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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sure sign of a writer...

I found this pencil in my daughter's bag of school supplies she brought home at the end of the year.  

Obviously, I have a writer on my hands.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pet Peeves - I Know! I Know!

If you've ever attended a meeting, I'm pretty sure you'll have experienced this week's pet peeve first hand.

Every office has one.  That annoying person who prolongs meetings unnecessarily because he or she has questions.  Lots of them.

That's not what drives me up the wall, though.

What I can't stand is when people ask questions they already know the answer to.  

I'm not talking about someone clarifying an issue to make sure they understand and are on the same page the other party.  No.  I'm perfectly okay with that.

I just don't understand why anyone feels the need to ask questions for the sake of asking.

I don't know if they do it to make themselves look important or because they feel like they have to say something and they can't think of anything original, but it's annoying when you have a desk full of work that needs to get done and Mr. (or Ms., let's be fair) Know-It-All just won't shut up.

You could try duct tape, but that could be construed as assault in some states.  So my recommendation is to download a BS Bingo card (find yours HERE) so you can entertain yourself while the meeting goes on and on and on.

Just remember, if you get a bingo to yell "Bull$hit" nice and loud!  
Your coworkers will appreciate the distraction.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lovin the Language Blogfest

The ever charming and delightful Jolene of Been Writing is hosting her first blogfest today, and I hopped on board.  The rules are simple, just post 5 lines from your WIP or a book you love.  

I scrolled through my WIP, despairing of finding anything I liked well enough to share.  It is the first draft, after all.

I figured I'd be invoking Mock Me Monday big time with my entry.

But then I found this passage I totally forgot about and really like and it happens to be 5 lines. Kismet!  Oh...and there's no vomiting involved!  
(C'mon with a title like Porcelain God, you know there's gotta be some hurling).  

So without further ado, I give you Murphy: 


Oh, dear God, I'm a human. How could Mom do this to me, her only son? And before you say it was good enough for Jesus, let me point out that I am most assuredly not Jesus. First of all, he is the Son of God. The God. I can't even begin to tell you how much he outranks me.


Thanks for a fun blogfest, Jolene!  I'm looking forward to reading the other entries! For a list of other participants, go HERE

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Share Worthy

Garage sale day in the Rocho household.  I'm inexplicably awake after only 4 hours of sleep.  Should make for a loooooong day.  I know I'm only *supposed* to post on M-W-F, but I just had to share these two things:

LOVED this Barcode bit: check this out

I also discovered Christoph Niemann.  An illustrator with a wicked sense of humor, check out HIS BLOG
I've not fully explored it yet, but I really liked THIS POST 
Oh, oh OH and THIS one about the troubles with sleep (soooo true)
And THIS one with household demons.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Colon Update...

Would you LOOK at this title?

The Compass of Pleasure:
A nice, 4 word title (and that's counting those little words that don't really count) and then you have...)  How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good

Are you freaking kidding me?  SEVENTEEN words after the colon!!!  This guy was really interesting to listen to, but OMG, enough with the explanatory list already.

Forget Niedermaier.  Forget the mythical Romanos Melville.  My new mission is to eliminate the freaking colon from Non-Fiction titles.  Maybe this will help?



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Move Over Niedermaier...

No, not giving up on the Niedermaier quest.  But we were THIS close, I tell you.

I had another one of those dreams.  You know, with oddly specific details I can't help but check out when I wake up.

This time, the hero is one Romanos Melville.  SUPER hot King of Dreamland.  I met him at a friend's party, she introduced him to me as being with "The House of Melville", which at the time I thought was kinda quaint -- naming his house after himself.  

So we talked and had TONS in common. He thought I was planning a trip to NYC, and wanted to know all about it.  I forgot his name and just blurted out, "What's your name again?" in the middle of the conversation.  He laughed and told me.  When it was time for me to go, I discovered I was SEATBELTED to the bed I'd been sitting on. (please don't analyze that--Romanos was sitting on a sofa across the room).

When I woke up I Googled Romanos Melville.  No hits.  But when I Googled The House of Melville. I got a lot of hits. 

It's a Bed & Breakfast in Massachussetts 
It's "the artist's quarters" of Johannesburg, South Africa
It's also a publisher in NYC. I saw the cover of this book and laughed. It made me think of Niedermaier...(because of the name people!  I have no intention of murdering anyone or falling victim to a murder.)

Now, if there's a Romanos working at Melville House in NYC, I think I might have to replace Niedermaier.....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pet Peeves II - And They Say It Don't Stink

Another installment from my growing list of pet peeves.  Last week it was all about the colon (the punctuation not the intestine).  This week, we're gonna talk about men and their bathroom habits.

Don't worry, this is all very PG.

Now I'm sure men do all sorts of odd (and or disgusting) things in the bathroom worthy of being on my pet peeve list, but I'm not going to go there.  No, my pet peeve is much simpler than that.  Mine affects every man I've ever known.

Granted, I don't have intimate knowledge of every man's bathroom habits.  There are my brothers and husband of course, and a handful of male coworkers over the years...and they are all guilty of the same thing.

Over-spraying the room deodorizer after they finish their business. I'm serious.  Every man I've ever known sprays it like this: 


While I'm more like pssshhh

The problem is the overwhelming floral/fruity smell that hits 30 seconds after they vacate the area. It's enough to gag me. 

Maybe it's an occupational hazard.  My desk is almost always in the reception area where the bathrooms are located.  So while they are safely back in their cubicle, I'm struggling to breathe.

It's no better at home.  My husband is also spray happy which confuses me because he's been telling me for years that his you-know-what doesn't stink.  If that were true, why would he need to use air freshener at all?

So I'd like to encourage all the men out there to restrain themselves with the air freshener.  Even if your stuff does smell, over-doing the deodorizer isn't a source of pride.  When's the last time you said, "Well, it takes a ten second spray to cover up my stench"???

Take it easy, y'all.  Please.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Poll - Cost of Gas?

Just an informal poll 'cuz I'm curious.  We went to Chicago this weekend where I about had a stroke at their gas prices.  $4.39, my friends.  I don't need to tell you how obscene that is when we paid $3.56 before we left home.

So....what are you paying?  
Can you beat $4.39?  (my sympathy)
Can you do better than $3.56? (sooo jealous!)

Edited to add:  Just got back from lunch where I was delighted to see our price has dropped to $3.49!!  
(I may be taking optimism too far....)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Handling Money

I wonder sometimes if posting my Mockable Moments will hurt my credibility somewhere down the line.  Supposing I go for a job interview someday (note to current boss, No, I'm not looking.  This is a hypothetical question), and my potential new employer Googles my name...

What will I look like to a complete stranger who is reading the Mock Me Moments out of context?  Will Potential Boss laugh or think I'm incompetent and move on?  

And what about the whole Niedermaier thing?  Do I look like a total stalker?  Hmmmm...these are the questions that will keep a girl up at night so she's not getting enough rest so crazy things happen to keep Mock Me Monday living on.  For example....

I'm pretty careful with my money. I always know how much I have and the first thing I do when shopping (except for the grocery store, but that's another story) is look at the price tag.  

Ask my kids -- I'm pretty darn tight with the purse strings.

I should add here that in addition to my weird dreams about Zac Efron flying and killing sharks and a friendly single father inviting me to fly to Morrocco for the weekend, I also occasionally dream about money.

Like: I'm walking along minding my own business and find $100 on the fives and tens.  Or I'm going shopping and I open up my purse and there's all this money in there that wasn't there before.  

I also occasionally dream I'm at a store with UNBELIEVABLE sales - like brand name jeans for a $1 - and everything is gorgeous and fits perfectly and I can get a whole new wardrobe for $40, but I get to the register and I have no cash or debit card. :(

These are just dreams, though, and these kind of things don't really happen. (And you thought I'd lost touch with reality...)

So last Friday morning I'm getting ready for work and for some reason I open my top dresser drawer.  This is a fairly shallow drawer, not really good for anything except the odd junk I toss in there because I have nowhere else to put it.  I've got a deck of cards, overflow jewelry that won't fit in my jewelry box, straps from adjustable bras that I may or may not own anymore, a bag of potpourri (ahem, I think I'm supposed to call it a sachet when it's in a dresser).  Anyway, lots of miscellaneous crap and I rarely open the drawer except to shove something new in there.

But open it I did, and imagine my surprise, then, when I find $75 sitting in there looking back up at me like a lost puppy.

I call hubbers and asked him if he'd been hiding money in there.  I know he's done that in HIS dresser  -- setting aside $5 or $10 a week to save up for a golf pass or concert ticket or whatever.  But he denied having anything to do with it. 

Best I can figure is that I meant to deposit it into my account but for whatever reason didn't/couldn't get to the bank and forgot all about it. 

It really disturbs me that I can (a) misplace $75 and (b) not miss it and (c) not remember anything about it.  Oh, and (d) that I inadvertently let hubby know I'm in possession of 75 extra dollars...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

It occurred to me tonight while roaming through the store looking for a Father's Day gift for the man of the house that I write blind.

I mean I'm not really a pantser and not really a plotter, so writing is kinda like fumbling through my house with a blindfold on.  I kinda know where the couch is and the coffee table and stuff are, but I still do a fair bit of stumbling and toe-stubbing.  

That's exactly how I write.  I kinda know where the milestones need to go, but the route between them is pretty murky at times.  There's a lot of hit and missin' going on.  But sometimes I ran smack dab into something so fabulous and I wonder why I didn't see it before...but maybe the only reason I discover these golden nuggets is that I'm not looking for them.  

So I guess the moral of the story is not to be afraid of the dark when you're writing...there may be a treasure lurking in the corners somewhere...or a flashlight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pet Peeves - Part I

I've been compiling a list of pet peeves lately because (like most people's) they're kinda quirky and therefore might make someone laugh...or realize they're not alone.

I've said before that I have a natural aversion for non fiction.  To me non fiction = boooooring.  I know that's a tremendous disservice to tons of fantastic books, but I can't help how I'm wired.  But now, thanks to NPR, I think I know why I am the way I am.

It's the colon's fault.

To be clear we're talking about this guy --> : <-- not the first half of colonoscopy.

I love listening to NPR.  I especially enjoy listening to interviews with writers, musicians, or other artists. I always learn something new and worthy of repeating (ie, "did you know...").  

They help me sound way smarter than I am.


Anyhow, I can't tell you lately how many interviews I'll listen to and I'll think to myself: wow, that sounds like a really interesting bookI'll have to check that out.

But then they tell me the title and I run screaming from the room.

Really.  I look like this:

Please tell me why the Title Creation Committees are so addicted to the colon.  It's a serious problem. Don't believe me? Check out this random page from Amazon.  Almost every single book on that page has a : in the title.  


Don't they know that those two stacked dots totally kill any desire I have to read a book?  Here's a perfect example.  I heard part of an interview with this author the other day.  Smart guy.  I came in half way, so I only heard part of it, but it was chock full of interesting information and I was actually thinking about checking it out.  Then they told me the title: (<-- uh oh, that totally slipped through).

Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy

Why couldn't they stop with Bottled Lightning?  That's intriguing, hook-y, and concise.  That's a book I'll look at.  But the rest of it?  Bleh.

So, non fiction writers out there...are you listening?  Can you do me a personal favor and just drop the colon?  Please?

(oh, and everything you're tempted to put after the colon, too, of course)

Next Pet Peeve (maybe next week): men's bathroom's not what you think!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mock Me Monday - The Mailing

I just finished a huge mailing for work.  Sorted, folded, labeled (address), stuffed & sealed a LOT of newsletters.  While I was busy with my one-woman assembly line, I narrowed down my options for this post.  Truthfully, I don't know if it qualifies as a bonafide Mock Me Moment since I'm kinda proud of my problem solving skills.  You decide.

I've done mailings just about everywhere I've worked, and I'm not going to tell you where or when this happened because I don't want any recipients from that time getting grossed out.  So "once upon a time", I had a mailing to get out. 

When I process a mailing, I tend to do one task at a time. I'll collate everything, then I'll fold everything then I'll stuff the envelopes -- you get the picture.  I find I make better time doing it this way than if I sort, fold, stuff & seal one letter at a time.  

This one particular time, I had no envelope sealer available to me. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, they're little water bottles with a sponge tip that you use to moisten the glue on the envelopes.  

Trust me, you don't want to lick 200+ envelopes in one sitting.

They look like this:

And I didn't have one. 

I tried using a piece of moistened paper towel, but I didn't have enough control over it.

I tried using a Q-Tip and the control was much better, but there wasn't enough cotton on the tip to do much good.  

And so I took a tampon ( please note the lack of picture!) and dipped the end in water and OMG it worked awesome -- way better than the bottle thing above ever did.  The bottles tend to leak AND the sponge tip is about the size of a quarter, and most envelopes only have a glue strip about a quarter inch the bottle thing would get the flap all wet.

Now that I've remembered this, I'm TOTALLY going to make the character -- a debt ridden secretary -- in my next WIP use this trick. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peter and Celia sitting in a tree...

Once upon a time I stumbled across a column of Peter McKay's  (or just click the permalink superhero in the side margin) and laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks. I have faithfully sought out his column every week since then.  If you've not yet read him, what are you waiting for?

Well, it's happened again friends.  I stumbled across THIS article by Celia Rivenbark (website) and all but spewed Diet Coke everywhere. She's one seriously funny lady.  

It's a pity she and McKay are both married to other people because I think the two of them ought to have children. Together I mean.  Imagine how hysterical their offspring would be. 

No worries, Peter. You're still my favorite!  But, y'know...Craig Niedermaier is still MIA, so perhaps I should abandon that pursuit and work on getting you and Celia together?  Let me know....

PS Did anyone else read River Bank instead of Riven Bark or am I alone?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Cody Quotes

Today is Coder's 8th birthday and what better way to celebrate than to share the latest batch of Cody Quotes?  Enjoy!

After being given a biscuit at breakfast, Cody shouted:

I'm not moist!
(yeah, I don't know either)

When asked if he wanted to do go karts with the rest of the group he declared:
I'm not doing them. I've got neck pain.

We had a garage sale a few weeks ago, and didn't have much luck with traffic.  When the first car finally pulled up in front of the house, Cody went to the end of the driveway and said:
Welcome to our sale.  Do you need anything?

One morning, he was running around without a shirt and I noticed something blue on his back. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Cody what's on your back? 
C: (matter of factly) toothpaste.
Me: How did you get toothpaste on your back? 
C: I brushed my teeth and it got on my hand so i went like this (swings right arm behind back up to his left shoulder blade)

Here's another one I'm not quite sure how to contextualize:
TV terrorists put on a scary logo and voodoo music.
(Cody has since informed me that this is the THX logo at the beginning of movies.  He really, really, REALLY does not like THX.  He will run out of the room)

When he was having a rough time at school:
Education ruined my life.  It's my punishment.

We did the Autism Awareness walk back in April.  His school put together a team and we were to meet at the East end of the mall.  Cody insisted we had to meet in front of the department store on the completely opposite side of the mall saying:
I have a little shopping to do.
I had to shake things up a bit

We passed a laundromat with a sign reading "Coin Laundry". Cody asked:
Is that where you wash and dry your coins?

Cody's first attempt at a poem:
Its seven 
the sun is up 
the birds are singing 
and the moon has traveled to the other side 

One more gem from my daughter, then the grand finale from Coders.
We pulled up to her piano teacher's house. 
Me: Oh! What beautiful flowers!
Her: Old people garden a lot.
Me: Hey! I'm going to be old...
Her: And you'll have a lovely garden

And finally, I don't know for sure what he's talking about, but it's hysterical:
That's it! I'm buying a new one!  One that doesn't rub, never wears out, and has a good pencil hanging system! 
(Cody loves reading his quotes on the blog and he has told me this is referring to a Magna Doodle.  Makes sense now.)

Happy Birthday, Coders!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thanks, Nick.

You don't have to look far to find some expert or other cautioning you about the evils of television. They'll tell you all the awful things watching TV can do to your child.
To which I've always thought, "Well, I watched TV when I was a kid and I turned out okay."

To be sure, my kids watch enough TV to send those experts into cardiac arrest.  Wait, let me rephrase that.

The TV is on all day long, but I really don't know how much the kids actually watch.  Most of the time it's just noise in the background.  I've tried turning it off, but then hubbers comes into the room and turns it back on again.

So, yeah, the kids watch their fair share of television, and while I agree that there are other, more valid pursuits away from the screen, I don't think it's a big deal. 

I mentioned the other day that my daughter will be in France for the better part of the next three weeks.  I attribute this trip to her television viewing.  Yup, you heard me right.  She's in France because she watched too much TV as a youngster.  And I'm talking Nickelodeon, not the Travel Channel.

Do you remember the Rug Rats?  My daughter loved it.  She watched it as often as I would let her.  So when the Rug Rats in Paris movie came out, she had to see it.  And that, of course, led to an obsession with Paris which in due time motivated her to take French 3 years in a row which just happened to be the prerequisite for this school trip. 

Moral of the story:  My daughter is having the cultural experience of a lifetime and one hell of a summer vacation all because I let her watch TV.

Doesn't sound too evil, does it?  Thanks, Nickelodeon.  Thanks a lot.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mock Me Monday - The Shower

Just when I thought I might run out of Mock Me Monday material, I go and do something colossally stupid to keep the material coming in...

I've been living in my house for almost 7 years now.  One of the greatest things about our house is that it has 2 bathrooms.  Technically, our old house had a second bathroom, but the second one was in the basement and was one of those icky, creepy, spider-laden bathrooms.  I think you'll forgive me if I neglect to include it in the count.

As I was saying, we have two bathrooms.  We also have four bedrooms.  A couple years ago hubs and I moved downstairs and let the kids each have a room of their own upstairs.  Ahhhh, the peace and quiet we enjoy -- as long as they're not stomping around above us that is, but that's another story.  Where was I? Ah, yes,  the bathrooms.  Count 'em ONE and TWO.

Once we moved the bedroom downstairs it become way more convenient to shower downstairs than to lug all my stuff upstairs.  Makes sense, right?

Lately, we've had a slew of things go bad on us.  Our fixture in the kitchen came loose and wobbled every time you moved the faucet from one side of the sink to the other.  Our upstairs shower has developed a leak and now has one puny spray shooting straight up. Our water softener went kaput and killed the water pressure to the whole house, and then one day last week, I thought for sure the main plumbing drain/line had sprung a leak, but it was just the upstairs toilet.  Oh and our A/C is 40 years old and this is probably it's last functional summer. We've had issues lately.  Lots of them.

So there I was one morning last week, hopping in the shower only to be scalded so badly I cut my shower short and made a beeline to the water heater to turn the temp down.  The next morning, I tried again with the same results.  It was HOT and I couldn't turn the handle to cool it down.  I washed as best I could, hopping in and out of the spray.  I dreaded telling hubs that another thing had broken.  He'd just done the bills the night before and had gone off on a rant that had us all cowering.  I didn't want to be the one to tell him the shower was broken.

At some point in my misadventures, reason always rears it's ugly head and shows me the error of my ways.  Don't ask me why reason is always so chronically late with her appearances on my behalf.  I'd very much appreciate her prompt attention to these matters, but I guess I'd rather have her show up late than not at all.  And so it was I discovered that I'd been turning the handle the wrong direction.  Yes, after showering downstairs almost exclusively for the last two or three years, (an estimated several hundred showers at a minimum and potentially closer to a thousand at the high end), I somehow mix up the hot and cold and it takes me TWO FREAKING DAYS to figure it out.

I consider this proof that I shall never run out of Mock Me Moments.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Watching the Spelling Bee and I'm torn between complete awe at these kids' spelling abilities and laughing at the hosts' attempts at building suspense and tension. It's quite the emotional roller coaster, I tell ya!

Does anyone know if the kids are given a list of words to study from or are the words all surprises?  I'd also like to know how many hours a day these kids study.  I've not spelled a single word right all night!

Things have been hectic around here lately which is why you haven't seen me surfacing around your blog for way too long.  Really sorry about that.  

No, make that REALLY REALLY sorry.  

Y'all deserve better. 

Y'all deserve more attention


It's sooooo not you, it's me.  

I'm not breaking up or anything. I'll get back out there eventually, although at this point I'd settle for catching up on email.

Going HERE this weekend, so there go the next two days...
Daughter leaves for France on Monday, so there goes the next 3 weeks...
(she's my primary babysitter y'see...)
There's a trip to Chicagoland coming up too
(noooo, not stalking Niedermaier we're going to see family)

Your plans for the weekend? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Things I'd Like to See Part V

Don't think I'll have ten this time unless inspiration strikes out of nowhere.

1. I wish you could buy little tracking dots for remotes and cell phones (or library books!) so when you lost them, you could go online and see where it was.  I'd add a programming feature so when you first buy the dots, you take them to every room in your house and "record" the location so the computer can actually say "bedroom one"

2. I'd REALLY like to be able to suck in my butt like you can your gut.  Why isn't this possible?

3. You know how you'll read an article and at the end, some expert will dispense with advice to see a professional to check yourself out...just in case?  I'd love it if someone compiled a list of all those recommended visits with all the activities of an average family and then turned them into a mock-up schedule.  

I think if you looked at how many haircuts the average family gets in a year and how many dinners/movies/soccer practices/birthday parties, and try to fit them into a schedule taking into account average commute times and average hours at work you'll find that there are more activities than there is time in a day.  Great coffee table book!

4. When traveling (especially solo) I wish there was a service I could text that would track my location via my phone and send me a text with any weather warnings in the area.  

5. I wish there were some button I could push on the phone that would send either a mini shock to the person on the other end or else set off a really loud buzzer/horn.  Suffice it to say there are a few customer service reps at large corporations that I'd use this baby on.  Trust me, they deserve it for going out of their way to be rude and unhelpful.

6. Have you ever gone shopping and found the cutest dress/pants/top/shoes but they didn't have it in your size?  I wish there was a machine that could magically size the item to fit.  I could make a FORTUNE!

7. I may have put these next few on another list, but I'm hoping if I forgot so did you.  I would LOVE it if libraries offered a subscription plan where you pay $X a month/year in lieu of racking up the daily fines.  It'd be cheaper for me in the long run.

8. Speaking of library fines, I wish the library would put a little book plate in the front of each book that my fines helped purchase.  "This book purchased with fines from the Rocho Family"

9. I would pay BIG money if I could have an "undo" button for life.  Control-Z saves your butt in Word, I'd like the same functionality around the house.  You know, after I've lugged the couch across the room only to discover it will NOT fit and now have to lug it back.