vampires, ghouls, ghosts, werewolves and monsters, true Halloween fright is coming up with costumes. My kids were easy: we went to Target during a sale week and they picked costumes. Supernerd is going to be a mad scientist (boy, is that a stretch *g*). His costume is going to be pretty easy to put together. But hubby and I go to a Halloween party every year so I have to think up costumes for the two of us. I'm a writer, I should be imaginative and full of great ideas. I'm not. My brain doesn't work that way. However, I did come up with something clever. DH's costume is simple and he only needs a few accessories. I could buy my costume, I've seen it online. I didn't see it in the costume shops and I don't trust buying something like that online. If it doesn't fit or looks awful, I'm stuck. So I'm going to have to sew it.

I like to sew, but it seems whenever I get the chance to, I'm on a deadline. This costume isn't going to be cheap to make either. I spent a hefty sum at Jo-Ann's (and a long time in line) to get the stuff. So I'm going to spend the next few days sewing. And inventing. I'm using a pattern for the basic part of the costume but I'm going to have to wing it on the rest. And no, I'm not going to tell you what it is, you'll just have to see it. I'll post a picture next week.

Is Halloween giving anyone else fits yet?

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Life of a Diva

Yesterday the Diva's dad took her to soccer practice. This is unusual in a couple of respects, one, her father rarely has the opportunity and two, he took her on the back of his Vespa scooter. I guess she was in her element, the center of attention, the object of envy for her teammates.

This child was born a diva. I'm not sure how she got this way. I may be a lot of things, but diva is not one of them. I remember back in preschool when I'd go to pick her up. She was rarely in her classroom because one of the teachers was carrying her around. The child has a magnetism which draws others. Of course, she displays none of this when she is at home so I'm always amazed when I got to school and hear people talk about her. Everyone knows her.

But she is not without an agenda. She is trying to be a vegetarian. One reason is because she doesn't like meat although there are exceptions. At six, I'm not real keen on her skipping the protein. Second, she doesn't like the thought of hurting animals. Today I bought her a pair of these boots: She thinks they are quite the thing. However, she her expression turned serious and she asked me if any animals were harmed in the making of these boots. Yeah...Right, I'm going to buy her nice leather boots, think again. I told her know and her relief was immediate. I have a budding PETA member on my hands.

She is an interesting mix. Her concern for animals surprised me; we aren't particularly into animals in this house. I wonder what she will come up with next.

Writing Stuff...

I've issued a writing challenge over at
Villa In Tuscany so if you are looking for a writing motivation, check it out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Stephanie tagged me with book meme:

1. One book that changed your life: House of a Thousand Lanterns by Victoria Holt. It was the first romance I ever read and it inspired me to write.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Hmmm, there are a lot of these. I know I've read Jane Eyre more than once and The Grapes of Wrath a few times. Those are the books I'm positive I read cover to cover. I'm much more likely to read bits and pieces over and over again.

3. One book you'd want on a deserted island: The Oxford Companion to United States History. That would keep me busy for awhile.

4. One book that made you laugh: Bridget Jones' Diary. I laughed so hard in that book.

5. One book that made you cry: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Geez, that book was sad.

6. One book you wish you'd written: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. While I don't think it is the best of the series, I'm amazed at the level of imagination J.K. Rowling displays. The money would be nice too.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Anything with the words "by William Faulkner" on the book cover. Can't stand his writing and it was made worse by sophomore English class.

8. One book you're currently reading: Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson.

I'm not going to tag anyone but if you'd like, put your answers in the comments.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I love Autumn. I love the change in temperatures, the colors of the leaves, the holidays. But what I love most is pumpkin. I love its color. I love the many things you can do with it. I counted at least five cans of pumpkin in my pantry. I've been drinking
Pumpkin Ale, got some pumpkin spice white-chocolate covered pretzel sticks, been burning pumpkin spice candles and even bought pumpkin patch perfume oil from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

My love affair with this squash has been around as long as I can remember. As a kid I'd eat pumpkin pie for every meal. In those days I was always sick and woefully underweight so my mom gave me anything I wanted to eat. But as I aged, my love of pumpkin only grew. Maybe it is the warm color, subtler than orange, representing the homecoming feel of the season. Perhaps it is the fact it blends so well with strong spices, the mellowness of the pumpkin tempering their overwhelming taste. I'm not sure exactly, I just know the pumpkin represents my joy of the season.

What about you? Do you have an object or food which represents a season to you? As you can see, the pumpkin has gone beyond being a food item and turned into a personal icon. What is your icon?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Reading Like its the End of the World

In a sense, it is, at least until December. Part of my plans for Nano include a reading drought. Time spent on reading could be spent on writing. Everything I've been reading, however, has been spooky. There needs to be some scary element to the story. I suppose it is fitting being that it is October, the month of monsters and mayhem. Do the seasons influence your reading choices? Do you like light books during the summer and deeper stuff in winter? Or does it make any difference to you whatsoever?

Friday, October 13, 2006


I signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time. I am searching for something to give me a charge in my writing and I'm hoping it helps. I've never attempted it because my Novembers are always so busy, but the rest of the months of the year are booking up just as badly, so I might as well dive in when there is a big support system. I know Nienke is participating in the madness. Anyone else? If I can write 50K words in a month, that will complete my novel. I want this thing done so I can move on to something else. My user name is Renered1 if you look for me over at NaNoWriMo.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Vacation Lowlights

How in the world could a trip to Hawaii have lowlights? Am I nuts? None of these ruined my trip, but they did put a damper on things.

The biggest annoyance was illness. I got so damn sick. The first day I was there I had a sore throat, by the next, it was a full blown cold. I hate that. In Hawaii you can still buy Sudaphed over the counter (can't in California, it is a prime ingredient for meth) and I lived on the stuff. Everytime I get on a plane, I get sick. Last time I went to Hawaii I was 6 months pregnant and I got sick. It worse plus I couldn't take anything. I wasn't as sick this time and I could load up on drugs. But if that wasn't enough, the monthly curse decided to make an early appearance...By two weeks. Of course I wasn't prepared plus it makes me bitchy.

Second was the rental car. We had a piece of crap Caravan. Not that the Caravan is particularly bad as minivans go, but this poor car had been beaten. But that wasn't the worse part. Ms. College-educated paralegal apparently cannot read a rental car contract. Last time I rented a car, the deal was you returned it with a full tank or they charged you. Apparently that isn't the way it is done at Dollar. I guess I pre-paid for a tank of gas without realizing it. Its worse because we were in a rush to get to the airport and we sat in line to fill up forever. When we dropped the car off the lady asked why we filled the tank. Needless to say, I felt like an idiot. Didn't help hubby has been rubbing it in. When I die, it will be the epitaph on my tombstone.

Did I mention the prices??? Okay, I live in California where things are expensive, so for me to be shocked by the prices, it tells you something. What I find most offensive is the wine prices in the restaurants. I know, I'm a Californian, I'm spoiled by wine prices. But if I went into the grocery store in Hawaii, the wine prices were slightly higher than home. Go into a restaurant and you'd be lucky to get a bottle of Ripple for less than $15. Wines I could easily get for $8 a bottle are $25 in the restaurant. Needless to say, I didn't buy any. The food in the restaurants are outrageous. The one really nice dinner we had came with a $300 price tag. This was for a family of 5, two of whom ordered something from the children's menu (which, by the way, didn't exist, it is just an offering the server tells you about). Groceries are high, significantly high. Yes, they are an island and it is harder to get stuff, but the mark up is still way too high. It costs as much for a pineapple there as it does here.

The last lowlight is one I'm dealing with now. Sunburn. I was the only one to get burned and I used SPF 60 while I was outside. But my back and shoulders fried. Yesterday in the shower the skin started sloughing off. Yuck. For several days it hurt to wear anything on my shoulders. I'm fine now. The kids ended up with awesome tans although they were greased up pretty good.

One more thing, I got homesick, can you believe that? After 5 days I was ready to come home. I missed chores. When I got home, I dove into housecleaning like a starving man after food. I think I need my head examined.

You know, Blogger is really ticking me off. It isn't posting photos at all. Tells me it did, but as you can see, there aren't any pictures. Grouse, grouse, grouse.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Vacation Highlights

Sorry, last week was spent trying to catch up with everything and settling back into a routine.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about my vacation because we pretty much did the same thing everyday. I never did get used to the time change so I was generally up around 5 a.m. everyday. Ugh. For the most part we were at the beach by 9 a.m. We went to two; the small cove by our condo and a beach up the road. The beach by our condo had no waves and great snorkeling. Hubby and I pretty much snorkled everyday we went to the beach. We saw all kinds of fish, it was great. The kids, as you could see from the photos, dug in the sand. We’d come home around 11 a.m. for lunch and to spend the most intense sun hours indoors. Then around 2 or 3 we’d head for the beach again.

We did touristy stuff on one day. I’ve done all the touristy stuff before so we skipped the usual like the volcanoes and the ancient sites. We went to a botanical garden and looked at some waterfalls. The problem with the Big Island is that, well, it’s big. In order to get to the other side of the island, you can count on a two hour car ride. You can only travel the perimeter of the island. There is a road which crosses through the middle but it is banned for rental cars. It crosses Mauna Kea and is basically a dirt road which twists around the volcano. Anyway, the thought of spending that much time in a car with my kids pretty much kept our touring to a minimum.

We only ate out three times. Going out to eat with my kids doesn’t appeal to me. We went to Merriman's which is probably my favorite restaurant. Thing slept through most of the meal which made it that much easier to get through the meal. Supernerd ate more than I did and Diva demolished the dessert. We also ate at Big Island Steak House. They were pretty good. Supernerd is an eating machine. Again, Thing slept through a big part of dinner. For the rest of the time, we at the condo. Prices in Hawaii are so outrageous, going out to dinner with a family of five would be crippling. For the most part, my kids were happy with pineapple and eggs for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and a variety of other stuff for dinner.

That is the highlights of my trip. I’ll tell you about the lowlights tomorrow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vacation Photos

After spending a day fighting with blogger to load photos, I went ahead and loaded them at Flickr. Here is the link to see them: Hawaii Photos, plus I have them on the sidebar.

Vacations are so hectic. My inlaws hired a limo to take us to the airport and pick us up. I'm converted. We had to be at the airport by 7 a.m., which meant we needed to leave our house by 5:30 in case we hit traffic. Ugh...I set my alarm for 4:15. Anyway, we got to the airport without incident and actually got there early. However, LAX is a totally miserable place to be. I'd managed to get all of us packed into 5 suitcases which had to be checked. United lets you print your boarding passes at home, which I did, but it does nothing to speed you up to check your bags. If you are willing to spend $2 a bag, they have curbside check in. BTW, that does not include gratuity. So we got to stand in a long line with all of our luggage and kids. Even with the check in the night before, we still had to check in anyway. So we get that done and we have to go outside the terminal and come back in through another door to go through the TSA checkpoint. You wanna have some fun? Go through this with your kids. They make you hold your own boarding pass, even if you are three. Thing had to hold her own pass. And we had to take off our shoes. I was smart and wore flip flops. But it is a major pain in the butt. Then we got to sit in the terminal for an hour waiting to board. We spent a screaming fortune on food. The airport has its own methods of terrorism.

The flight going over wasn't a nightmare although it wasn't particularly pleasant either. My son sat with a couple and their baby. His dad sat across the aisle from him. Thing sat between us (I had the window) and Diva sat behind me. Thing was obnoxious. I prayed she'd sleep but no such luck. Diva conked out, but only after spending the first half of the flight talking her seatmate's ear off. We had no leg room. I was so stiff when I got off that plane.

I'll go more into the good stuff tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm Home

So, I avoided the Internet as much as I could although I did use it to read the news and watch for any fantabulous emails from desperate publishers eager to publish my prose. Yeah, well, didn't have to worry too much over that.

Anyway, it is going to take me a week to catch up. I will be posting about my trip and going through my blogroll. I did have a marvelous time and I feel the need to start writing big time, I mean on a Nora Roberts level so I can afford to buy me a multi-million dollar mansion on the shores of the Kohala coast.