Thursday, 26 February 2009

"Carpe vino", or "Seize the wine"

My niece, The Chicken, gave me the little plaque above for my birthday, much to my delight. I do so love wine. Her dad, my brother, presses a bottle on me every couple of months, and I buy the occasional litre myself. I don't drink wine to get drunk. I drink it because I love, LOVE the taste. It also puts a sparkle in my eye (okay, I haven't seen it but I feel it, which is proof enough). It sharpens my perception, enhances my enjoyment of every nuance of conversation, beauty, wit. Especially my own. (Hah!)

It's easy to delude yourself when you love wine. If I eat a bar of chocolate I feel guilty because I imagine the thousands of calories, the sugar and fat entering my blood stream, caking the insides of my arteries and increasing the dimensions of what I euphemistically refer to as my waistline. Wine, on the other hand, has no calories. Seriously! The sugars are natural so they don't count - right? And it's fat free. As a matter of fact, I'm convinced that wine burns the bad stuff out, so it has negative calories, sort of like carrots. Plus, it's good for your heart.

So, what has brought on these facetious musings? It's been one of those days. The machine at the supermarket declined my card. I trotted off to the ATM. Yes, funds are there, but they're not available. WTF? Go to bank, bursting with righteous indignation. Stand in long line. Teller who looks not a day over 11 tells me that the other party to my joint account is behind on a loan instalment at another branch, so they put a hold on my funds. The two accounts, by the way, are in no way related. Why does the bank do that? Because it friggin can! I walk across to the drugstore and buy a large bar of chocolate, stand in the sun for half an hour waiting for a taxi that's willing to go off route and deliver me to the corner of the little valley where I live.

Finally get into one. Shrink into myself as I observe the dirty, stained seat covers, the unkempt driver who looks like an escapee from the local jail, the general decrepitude of the vehicle. At least there's good music on the radio, that lovely theme from Flashdance: "She's a maniac, a maniac on the floor, and she dances like she's never da..." Driver flips switch and some heavy thudding soul comes on. Sounds like a big greasy guy rumbling on and on about how much he loves me. Gross! Then the car pulls into a gas station. Why don't these drivers fill up on their own time, I ask myself for the millionth time. Taxi almost disembowels itself on the turn on to my lane on account of a small bump I've never even felt in my mom's car. Home at last, Allah be praised! Strip, flip open my laptop (which hasn't left my bed in months - our passion never wanes) and begin to wax philosophical. Philosophical, of course, in the sense of 'ridiculous'.

Out comes the chocolate, massive guilt following closely on its heels. Man, I could use a drink right about now.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert: A New Way to Think About Creativity

Found this over at The Largest Writing Group on Facebook and just had to share. I don't think the author of Eat, Pray, Love needs an introduction.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Another lovely day

On this date last year my post title was Lovely Day and I embedded the Bill Withers song of the same name. Yes, folks, it's my birthday once again! Now, you can't ask me my age - you know girls don't tell - but I have to say that growing older isn't as bad as it's cracked up to be. Really, I feel wonderful, and blessed. I know too many good people who didn't make it this far, so I'm grateful for every year that I continue to have the gift of life; I try to remember that it's precious and should not be wasted. Writers... write!

The virgin orchid isn't putting on a special show for me like it did last year, and neither is the purple petrea which has just a couple flowers scattered here and there, but! Two orchids that have been sitting on the mango tree sulking for years are now in bloom.

So, how has my day been this far?
  • A friend I love (and hate) dearly sent me a text message at 2-something AM to wish me a happy birthday. Cool!
  • I woke (again) to sunshine and birdsong. Looks like the rains are giving us a breather.
  • Happy Birthday wishes from my mom...
  • Text message from my niece, the Chicken...
  • Confirm after-work get together with Vaughn, my pesky writer friend...
  • Phone greetings from brother and sister-in-law...
  • Text from lovely son; he's coming by later, after his photo shoot. Yay! :)
  • I trot over to Facebook and find birthday message from my son's friend in the UK. Shout outs to Hannah!
  • Kim, lovely blog pal, wrote on my wall...
  • Jared McCallister, columnist with the NY Daily News, posted this photo on my wall! Isn't it de-lovely? Isn't it de-lightful?

Not a bad start to the day! I'm off to get ready for work now - but first, my musical pick of the day... (Embedding music from YouTube seems to be a thing of the past so I'll have to settle for the link.)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

February hunks

Did I have a January hunk? I don't think so... To make up for this unforgivable lapse we've got two hunks on show today. Ta-da!

I don't know his name, but he's featured on the Calendrier Paysan 2009 calendar and the photo stopped me in my tracks. Comme il est délicieux! Just look at him - driving a big power tool, all sweaty and dirty, doing man-stuff. Don't you just want to take him inside and give him a shower? Mais oui! **fans herself frantically at the thought** He can be my lead character's love interest any day!

And here's Chris Evans, whom I recognize from the movie Cellular and who's currently starring in the sci-fi movie Push. My teenage niece thinks he's super-cute. Well, guess what, Chicken? So do I! Wanna star in my novel, Chris?

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Little green things

Yes, I've been doing it again: staying up late fiddling with... widgets. I've been seeing blogs with lovely website-like tabs at the top, and avarice got the better of me. I wanted some! Had to have them to shore up my author-website resistance! So off I trotted into the cybersphere on the scent of tabby-widgets. Apparently Blogger doesn't provide them, but techies have been designing their own all over the place and I stumbled across this site. Hey presto! Instant tabs!

Well, not exactly. The only HTML I know is what is required to italicize or bold or insert a link in blog comments, so I had to fiddle around (and around, and around) until I got rid of unwanted stuff (don't even ask because I don't have a clue!) - and there is the result under the blog header: 6 little tabs in barf green. With the appropriate content, mind you, for which I had to create new blog posts.

My new tabby look is still under construction. I have to add reviews and interviews to the "News" tab, which for the moment directs to a newspaper article. [Update: done!] And I've got to get my son to look through that HTML and make sure that all is kosher; wouldn't want to find out the hard way that there's hidden code in there that hacks into the Pentagon and transmits info to, I dunno, scary people who do scary stuff.

And the colour? That green has got to go.

Friday, 6 February 2009

For Lisa

Lisa Ratcliffe, a member of the Novel Racers, a UK-based writers' group that I belong to, has passed away. Her courageous, inspiring journey is chronicled on her blog, Hesitant Scribe.

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next." - Gilda Radner (1946-1989)

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Distractions

With apologies to Paige who did the last lovely Novel Racers coffee morning post, and to my fellow Racers who've read this shameful list already:

The top 13 distractions that keep me from writing:
  1. The day job.
  2. The wonderful, bloody Internet in general where it's so easy to click your way into oblivion without realizing how the hours are flying, and specifically...
  3. The blog. Writing it. Reading others. Fiddling with widgets, stats etc.
  4. Facebook. Another black hole where time takes on strange otherworldly dimensions and five minutes mutate into five hours.
  5. Streaming media, specifically Desperate Housewives and [gulp] movies.
  6. Obsessive checking of e-mail accounts.
  7. Clothing catalogues. Home decor catalogues. Gardening catalogues. Especially the online sort.
  8. Reading. It's like chocolate for me - once I start a good one I can't stop.
  9. Dreaming. I mean the open-eyed sort. I'm a chronic daydreamer, always have been. It's the one thing my teachers all complained about. I can do it for hours - nay, days - at a time.
  10. Chores. The minute I decide to get the writing done I am assailed by a compulsion to do the washing and cleaning. I also need to shave legs, pluck eyebrows and colour hair because everything must be in perfect order before I can give myself over to the world of self-inflicted fiction. Since I rarely (translation: never) achieve the elusive 'perfect order' it's a wonder I ever get any writing done at all.
  11. Staying up most of the night so I'm all headachy and cranky next day and no good for anything.
  12. Worry, fear, obsessing over everything, from Amazon and Barnes and Noble sales rankings to offspring, health, ecology, grey hairs sprouting in inconceivable places ( eyebrows! Caught ya there, didn't I!)... You name it, I worry about it. These are paralysis-inducing enemies of the word count.
  13. All of the above, I fear, are just excuses for the good old-fashioned laziness. I've elevated laziness to an art form. Pity I can't sell it. (Wanna buy some Grade A laziness? I'll knock 10% off the top - just for you!)
Mea culpa. I'll be stronger. I'll be better. I promise. Really!

Lagniappe: The best post title I've seen this week: F*ckety, f*ckety, f*ck!
(I won't say where I saw it but the poster's computer crashed and she hadn't done backups. Yes, she's a writer.) Those words have afflicted me with a brain worm and I'm afraid they'll slip out my mouth at some inconvenient moment...