Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ain't she pretty? She's made completely of awesome. I know this sounds stupid to say, but I love her. Like, fan-girl love her. If there was mass marketing around her, I'd buy every t-shirt, bumper sticker, bobble-head and mechanical pencil. She'd be my set station on Pandora. If she was on TV, I'd set my DVR to record every episode. She'd be ring tone, my avatar, my hashtag.
I felt this way about my son, too, but since I was a new parent, it was interlaced with bouts of paranoid delusion. My inner monologue sounded a bit like this:
He pooped, oh my god, what do I do, is it good poop, is it the right color, has he gone enough, the hospital said he'd got three to six times a day and, oh crap, he just made a weird noise, what does that noise mean, is he hungry, tired, uncomfortable, itchy, is it an early sign of ADHD or...holy shit, his eye just did a weird thing, is he having a seizure, oh, my god, how do I know if he's having a seizure, I'd better google "baby eye weird seizure" and, oh mother of god, he just moved his head and I heard a noise, did he break his neck, should we call the hospital, I think we should call the hospital, his arm looks weird, is that a normal arm, what if it falls off or what if he has some weird arm disorder, oh, god, it's 3am, should I page the pediatrician, or maybe I'll just google "baby weird arm falling off"...
Luckily with each child, you become less and less of lunatic.
But, as awesome as she is, she doesn't yet support my need to write (hence the 3 month delay in updating my blog and cricket sounds in my "Poo Lives" folder). I attempted to do NaNo for about five minutes, because, yes, yes, I have ideas....so many ideas!!!! But for now, they'll have to just bob around aimlessly until I can a) convince baby girl that napping in her crib as opposed to on my shoulder is a super neat-o idea, b) get her to see that writing gets mommy to her happy place without the use of wine and/or Clive Owen movies and c) convince her that writing could possibly lead to success which could lead to riches which could lead to lots of shoes for her.
Wish me luck...
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Queries sent to agents: 66
Full/partial requests: 7
Full/partials still outstanding: 4
Query rejections: 35
Queries close due to no response: 24
Months pregnant: 8 1/2
Gallons of ice cream consumed over last 8 1/2 months: 400
Number of donuts consumed over last 8 1/2 months: 78
Pregnancy pounds gained: 35lbs
Hopeful weight of baby: 35lbs
Real estimated weight of baby: 6 lbs
Number of lunges/squats I'll have to do to eradicate superfluous 29 pounds: 4,783,987,213,876
Number of times my son has told me I have a chubby tummy and that I should get on the treadmill: 54
Number of times I've hid his favorite Light Saber: 54
Estimated bouts of pregnancy rage: 8
Number of establishments I won't be showing my face for a while due to aforementioned pregnancy rage: 6
Number of times I've tried to talk husband into naming the baby Leia: 14
Number of times I've gotten husband to agree to naming the baby Leia: 1
Number of times husband has reneged on his agreement to name the baby Leia, claiming he agreed simply because I was in the midst of honking up dinner and he felt sorry for me: 1
Percentage of excitement over having yet another "most awesome child in the history of time" (regardless of her name): 4 Bazillion %
Number of times I've felt like the luckiest girl in the whole wide world: 6,000,000,000,000,001
For those non-writery types, the query stats may look downright pathetic. But in reality, they're actually pretty good. Considering most queries end up in a slush graveyard, to have even one actually a) read through by an agent and b) spark enough interest for a partial or full request is a true feat in itself. You have to understand that, though the book publishing industry is a business, it's all based on emotional reaction. You're not just trying to pique an agent's interest. You're trying to make them fall in love with your work. To the point that they'd want to take it dancing and buy it chocolates. That's a difficult thing to accomplish, especially when they're being bombarded every day by hundreds of other writers that want the same exact thing. I've realized that the best you can do is to just do what you do. Write what you love, send it out into the world and hope that someone decides to love it. Putting any more emotional stock into the process will result in lots of frustration, resentment and anger. And that's not good for our calm, right?
And for those non-pregnant types, the childbearing stats may look downright pathetic. And you would be mostly right. I fully blame my girth on the on and off (mostly on) morning-all day-night sickness. One minute I'm dry heaving at the scent of bananas and next I'm chain-swallowing Oreos. If I wasn't pregnant, I could totally be on one of those TLC shows about people with bizarre, OCD eating behavior, huddled on the kitchen floor at three in the morning eating all the Halloween candy left over from last year. (Just fyi...Nerds mixed with Bottle Caps are a match made in heaven).
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Perhaps you've sat back at some point in your life and pondered, "I wonder how many tomato plants are TOO many."
This is too many:
There are approximately 25 plants there, each bearing about 15-20 tomatoes each.
Now, hubby is a tomato lover. However, I am useless in the tomato appreciation department. Currently I am about seven hundred months pregnant, and I find them rather evil since just looking at them gives me a raging case of heartburn. But my complete aversion to wasting food has forced me to push through, and one day I made Tyler Florence's Roasted Tomato Soup. If you, too, find yourself in tomato hell, I highly recommend this soup. It was delicious. I had to eat about four thousand Tums afterwards, but it was worth it.
First you roast the tomatoes with garlic and onion, which will make your house smell like complete awesome:
Then you throw all the roasted goodness in a pot with some chicken stock, bay leaf and butter (*sigh*):
Then you add about a cup of fresh basil (also growing like coo-coo in our garden) and puree the heck out of it, then finish it with little bit of heavy cream. Pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich and you've got yourself a fine meal (Tums notwithstanding).
This soup was made with the tomatoes we picked in ONE day, mind you. Three days later we had just as many and I still had heartburn. Yes, there is canning, but a) I am not exactly the country, farming wifey type and b) canning requires effort, and just walking up the stairs to find a kleenex is more than my inflated, child bearing butt can handle these days. Besides, I have to conserve my energy for eating ice cream. If I don't, I might not reach my goal weight of "whale", and what a shame that would be. So for now, I'm resorting to giving them away to neighbors, friends, family, the mailman and the annoying people that come to my door trying to sell me gutter cleaning services, and slipping them into every single one of my hubby's meals (who says tomatoes on pancakes is weird???). If you happen to live in my area, and are need of homegrown, organic tomatoes for FREE, just let me know. You too can make soup and get heartburn. Sounds fun, yes?
Anyway, here's the recipe for the soup:
Roasted Tomato Soup
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 small yellow onions, sliced
- Vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, optional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy cream.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
So, expect updates on my writing (*grumble, grrrr, grumble, grrrrr*), (possibly blurry) pictures of my culinary (mis)adventures, as well as lessons on how to get other moms to think your a few fries short of a happy meal. (It's really easy. Trust me.)
Monday, June 21, 2010
Caffeine: Morning cup-o decaf and midday decaf iced latte
Evil Calories: these little mini mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches from Trader Joe's. Except, I ate all of them, so the "mini" element was sort of lost on me.
I am extremely good at mulit-tasking. Sometimes I think it just comes from being female, and sometimes I think it just comes from being awesome. (It could come from all the caffeine, but, right now, I'm going with the "awesome female" theory.) But over the last week I've been working on two bits of writing simultaneously, and sometimes it feels a little strange. Like I'm trying to pull off wearing socks with sandals. In one corner of my brain I am going back and working out revisions to my "finished" book, and in the other corner of my brain, I am doing a little two-step with an outline for a new little do-dad of an idea. Both tasks are filling me with warm fuzzies, but jumping back and forth between the two tends to leave me a little dizzy. A cheery dizzy. But dizzy all the same. Of course, that could also be the spoonfuls of salted caramel I just inhaled. Or, perhaps, the heat and the nine million percent humidity (which, by the way, is giving me total 80's hair. M...M...M...Motoring...What's your price for flight...)
So, in order to keep everything straight, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy a very chic notebook where I can keep detailed notes. Then, when I got there, I realized I probably needed two notebooks, since I have two different ideas to sort out. I also found a pencil holder, binder clips, thank-you cards and an M & M cookie that were also essential to keeping things in order.
I know. You're astounded by my ability to organize. I get that a lot.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Caffeine: Morning cup-o decaf
Evil Calories: Homemade peasant bread with either honey or Nutella. Every five minutes. Or so.
Who else here thinks mother nature accidentally drank her eye makeup remover again? Seriously, what is the with the weather? Last week I was freezing my cankles off, and now it's 80 and I'm sweating like a fat girl locked out of a donut shop. Just fyi...pregnant + heat = seventh level of hell. Ick. Just ick.
Anyway, in between hot flashes and Twinkie binges (I can't help it! They're spongy and full of cream!), I've finally breathed some life back into my food blog. A) because I love to cook and B) because it's a lovely distraction from all this querying. One cannot check their email every four seconds if one is kneading dough for cinnamon rolls or chopping vegetables for a stir fry, right?
Speaking of the querying - all I will say is that it's going much better than it did for my first book. Of course I've gotten my share of rejections, but I've also gotten a small handful of both partial and full requests. I even had one agent compare my little ol' book to one of my favorite books of all time, which I found shocking and incredibly humbling. Needless to say, I am a very lucky little bunny. Even if nothing ends up happening with this book, I know I caught the attention of a few agents, which can only help me on my next one.
Now, back to cramming my cake hole! So far, I only have a few entries in my food blog (which you can visit here), but with all my wild cravings and the hubby's exceptional photography, it'll be filled out in no time!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Caffeine: morning cup of boring, lame-o decaf that tastes like toes mixed with stale cigarettes
Evil Calories: chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, cinnamon roll, frosting, frosting, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, bacon
Ladies and gentlemen, members of my devoted fan base (you there, mom?), esteemed sock monkeys on my "I'm too pregnant to fit into anything but my pajama pants" pants...the time has come. Yes. That's right. The book is done. I've gotten fabulous feedback from my beta reader. I've made changes, polished it up and threw some holy water on it. So there really is nothing more to do than query the ever living crap out of it.
I know what you're thinking. "That sounds like fun!" Well, then, there's something wrong with you. Because in order to query, you have to have this pesky little thing called a query letter, which makes most writers want to stick fondue forks in their eyes and cram their heads down the garbage disposal. My main problem with the query letter is that I have two paragraphs to relay a 95K word novel. I'm not an "in a nutshell" kind of girl. I've been writing this blog for almost three years. I have 217 posts. Can you remember one thing I've really said? Cuz I can't!
But, alas, the query is the only way to tap on the door, so I'm left to try and cram all the key points of my novel into those two dreaded paragraphs without sounding like a ferret on crack. And obviously, from my 217 posts about NOTHING, I definitely have a "ferret on crack" tendency. Have I mentioned that I'm currently with child and I cannot drink? I can't even enjoy a simple glass of Merlot to lessen the "ferret on crack" ratio. Luckily being pregnant makes me really tired, so that might help a little. Maybe it'll be more like "ferret after a knife fight with a Yettie". Much better. Yeehaw.
So, wish me luck. Or just send me chocolate. And olives. The green ones stuffed with pimentos. And some cheese puffs. And some fried shrimp. Thanks.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Caffeine: morning cup (decaf, but it still has a tiny bit of caffeine, right? RIGHT?)
Evil Calories: 4000 jellybeans
I know you've all been sitting around pulling your eyelashes out wondering what's been going on with me. I have neglected my poor little blog terribly, and, in turn, neglected my fan base (which is most likely been whittled down to my mom and that refugee princess in Uzbekistan who keeps emailing me wanting to give me a billion dollars.) But, for what it's worth, here's what's going on with me:
The book is done. Yes, I said done. Done, done and done. I'm actually really happy with how it turned out. I did a lot of rewriting over the last few months, revamped the beginning, cut some darlings from the middle, threw in a few knife fights for good measure, and I can honestly say it very much resembles what has been swimming around my brain for the last two years. Of course, the big struggle was finding some beta readers who would actually read it and get back to me (novel concept, I know), but I am happy to say it is currently out with one trusted source right now (who gave me great feedback and helped me tremendously with some English Professor details), and it will be going out to another trusted source in about a week. My goal is to start querying in mid-May, June at the latest. Call me delusional, but in the slight, slight, slight chance that it may win the attention of an agent, I need to it to happen before the beginning of fall, because come October, I will be out of commission for a wee bit. And by "wee bit", I mean the next 18 years. Give or take a year.
Yep. That's right. We are having yet another "cutest baby ever in the history of time". To go along with our other "cutest baby ever in the history of time". We're so excited. Mostly because we're really odd people with a bit of a "fly by the seat of your pants" approach to parenting, and the fact that the universe has deemed us fit to raise another is a huge compliment. Big ups to you, universe. We promise to teach this one to do The Robot and sing "Back in Black" in the middle of Target just as well as our little Z-man. We'll make you proud, universe. Or embarrass the hell out of you. You know, whichever.
And lastly, we're making a huge change in our household that is giving my creativity a serious high-impact workout. We're becoming Locavores. Have you seen Food, Inc.? Holy shit, is all I can say. You should see it. And then get ready to be afraid of your freezer. I actually purposely did NOT see it when it first came out because I knew this would happen, though I really had to NO idea how impactful the information would be. It was incredibly eye opening. But becoming a Locavore isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. It takes a lot of work (depending on where you live), a lot of research, and, for us, a lot of creative budgeting. So, I'm thinking of refueling my sad, neglected little food blog to track all of our adventures.
Cuz, you know. I'm so good at keeping up blogs. Makes perfect sense, right?
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Caffeine: ask me again later
Evil Calories: Heath Bar cookies
Bad Reality TV: ANTM reruns
Oh, my poor neglected little blog. Thanks to my super-awesome writer friend Ray Veen, I'm finally giving you some much needed attention. Awesome guy Ray nominated me for a super special blog award.
Ain't it purty? So,in order for me to accept, I must:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link them.
2. Add the award to your blog.
3. Tell six outrageous lies about yourself and one truth.
4. Nominate six creative liars ... I mean, writers and link them.
5. Let your nominees know they've been nominated.
So, first, I'd like to thank Ray, who is totally my hero. He's an amazing, talented writer and his resilience and devotion to the craft is inspiring. Plus, he drinks Guinness and aspires to live in a castle with robots. See? Super cool dude.
Next, the outrageous lies and the one truth. I'll let you figure out which is which.
1. My dad works for a secret, highly classified department of the government. I know the truth about UFOs and have proof that Ryan Seacrest is an evil hybrid android hungry for deviled eggs and human flesh. When my sister and I were little, we had our fingerprints permanently burned off for security reasons. It kinda hurt, but they gave us blue Rocket Pops after, which made it all okay.
2. I once broke my pinky toe simply by sneezing and hiccuping at the same time. I later found out that this is very common.
3. I used to live a haunted house in New York. One night my Grandma was staying with us and she said I walked into her room saying I was scared and that I wanted to sleep with her. She said I crawled into her bed, but when she rolled over a few minutes later, there was no one there. Then corpses started floating in our pool and my sister got sucked into the TV.
4. My mother is obsessed with geese. She has a strange, ethereal connection with them. It's a beautiful thing to witness. Seriously, brings tears to the eyes, people.
5. I'm a total right wing conservative. Ann Coulter is my hero. Her soul is so blindingly pure. Like snow, really. One day I hope to be just like her.
6. The following are my favorite bands of all time: Offspring, Nickelback, Hinder and Puddle of Mud.
7. I hate traveling. Especially to Las Vegas. Worst. City. Ever.
Now, I know the six creative liars I nominate should be fellow bloggers, but I'm going to do things a bit different. Mostly because I have a Pop Tart in the toaster and don't have a whole lot of time. So, here goes:
Of course, I have to nominate my super fabulous sister, Amy Ellis. I'd also like to nominate my son, who doesn't have a blog but makes amazing shit up all time (ie. the cat ate my X-wing so we need to go to Toys R Us to get another one). Then there is my awesome husband, who tries to convince me he didn't delete my episodes of Barefoot Contessa off the DVR to make room for more racing shows on the Speed Channel. Next, I'll go for the barista at my Starbucks who claims he giving my non-fat milk when I know it's really 2% (don't worry pal, I'll send you my liposuction bills). Actually, I'd like to nominate him twice, since he always tells me to have a "super delicious day". That's just weird. And I don't believe him. I think he wants me to really have a fat, sour, bloated day. And lastly, I'd like to nominate Maggie, my dear friend from high school, who told me, after getting the worst spiral perm known to man, that my hair looked good. I'll never forget that. She's good people.