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Monday, January 31, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Lost Keys

Originally I was going to share with you the snowman I made this weekend, but I haven't downloaded the pics and I'm too lazy to go scouring the house for the USB cord, so it'll just have to wait. 

I pride myself on very few things, but one of them is I never have to go in search of my car keys.  I always put them in my purse as soon as I'm done using them so I always know exactly where to look.

Well, there was that one time I slipped in the driveway at work and my office keys fell out of my purse without my realizing it.  There was a major panic the next day, and of course it had snowed like six inches in the interim.  What's worse is that my office keys are attached to a little canister of pepper spray so I was afraid Bossman would hit it with the snow blower and accidentally inundate himself with the pepper spray.

That had a happy ending, though. He saw the keys put them in the office and I collected them on Monday morning.

But a few years back, I was at work and could not find my car keys for anything.  I tore my purse apart, looked all over the office, my pockets, everywhere.  Could not find them anywhere.  I finally decided I'd go look in the car before I called my husband to give him the bad news.  Replacing those suckers is expensive...or so I've heard.  I've never actually lost them, remember?

I get to my car and I'm STUNNED.  I left them in the ignition...and the car had been RUNNING for the last 3 hours. One of my most mockable moments, I tell you.   Can you top it?

Be sure to swing by tomorrow I've got a box of goodies to give away!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Freaking Coolness

I recently regaled you with inventions I'd like to see. I think I need to have a chat with this guy. While trying to find a way to listen to Science Friday on NPR online, I stumbled across this video at I won't pretend to understand exactly what it takes to make this work, but it's a three dimensional PRINTER and it's FREAKING COOL.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Love It

Just sharing a site that has sooo many cool ideas.  It's not writing-related, but we all need to step away from the keyboard sometimes, don't we?

Some of my favorite posts I've stumbled across: 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Write Like a Sales Man

I talk to a lot of salesmen every day.  Every fund company, every insurance company, and even referral service companies have representatives calling the office looking to woo business out of us. 

Not all salesmen are created equal, though.

I had one recently that was brand-spanking new.  Nice guy, but he hemmed and hawed and just didn't have a handle on the facts yet. 

I  also had a pro call in.  And he was smoooooth I tell you.  I pride myself on being able to weed out the sales guys, from the people we want to talk to.  It's like filtering through the slush, just on a smaller scale.  A lot of the things that will get you noticed in the slush pile will also get you noticed as a salesman...and it's not always in a good way.

Here's Vicki Rocho's Guide to Writing Like a Salesman

The number one thing that tips me off that I've got a telemarketer on the line is all the noise in the background.  You can hear a hundred other people yapping away in the background.  

This is an awful lot like the unfocused MS, don't you think?  Too many unnecessary characters doing boring/useless things, endless descriptions, or pointless dialogue going on in your story.

Another thing that tips me off is (duh) the info dump.  Rookie salesmen will tell me their name, where they're calling from, and why they're calling.  I appreciate their honesty and cooperation because it makes it so much easier to hang up on them.  

Readers will do the same thing with your story.  Give them too much information up front and they have no reason to read on. Less is more!

Real salesmen only give enough information to keep you on the phone. The pro I had?  His voice was strong, confident.  He told me his name (first only) and asked for my boss by his first name, as if they were buddies.  

If this were your MS -- you'd be starting strong, and leaving questions unanswered.

I asked if I could take a message.  He said he'd try back later.  Real Salesmen never leave a message.  They want to maintain control.  

Your readers are going to have questions, but you want to leave some of them unanswered or you run the risk of losing them.

My new sales guy this week? The umms and aahhs ratted him out.  He's full of enthusiasm, but needs more training and experience to get the job done.

This is the equivalent of a newbie writer (or the first draft).  Full of big ideas and enthusiasm, but the writer hasn't learned the ropes yet (or alternatively, the MS hasn't been edited).  Lots of potential, just needs more work.

And there you have it...if you want to be picked out of the slush pile, you have to write like a salesman!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gotta Get This Out There...

I've got an announcement to make.  


I totally do.  I've not been around to any of your blogs in way too long...and worse than that I'm ASHAMED at how many emails have stacked up.

I wish I had an excuse.  But I don't. I've not been sick, I've not been traveling.  I HAVE been writing, but not so much I can use it as my get-out-of-jail-free card.  

Le sigh.

Please don't take it personally. If it's any consolation, my family isn't hearing from me much either. LOL.

I'll get my rear back in gear sooner or later, promise.

Just a reminder that Shannon The Fabulous has a new writing sample up for critique.  I'll donate something of mine one of these days, I suppose.  To see what's up,  CLICK HERE

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Once again, I've got more ideas than I have time to develop you get random quotes from my children...
(Just as a point of reference, Coders was completely non-verbal until he was 3.  He's come a long way in 4 years)

C: These lips are out of service today.
Me: Your lips are out of service?
C: Nooo.  The LIFTS are out of service [bus service--it was snowing]
Me: Oh.

C: We need to get rid of the girl
Me: ??
C: We need to sell her.
Me: Who do we need to sell?
C: That girl - my sister. We need to make a garage sale and sell her.
Me (trying not to laugh)
C: But not for a dollar.  Her price should be a penny.
Me: Sorry, we can't sell your sister.

Back when the flu swept through the house, I was tucking Coders into bed.  I grimaced when my stomach clenched.  He noticed:

C: Are you getting the flu?
Me: Yes, my belly hurts
*lean in to kiss him goodnight*
*pulls away*
C: Don't get any symptoms on me!

Coders was in the bath tub.  Kbear came in to go potty.  He asks why she's there.  
Me: She has to pee.
C: *gasp* You used a bathroom word.
Me: Yes.  I used a bathroom word.  How would you say it?
C: I would say the yellow water comes from the hangy thing

Coders is sitting next to me trying to draw an Otis Elevator in a six floor Target store on his MagnaDoodle. (oddly specific don't you think?) 
He is frustrated that he can't do it as well as he'd like.  He erases the picture for the umpteenth time and starts over. I glance down and he's drawn "The Bird"...yes, a picture of a hand with the middle finger extended.  I say, "Cody!" and he erases it super-quick and puts a hand over my mouth so I can't tell anyone what he did.

I tried to talk to him about it later.  He got very uncomfortable, squirming, not looking at me, then I see him fumble with his fingers until he had his middle finger extended, but he points it down and says, "this means shut down".  So he thought flipping someone the bird = 'shut up'.

I didn't correct him.

C: JCPenny at Greenbriar Mall in Chesapeake Virginia is an upside down trapezoid

The lovely Miss Shannon has a new writing sample up for critique.  It's not mine (not that I'd tell you if it was - defeats the purpose of being anonymous), but hop over and see what you think.  CLICK ME CLICK ME

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MUST share!

If you're still working your way through Alex's Top 10 Music Blogfest, my post is HERE .  If you're not, my post is conveniently located two lines below. 

For an intelligent woman, I'm not that bright.  No, really.  I seem to have a one-dimensional relationship with words.  When I read them or hear them in a conversation, I know to what they refer.  But when it's my turn to describe a particular tree, vehicle, whatever, I come up empty.  

Words like watchamacallit, dohickey and thingamabob can only take you so far.  

This weekend I was typing along trying to remember what a specific part of a chair was called.  My character needed to sit down, but this particular chair needed to hint at the personality of the other character, so I couldn't just say he pulled out a chair and sat down, I needed to describe the special aspects of the chair to highlight (in a subtle way) the things that made the other character special.  And I didn't want to resort to calling it "that back thingy."

So I Googled "Parts of a Chair" and hit the jackpot, my friends. Many of you may already know about this resource but I got so excited, I totally forgot about the scene in my WIP.

Allow me to introduce you to the Visual Dictionary of Merriam-Webster.  This is so freaking cool, it is exactly what I need when I'm looking to name some part of a thing.

I don't know much about plants at all, so this section will come in handy eventually.

I clicked on this bit about trains because I had no idea there were so many different types.  

I could go on and on, but really I think you should go explore for yourself.

I hope you find this site as useful as I do! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Top 10 Music Blogfest

Thanks to Alex for organizing this blogfest.  Last time I looked, there were over 100're SOOOO going to need the list so I'm gonna be nice and put a link back right up top -- HERE -- to  be precise

I imposed a rule on myself when selecting songs for this list. I limited myself to just one song per band/artist.  Otherwise you'd see about 40 songs on  here from 2 bands.  

Without further ado and in no particular order:

Depeche Mode

I copied the lyrics down and had it on my bedroom wall, in my locker, and inside just about every notebook cover I owned from 8th grade through my senior year.

I Turn My Camera On 
Rock Kills Kid

I can't say I've ever heard another song by this band, but I LOVE this one.

The Crawl 
Spirit of the West

I gotta thank Pandora for introducing me to this one.  LOVE it. I'd love to see them live. I bet it's a good time.

Hands All Over
Maroon 5

I could have put more than a dozen of their songs, but we'll stick with one from their current album...and look! Eye candy for the guys -->

Young Dubliners

Another Pandora find. *sigh* Love this one so so much.

Large Dark Aardvark Song 
Allen Sherman

I remember listening to this as a kid.  It always made me laugh and probably says a lot about my sense of humor.  I tried to find a link on Youtube to share, but couldn't find one.  

Follow Me 
Uncle Kracker

Never thought I was an Uncle Kracker fan but it turns out I like several of their songs.  This is at the top of that list.

Peter Pumpkinhead 

Ahhhh, this one takes me back to Vegas and dating hubbers.  I ALWAYS crank this one up so no one can hear me singing along.

9 in the Afternoon
Panic! At the Disco

Daughterling added a few songs to my MP3 cuz I was getting sick of the ones I had.  This was one of the treasures.

Jack Johnson

I discovered Jack Johnson on Pandora, too. I love so many of his songs. GREAT voice.  *swoon*

Everything You Want
 Vertical Horizon

It's just love love love here.

I think "extremely eclectic" is the only way to sum my list up.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see how many of your lists I can get to today.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Move Along, Move Along...

Sorry to lure you in and not deliver, but I got nothing today. 

I'm going to try to finish visiting the Significant Other Blogfest (my entry is below....just keep scrolling), and THEN I'm going to try and catch up with my email (ugh).

Hope you make the most of the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

How Old?

If you're looking for the Significant Other Blogfest, CLICK HERE

I read an article a year or so back where a panel of parents from all walks of life discussed the appropriate ages for certain activities and privileges.  I thought it would be interesting to see where we all stood on some of these.

  • Let your child spend the night at a friend's house?
  • Date?
  • Go to the mall without you? 
  • Go to the movies (again, without you)?
  • Walk to school/friend's house alone?
  • Get a cell phone?
  • Get their own email address?


Because Blogger posted this prematurely (and I deleted the original) I'm pasting in a comment Al from Publish or Perish left before I *fixed* everything so he can still be part of the conversation:

All these depend on the child and the individual circumstances.
My eldest spent the night at a friend's house when she was 4. But we knew the parents really well.
Hmmm, the youngest any of my girls went on a 'date' was 15 (they weren't interested before then)
Go to the mall with friends, about 10-11?
Movies about the same 10-11 again with friends
Walk to a friends house alone the alone is the issue, depends where in the small towns we used to live in 9-10. Younger Kids are too easily distracted to cross roads on their own.
I see cell phones as dangerous in terms of radiation (which is a whole other issue) so when they can pay for their own. But we always had a spare phone they could take when they were going somewhere.
They all got their own email addresses in elementary school.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Significant Other Blogfest

Click HERE to see a list of participants

A big thanks to DL and Talli for hosting this blogfest. When I first read about it, I thought "Whoa! That's cool!" But the thought of letting those close to me a chance to dish the dirt on me -- unedited?  PANICSVILLE.

Obviously, I got over it.  Truth be told, I was ready to censor if I had to. LOL.  But all I did was fix a few capital letters, honest.  

From my husband, Jeff:
My wife says I have to write about her.  Right now she is reading to her son. Her computer sits close along with a notepad.  Later she can type away when the kids are in bed and the house is silent... some days it's hard for her to wait (with all those ideas swirling around her head). Vicki is patient, kind, and determined. A friendly person to be around... I hope I have written well.
(current husband)

From my daughter, Kiersten:
I think the best thing is that my mom gets to have an opportunity to publish her book. I bet her book's going to be great.

I don't like how my mom is usually always on her computer, writing her book she hopes to publish. Of course I'm happy for her, but I feel rejected when she only writes her book for almost the whole night. -Kiersten (9)

Coders (7) would have just said "Puppy" so I didn't ask him anything.  I did, however, ask Court (15).  I broached the subject via text message.  She meandered to the computer a few minutes later so I (foolishly) thought she was writing.  Our exchange went something like this:

Me: So, will you write something for me?
C: No.
Me: Please?
C: No.
Me: (bats eyelashes)
C: You won't like what I have to say.
Me: If I don't like it, I won't post it.
C: Then what's the point of me writing it?
Me: Because my thresh hold of dislike is higher than you think it is.
C: (looks confused)
Me: Kiersten said she feels rejected....
C: (rolls eyes)
Me: What would you say? Isn't there something you'd like to say?
C: 'Shut up mother I don't freaking care'
Me: Oh! I can take dictation (opens up email) What was that again?
C: Shut. Up. Mother. I. Don't. Freaking. Care.
Me: How do you spell that?
C: F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G.  And it should be in all caps.
Me: Oh.  I spelled it 'frikking'
(awkward silence)
Me: Anything else you'd like to add?
C: No.
Me: (typing conversation into blogger) HEY!  You shouldn't be telling your mother to shut up.  How about some respect?

So there you have it, folks.  A sneak peek into the insanity of the Rocho household. 

Click HERE to see a list of participants

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mother Nature's First Draft

It's doggone cold out there today. Tomorrow too.  I'm not going to rant and rave about how much I dislike winter, though.  Nope, I'm just using the cold as a segue way into snow.

For the record, I'm not much of a fan of snow either, but that's really beside the point.  The point is I recently had the opportunity while sitting in my car to inspect the snow that insisted on falling from the sky.  Perfect little crystals splayed themselves across my wind shield.

And that's when I noticed.

The vast majority of the snowflakes were mutants.  Missing an arm or leg, frozen at an awkward angle with another snowflake.  Most were far from perfect.

There were a few perfect ones, and they were stunning.

Ever the fan of odd analogies, let me connect the dots for you and make this a writing thing.

Those snowflakes are our words and our manuscripts. 

Not every word has to be perfect. Mother Nature isn't perfect, but she's persistent, and so should we be.   

It's great to strive for perfection, but sometimes we just need to push forward and write those deformed words down.  You can dress them up later (like making a snowman), but you can't do anything unless you have to have something to do it to.

I wish for all of you to write like a blizzard!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Battery Back Up

So this weekend, I saw a local home improvement store's advertisement on TV.  I usually don't pay any attention to these things, bur for some reason I noted that Energizer had been manufacturing batteries since 1905 and that got me thinking...

How the heck long have batteries been around?

I did some very cursory research, and discovered that some scientist invented the lead acid battery (popularly used as car batteries today) in 1859.  That got me thinking even MORE.

What would batteries have been used for in the late 1800's?  Flashlights weren't invented until 1902.  The first radio broadcast was 1900 or 1906 (I found conflicting sources). I find it hard to think it was just a scientist dabbling in the lab.  Surely there were applications for batteries, but I'm at a loss to think what they would have been.

So, do any of you super-scholarly people have any suggestions?  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

10 Things I'd Love To See

So, do you think you're up to another field trip through the dark cavernous reaches of my mind?  Here are 10 inventions/services/things I'd love to see:

1- A purse with a built in light (LED?) so you can see to the bottom.  'Nuf said.

2-Built-in blinds for car windshields.  I've been harping on this one for decades.  I hate those bulky cardboard sun screens.  The 'collapsible' wire-edged ones are a little better, but they're still sometimes a struggle to twist/turn back to it's original size.  I propose auto manufacturers build a sun screen into the side beam of the car at the edge of the windshield.  You'd simply pull it across (ooo or better yet, remote control!) like a sideways movie screen or window shade.

3-Solar powered Christmas lights.  I have icicle lights around my deck.  However, I have to use a huge extension cord because I only have one outlet outside.  BUT, if I had solar-powered Christmas lights I could put the charging stations wherever and plug lights into it.  I haven't checked, they may actually already exist (probably really expensive, though)

4-I don't wear heels, but I would buy shoes like this just because they'd be so COOL!  I'd love to see them with interchangeable heels.  Maybe one would be a metallic stiletto spike and another would be a chunky heel.  If they can make golf shoes with removable spikes, surely they can make shoes with removable heels.  I'd also love it if the heels could be different heights.  Don't know if that's possible, but it'd be awesome!

5-PLEASE, for the love of GOD, can't we have some sort of standardization for power / USB cords and connectors amongst our electronic devices?  I know that laptops, cell phones, and iPods take different levels of current, so we'll never get down to just ONE cord, but certainly they can make it so all phone cords are interchangeable and all laptop cords are interchangeable, etc.  Are you with me?

6-I'd like to see cable TV go ala carte. Let me order the flipping channels I WANT instead of picking and choosing from their packages.  Yes, this would probably mean no one would subscribe to CSPAN or Home Shopping, but isn't that what the open market is all about? Alternatively, they could charge me for what I actually watch (kinda like cell phones charging by the minute).  OR they could give me the option to pay for X hours a month and when I exceed that they cut me off.  Hubs probably wouldn't let me go for this option because he'd live in fear of exceeding his minutes during the quadruple overtime of some game. lol

7-This will never happen, I just love the idea.  I want a refill station for laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, etc. I would bring my plastic containers back into the store and just refill.  I love thinking how many stupid plastic containers we could save!

8-Electric / hybrid cars are all the rage.  Why haven't I seen the same technology in lawn care equipment?  Where is the hybrid riding lawn mower?  The battery powered snow blower and weed wacker?

9-I would LOVE the equipment at the gym to have a USB thumbdrive thingy where you could automatically track your workout details.  I would also LOVE it if there were a website where you could go and program your workout at home - save it to the thumbdrive and the machine would automatically run it once you plugged it into the machine.  I'm thinking about the cardio machines, but how cool would it be if the weight machines would also track how much weight you lifted and how many reps you did?  Of course the website would also graph your progress.

10-I would love to have a little sand dispenser attached to the bumper of my car for winter.  If you don't live in a cold/ice/snow region, let me tell you that intersections are generally the most hazardous.  I stopped at a traffic signal one winter and couldn't get any traction to get moving again once the light changed.  So frustrating/humiliating.  But if I'd had a little sand dispenser on the bumper, I could've pushed a button and it would have squirted a bit in front of the tires...instant traction.  Alternatively, how about redirecting some of the heater's hot air toward the pavement in front to melt the snow / ice while you're waiting for the light to change?  It'd make me happy...

What things would YOU like to see?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

I've mentioned  before that we didn't have much money when I was growing up.  As a result, I always know how much cash I have at any given time.  Right now, I have NO cash because I spent it all on Rose Cooper's Gossip in the Girl's Room the other night.  As luck would have it I had exactly the right amount in my wallet.  Was that fate or what?

Despite knowing precisely how much money I have, I suffer from the fear of not having enough to pay for something.  I have recurring nightmares about getting up the register and not having enough to pay for my purchase.  This is one reason why I love debit cards!  When I used to go shopping, I never knew how much cash to take out. I wanted to have enough, but if I took too much I ended up spending it on stupid stuff. Now that I have a debit card, I always know I've got plenty--and if I don't buy anything I don't have that extra $20 bill mocking me from the confines of my purse.

Several years ago (before the debit card became ubiquitous), I had a purse that made money.


I first noticed it before a trip to McDonald's for lunch.  I dug through my purse and counted my cash, then hopped in the car.  I knew to the penny how much I had.  But when I got to the register to pay, I had an extra $5 bill. I was pleased, but puzzled.

After that incident, I discovered it happening all the time.  I would count my cash before going into a store, and then when I got to the register there would be anywhere from $1 to $5 extra.

I don't carry a lot of crap in my purse.  It drives me crazy if I can't find what I'm looking for. So, I carry a small purse and only keep the essentials:  A wallet with my credit/debit cards and driver's license, my car keys and whatever cash I have (neatly folded - bills all facing the same direction and sorted by denomination).  So the chances of me missing anything are pretty slim.

Eventually, I had to get rid of that purse.  And since then, I haven't found extra money once.  I can't explain what was happening, but I certainly enjoyed it while it lasted!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another Award

This IS a record, my friends.  I received this beee-oooo-teee-ful award from the gracious and talented Angela Felsted a mere five days ago. I make no promises to keep this re-posting pace up throughout the year, but we'll just take it one month / award at a time, k?

If you've not had the pleasure of meeting Angela at My Poetry & Prose Place, do yourselves a favor and click on over.  You can find a bit of of everything over there. My favorites are the Dictionary of Bio-Signs, but there's poetry, contests, and other fun and informational posts.

I'm supposed to share seven things about me.  Lemme think...
  • I have a really bad habit of crossing my ankles. I do it all the time (even when I'm asleep), to the point I worry I'm going to cut the circulation off in my feet.
  • I have an oval birthmark on my arm, but I forget it's there.
  • I shave said birthmark because the hair grows in thicker and longer.  It's like a patch of fur. Or it used to be. I haven't let it grow in so long I really don't know anymore.
  • My bedroom walls are orange.  Random enough?
  • When I was a teenager, I read a book about astral projection (fiction) and thought it was the coolest thing, so I tried to do it for months afterward.
  • I don't drink coffee or tea or beer.  Mostly a water/milk/soda girl.
  • Speaking of which, do you remember Laverne & Shirley (did I just date myself?) I put milk in my Pepsi just like Laverne and it wasn't awful!  It tastes a little bit like an ice cream float. I haven't done this since I was a teen, though.

Now, I'm supposed to pass this off to fifteen people....but (mournful sigh) how do I do that?  Sure I've got enough blogger buds to choose from but inevitably a lot of ya are going to get left out and I don't want to do that to anyone. So let's be completely random.  If you have NOT eaten breakfast yet today, this award is yours.  Enjoy. (and go eat something, would ya?)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Keeping those Resolutions

Technically posting awards in a timely fashion wasn't one of my resolutions, but it's a good goal, don't ya think?  I'm normally the Queen of Award Hoarding, so I'm pretty pleased that I managed to share this a mere 10 days after receiving it. I think that's a record for me. 

Anyway, the oh-so-charming Jules at Trying to Get Over the Rainbow bestowed upon me this beauty:

I love this award. It's so colorful and look at all those happy faces.  It makes me smile just looking at it!  I don't think this one came with any rules or instructions so let's keep it simple.  If I have ever made you laugh, I am passing this award on to YOU.  Take it and display it proudly.  

And while you're at it, click over and get to know Jules.  Tell her I sent ya.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What Would You Do?

You're in a gift shop.  The only clerk on duty has just stepped into the back room.  You wait at the register, waiting for her to return.  You look down and see a hundred dollar bill on the floor.  There are no customers in the shop.  

Do you keep it?

Now suppose someone dashes into the shop, frantic.  Asking if anyone had turned in a hundred dollar bill.  

Do you hand it over?

Tell me what you would do and your reasoning. 
Now tell me what your main character would do.

Any similarities?

The incredible Miss Shannon has a new anonymous critique volunteer up.  Click HERE to check it out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The War Within

I've been doing my best to make smarter food choices this year. I do a great job until about 8:00 every night -- that's when the munchies set in.  

That's also when the war starts.  It goes something like this:
(H = my head; it demands healthy               S = my stomach; it wants num nums)

S: I'm hungry
H: No, you're not. You're bored.
S: No, I'm hungry.  What do we have to eat?
H: There's a banana...
S: I don't want a banana. Is there any ice cream left?
H: No.  No ice cream.  You'll put too much magic shell on it and probably whipped cream
S: We have whipped cream?
H: No! No ice cream. No whipped cream.
S: Well, no banana.
H: How about some popcorn?
S: Can I put butter and caramel sauce on it?
H: No!  Just popcorn.  But you can have a Diet Coke.
S: I don't want plain popcorn. Hey!  How about pretzels?
H: Sure. As long as you measure out a proper serving...
S: Do we still have that melting chocolate for candies?
H: Yeah....but you're NOT putting chocolate on the pretzels. 
S: harumph
H: Hey - I think we have oranges
S: No. They're a pain to peel
H: I'll peel it.  Remember how sweet and juicy that was the other night?  It was better than candy
S: hahahahaha.  Nothing is better than candy.
H: So, whaddya say?  Shall I get the orange?
S: No. I don't want a freaking orange. I want something YUMMY.
H: It is yummy.  And it's good for you.  
S: !!!!
H: !!!!
BOTH: Ahhh, f@&! it.

If your resolution was to eat healthier, how are you doing?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Deal with the Universe

I scheduled this the other night and somehow blogger decided to post it right away. Sorry for the confusion if any of you stumbled across it prematurely. Let's give it another shot:

I've been thinking about my Deal with the Universe lately.  You know, what I'm promising to do when I get an agent or when my book sells.  Yeah, it's a little premature since I'm still writing the damn thing, but I'm envisioning a series of deals to lure me through the whole painful process:

When I finish my book, I will ....
When I get an agent, I will....
When my book sells, I will....
When my book sells X copies, I will....

It's usually something outrageous that will somehow tempt the Fates to call my bluff.  I'm not sure what my deal is going to be yet. I'm having trouble of thinking of anything big enough, so I'm inviting you to share YOUR deal with the universe and maybe it will inspire me.  Or you can leave a dare and maybe I'll accept the challenge.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Signs of Aging

I want you to know that I've had this post in my drafts for a couple weeks now.  I was going to post it last week but then the Honorable Peter McKay did his aging post here and so I put mine off for a bit.  But a week is an eternity in internet time, so I've dusted it off and put it out there, just for you.

As I've said countless times, especially on my big Four Oh birthday post, I'm not all that concerned about aging.  It's pretty much inevitable and I think it's delusional of me to fight it kicking and screaming when it's gonna happen whether I want it to or not.  It's kinda like childbirth in that way.  One way or another, that baby IS coming out and there's not a whole heckuva lot you can do about it. 

But turning 40 has brought some new challenges and I think it's only fair to warn you youngsters what lies ahead.  Therefore, I present:

Vicki Rocho's Guide to Aging

A lot of people think gray hair and wrinkles is what makes you old.  I disagree.  My delightful husband found my first gray hair when I was just a pup of 28.  I certainly wasn't old then.  I've also been finding wrinkles since sometime after my 9 year old was born.  These aren't your typical wrinkles though...they're the magical kind that disappear when you eat right and spend a lot of time on the treadmill.  Truthfully, I like the other wrinkles around the eyes.  Proof that I smile a lot.  My badge of honor.

The first real sign that I was getting older was willingly giving up a night on the town in favor of sleep.  It's true!  One year, hubs and I took a nap on New Year's Eve so we would be fresh and ready to party the night away.  When the alarm went off around 10, we both rolled over and went back to sleep.

Next came the degradation of my eyesight.  For years I've had trouble seeing things at a distance (is that far sightedness or near sightedness?), but lately even things close up get fuzzy.  Sometimes I see a 'ghost' or a 'shadow' just below of the words I'm trying to read on the computer.  I used to be able to pass my vision test at the DMV without my glasses...but I had to cheat and squint big time the last time I renewed.  There was also a good deal of finger-crossing and guessing going on.  At least I won't be able to see the damage time is wreaking on my body...

After 35, the whole metabolism thing goes to hell.  I gained weight EASY, and lost it HARD.  It's completely unfair that I can gain 3 pounds from one little slip up, but I have to work for a MONTH to get those same three pounds off again.  This is the worst part of aging, I think.

There's the hearing issues.  I yell at the kids to turn the music down while the TV volume creeps up. I actually had my hearing checked last year.  Oddly, the experience made me feel YOUNG, because every other patient in the lobby had about 3 decades on me.

And then there's the hair.  Mine's not falling out, no.  I've still got a head full of unruly hair.  The damn grays have a mind of their own.  I wear it pretty short, so I've got the better of them.  But now, as if to protest, they've started sprouting in weird places.  Like my chin.  I'm seriously looking at electrolysis.  I've got so much peach fuzz cropping up there teenage boys are casting envious looks my way.  That's bad, but not the worst.  

The worst is the freakishly long nose hair I just plucked out of my nostril.  My nose had been tickling so I looked...yes, I did the whole pig-snout impersonation and looked up there where I found this mutant hair waving in the breeze.  I grabbed my tweezers and yanked that sucker out. I didn't actually measure it, but it had to be at least an inch and a half long.

Turns out my kids have been right all along.

I am old.  And that's perfectly okay with me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Strip Serenade

It seems like another lifetime ago now, but one of my favorite things to do when I lived in Las Vegas was to head down to the Strip on the weekend and watch people. I'd sit in the grass in front of the Mirage (it was brand new back then, Treasure Island hadn't been built yet) or by the leaping fountains at the Stardust.  I'd write letters to my friends and occasionally I'd do a little gambling (even though I was underage).

My favorite was the night of the Parrot Snake (which I wrote about here).  There were plenty of other incidents, though.  There was one guy (whose name I've forgotten) who I ran into almost every time.  He always sat down next to me and first would complain about being broke and having no money, but in the next breath he would ask me out to dinner. Yeah, something did not compute. I always turned him down. 

I thought myself clever back then and would always work into the conversation that my father/brother/boyfriend (who did not exist at the time) was a policeman so they wouldn't mess with me.  Whether it would ever actually deter anyone, I dunno.  I asked this guy one night what he did.  He said, "I'm a teef"  It took about five minutes to figure out that "teef" meant thief.  He let lonely ol' women take him to dinner and back to their hotel rooms and after doing the deed, he'd steal whatever he could.

Apparently he wasn't a very good one if (a) he was always broke (b) thought I was a suitable target and (c) admitted to a supposed cop's daughter that he was a thief.

He was, however, very funny.  I actually looked forward to running into him because he was a shameless flirt and always made me laugh.

And then, the last time I ever saw him, he had a friend with him.  They sat down but the friend didn't speak any English. They were both from Iran -- this was a dozen years before 911, back when most people couldn't find it on a map.  In the middle of a conversation the friend started singing in Iranian (I assume).  My "friend" translated softly while he sang and it was all about how beautiful I was comparing me to the sun, moon, and stars.  At least that's what he said it was about.  It might've been about  barnyard animals for all I knew.

This always makes me uncomfortable.  Not that I've had all that many men sing to me.  But even when someone is being serenaded on TV, I get all squirmy and weird. I just don't know what to do with myself.  So while I'm sure this was meant as a romantic gesture, I couldn't keep myself from laughing.  I still kinda feel bad for ruining their moment. LOL.

So, tell me, what are you supposed to do when someone is singing to you?