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Comedy...

So last night, my DH and I went to see Brian Regan at Montalvo in Saratoga.  Live comedy is my absolute favorite thing to do.  But I have to admit, I prefer it with a margarita in hand.  Sue me.  I'm not a wine chick.  Seriously, I can tell the difference in undertones from coffee -- I prefer the Costa Rican sweetness -- but you could serve me vinegar and tell me it was good wine.  I'd be like, mmmm, k.

So back to our night:  We just moved a 3,000 square foot house into 1600 square feet this weekend.  Strike that, some of it is still in the backyard and front until I can sell it on Craigslist.  So I was not in the mood for comedy.  I was sort of in the mood to rip someone's head off, but I didn't have tickets for that.  (We were supposed to move next weekend or I wouldn't have bought them!)  

Anyway, Brian's brother Dennis opened for him.  I enjoyed hearing another perspective from the same household.  It's like that book "Running with Scissors" compared to "Look me in the Eye!"  Same household, completely different experiences.  

So I'm working today, even though I am being pushed out by boxes o' crap, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  I just wanted to comment that Brian Regan has absolutely the best comic timing of anyone I know.  Even when you know it's coming, he gave me an ab workout with the punchline.  I want to be Brian when I grow up.  

If you haven't heard him, here's one of my favorite bits: Little League

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On Being Christian...is your house in order?

Cross As a Catholic, you grow up memorizing and spouting these words, "He suffered, died and was buried.  On the third day, He rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures..."  You're reminded of that death in the Crucifix, which come on, is pretty scary to look at.  When you're a child, nothing says this is serious business like a half-naked man dying. Juxtapose that with the serene and beautiful, Holy Mary and you have yourself the Gospel laid out visually, so you don't have to be that bright.  I liked this.

It's complex too.  If you want to go find out how the dinosaurs play into things, and how the earth was created...say science is your game...He can give you enough to keep you busy in this lifetime.  But if you're a simple girl and you just want to know your expectations, there they are, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." 

But that is not at all what the world thinks of when they think of Christians.  They don't think about Jesus dying for our sins, or all the good works being done, or the fact that so many people would go hungry without ministries around the world.  Unfortunately, the culture of Christianity speaks pretty loudly and it's an irritating, screeching voice.  If you haven't seen the movie "Saved" and you can take a hard look at some of the sad realities of a culture gone awry, see this one.  Just to know what SEEMS true to other people outside the church.

So my new neighbor is reading a book by a well-known (non-fiction) Christian author, and she is upset because the book is all about how having a well-ordered home and kids who do as they're told, is the key to Christian living.  Now I get that God is not a God of chaos, but where oh where did we get this idea that living life under plastic sheeting is the key to perfection??? And where praytell did we get the idea that being perfect is our job anyway?  Was King David perfect?  Jacob?  Peter?  Paul?  These guys committed some pretty awful sins, but yet God loved them.  Why do you think that is?

I think it's because they KNEW they weren't perfect.  They knew they needed God's grace and they searched for it, they desired it -- they wanted to know His will for their life.  They didn't fill themselves so full of gusto, that they thought they'd let everyone else know how to fulfill the perfect Christian life. We want it so perfect don't we?  Take road C, turn left at D and when you come to a fork in the road, stop right there, you can't make a decision like that!

So here's the thing.  If you come to my house for dinner, I may forget the napkins and maybe your fork won't be in the right place, but when you're in my home, you are WELCOME here.  I will love on your kids and I will let them know my expectations, but they will have fun and be safe.  Hospitality, if you can do it like Martha Stewart, that is lovely, but if you do it to show me how perfectly Martha you are?  I'm busy that night.  

Martha is CHASTISED by Jesus for not being more like Mary and choosing people/relationship over stuff that "needed" to be done.  (Luke 10)  Yet, so many Christian books hold this standard up to women like this is how to get close to God.

I submit, if you're ADD, or a working mother, or a single chick and this is not your gig?  Do not let some woman who is naturally controlling or detail-oriented tell you this is how to get close to God.  Serving people in LOVE, not out of obligation is the way to serve. I am sick of the Pharisaical notion that it's serving to be seen.  God sees you in the quiet.  He knows your heart and your skill-set.  And he's not going to ask you to debone a duck to prove yourself worthy.

Life is not a one-way street. I wish it were as easy as that, but it's not.

My current book is about mental illness.  I'm not quite happy with the ending yet, but it's about the hard questions in life.  Incidentally, my character's husband is paranoid schizophrenic, which I'll just bet turns out to be the diagnosis in the Duggard case -- they see reality in their own way, and they will force you to your will.  This little girl no doubt, changed her way of thinking to survive.  This is what happens when we slowly succumb to the rules being what we'd like them to be.  

I think a lot of Christians can unwittingly do this type of thing -- get you to believe THIS is God's will.  Living THIS way, in order and organization will bring God's harmony and peace into your home - but what happens if your husband leaves you?  Or if one of your kids (God forbid) is kidnapped like poor Jaycee?  What happens if life doesn't play by the rules?  Does your faith still work?  

I submit to you that mine does.  I have been an executive wife in a big house with four lovely children and a pool to invite people over to -- parties to plan and private school decisions to be made.  And I've been the busy working mom of four kids with a husband's retirement plan that didn't quite go as expected, and a whole lot of harsh living, illness and deaths in between.  

Contrary to some people's opinions, this is not God's punishment on me or my family. The truth is that if I ran a perfect home and none of this happened to me and my family, I might get caught up in the fact that God is hear to be the "yes" in my Magic 8 Ball.  Doesn't work that way, and if you think you're living the perfect Christian life but no one likes you?  You might ask yourself if the sound you hear is your own clanging gong.  Christians need more compassion.  On each other and those outside the church.  There but for the grace of God go I.


I've Moved...

Okay, I'm in my new house.  I'm including my photo here because I cannot move a square inch from my desk, so maybe I'll get my edits done.  I wore my '85 Adam Ant shirt in honor of the fact that I dislike change.  Could this be a mug shot or what?  LOL

Photo 284 Believe it or not, I am not the hoarder.  Honestly, I think my husband could go on that show "Hoarders".  He must have 8 blankets predating WWII, and I totally wish I were kidding.  We are spilling into the backyard, spilling out onto the driveway.  He didn't get the trash picked up early from all the work he did (this is akin to crap on top of the car -- he is determined to make us ghetto.)  The Clampetts have arrived.  

We have already met lovely neighbors (Christians YAY!) from Elle's school and tonight, they brought us dinner after our long day.  Not just dinner, but Caprese salad, tortellini and BBQ'd chicken -- oh and cut veggies with hummis.  How cool is that?  And after what we did to their house value, by moving in.  

It was 103 degrees today.  I wore my MS ice vest, and it melted in a matter of minutes.  So after we get all settled, I'll take pictures.  I think we're going to like it here.  The kids all walk to school, and I'm within walking distance of Beard Papas and Yogurtland.  

This is not good because I'm not actually going to walk, and who knows what the calorie count is on one of those eclairs.  Yogurtland COULD be healthy, but I totally bury mine in M&Ms, so it's not.  

So DH put in hardwood (the Lego kind that clicks together) for me, he painted every room and we got new curtains, so the place looks great.  But there's no air conditioning and this is a small space in the heat, so that might be our first expensive upgrade.  Lord willing we have a job soon.  I'm working on my Young Adult edits this week and it's back to work.  With the kids walking, I actually get an extra two hours a day, can you believe it?


Shopping is Depressing...

I dress terribly.  I can spend money on a handbag, but other than jeans, it's hard for me to spend money on clothing.  I never go anywhere.  No one ever sees me, so what do I care?I wear a frumpy, holey cashmere sweater over my standard white T and Joe's Jeans.  That's my uniform.  It works and does my barista really care what I wear?  Maybe now that Starbucks has raised their prices, I should point out the hole in my sweater.

So here's the thing.  I HATE dressing my age.  Yes, I'm 43 soon.  Does that mean I want a stupid, boxy coat that ends at the hip, with no waistline whatsoever in BEIGE?  It does not.  Where does an adult shop? I'm sorry for people who like it, but I abhor all things naturey and Cold Water Creek.  It makes me want to jump in one.  Same goes for Lands End -- it says to me, "Oh I give up.  Throw me in a beige cardigan and shove me under the bus why don't you?

I know I'm going to be one of those old ladies in sequins with too much blush on.  I just know it.  I will try not to keep my hair jet black when my skin gets all ashy, but I'm not promising anything.  Truth be told, the colorful old lady has better stories to tell anyway. 

I'm going to a writers' conference in Denver soon.  And seriously, I have clothes and will probably buy nothing, but it irritates me that I can't even be tempted.  Okay, this tempted me but it's the wrong season and I look pathetic in yellow -- sallow and sickly. And I'm not blonde...but you know, that's something to think about.  : ) 

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Shark Tank...

CurtainRods Got home later after a day of packing and shopping for exciting things like...curtain rods.  WOOOHOO!  So I watched Shark Tank, which is really a rehash of the business show I used to watch on MSNBC before the upbeat anchor (can't remember his name) had an affair.  How novel.  

Anyway, they have people come out marketing their wares before business experts, and get emotionally creamed and have their dreams crushed publicly.  Oh yeah, this is going to be a hit in a down economy.  Bring me more rich guys decimating the average joe!  Can't they give them a parting gift at least?  You have won an annual flu shot! 

So the last guy up is from Pleasanton, CA.  So he's smart enough to live in a beautiful and very cool place, so he can't be stupid, am I right?  Well, here's the thing, he's not.  He's come up with a folding guitar (he's patented the hinge!) and when it opens it's still in tune.  So you can travel with it.  And he's designed a really cool backpack to go with it.

Well, they basically offer him money if he gives over 51% of the company and let's them handle the business aspect.  Because "THEY" can handle it better and make him more money.  Which, you know, maybe they can.  They've got that patent, which is huge, and they could sell that.  But they call him an idiot basically for walking away from their $$ brilliance.  And all I could think is this father and son have made a great product.  They live in Pleasanton and they don't look like money sucked the life out of them.  

I can't handle this show because basically, I don't see money as success.  You can have all the money in the world and still be a jerk.  To me, if you can bury yourself in a $100k casket, but no one comes to your funeral, is that really a success?  Speaking of which, could the Jackson family get it together and bury Michael?  What the heck?  Quit acting like animals and put the man in the grave.  Honest to goodness, I want to give someone a smack.

Back to the show: Money should come from your passion and bettering the world.  Making money to make money seems futile to me, because those people who make it seem so disconnected.  Did anyone read "Snowball"?  That was just depressing.  Warren Buffet's intimate relationships are weird at best.  

So yeah, my prediction is this show is off the air soon unless they change the format and get an uplifting soul on the show.  I hear Paula Abdul is free.

Mark Burnett is producing it.  He should know better.  


Bill & Giuliana Rancic

I LOVE this new show.  Bill is the winner of the first "Apprentice" and Giuliana is from "E! News".  Their new reality show is the two of them and their long-distance marriage.  He's in Chicago developing houses, and she's in LA doing her nightly show with Ryan Seacrest.

The things I love:  I'm Italian and I LOVE that this show has an Italian family in all its tacky glory.  Italians say what they think, which is hysterical and it makes me long for the old days.

She's also a drama queen, and obsesses over stupid things like dresses and if a chair is a recliner, during the move with fourteen trucks on the street.  Does that remind you of anyone?

So I check out the message boards on the show, and WOW!  There are a lot of haters out there.  They're like, "There's a recession on!!  I want to watch this ugly woman buy a $26k coffee table?"  Okay, first off, she didn't buy the table.  Secondly, she is a beautiful woman and you only wish you looked as good in a mini-dress as she.  

I don't know about you, but as I leave my dream house and haven't had a book on the shelves for an eternity, it does my heart good to see people doing well.  It makes me remember everything has a season, and that someday our ship will come in again.

They make huge sacrifices right now (living apart) so that they'll be settled and ready for their family later.  Everyone's priorities change when they have kids, and theirs will too.  In the meantime, I love watching the two of them, how different they are and their bond.

I could do without the gay sidekick, Matt.  He's obnoxious.  And not in a good way.  

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The show is upbeat.  It makes me happy, like Fred Astaire during WWII, we need more lightweight fare right now.  So I'm a fan.


Humor

I have a warped sense of humor.  My kids have inherited it, and sometimes, they can have me doubled over in laughter.  After I sent my book off today (YAY!), we went to Ikea to see if they had bean bags for the boys' new room.  (They don't, incidentally.)  Anyway, I have a thing about piling things on the top of the car, and looking like white trash.  My husband has a thing about taking the entire living room and needing that space when we go anywhere.

So today, we're at Ikea, leaving and there is a guy with these cheap, khaki sofa on the top of his brand new BMW.  He's tying it down, and my son Seth stops in his tracks, with all the right inflections, turns to me and says, "Now THAT is white trash!"  

Silicon Valley style I guess.  LOL  

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My Monkness

If you're a fan of the show, "Monk", you know he always says his OCD is a blessing and a curse.  I feel this way about details.  I am one of those people who just hones in on the details and how they "should" look.

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This creates problems in editing because I can never actually finish a book.  I will write the same chapter over and over until finally I relent.  Tonight I'm in the final stages of my longest book ever.  I started it in October of 2007.  So rather than bring 'er home, I went shopping on Zappos for a new bag.  Yes, I know I don't need it, but it's soothing to think the perfect bag is out there.  

I wanted a new structured satchel, and there are plenty out there.  There's one at Target this very minute for $24.99 -- except it's those details.  I hate purses with black interiors, you can't find anything.  I hate cheap hardware on a bag.  I hate leather than doesn't hold up.  I despise a bag without feet on the bottom to protect its baby bottom nature.  And I dislike busy interiors on a bag.  It's too taxing for the ADD brain. 

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The first handbag is on sale at Zappos for $2800.  It's an Alexander McQueen?  Who?  I know, but I am LOVING the details.  The second one is Jimmy Choo and this is so cute.  Elle and I were in Nordstroms and saw this one, and she went to it, with her arms outstretched, "Mommy, look at this one!"

I know, huh?  Jimmy Choo (an English woman, not a Chinese man incidentally) has got the handbag down. I personally think the shoes need work.  They're not comfortable.  Go for Louboutins if you're going to spend that kind of money on a shoe.  

I am a practical woman.  Sort of. My life has no need of a $2k purse, but why did God "bless" and "curse" me with the gift.  Why do I need to see the details?  I wish I was as good at seeing them in my books on the first go-around.

Happy day all.  Oh wait, if you want to see how far I'm off from my perfect life at the moment?  Here is my new bedroom before. The after is coming.

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Oh my gosh, I think I just barfed a little bit.


Enough already...

Jeff-lewis-back-on-market I love reality TV.  I'm not going to lie.  I love that sneak peek into people's lives with the boring parts edited out. It's the modern-day soap operas, and I was known to schedule my classes around "All My Children" during college.  

Only now, they're trying to "up the stakes" the point that I can't stomach it.  And I have a cast-iron stomach.  But I also like happy news, and the reality shows are getting like the evening news: depressing.  I cannot stand that there are people in the world evil enough to kill others out of rage/vengeance.  I can't watch news about the war because it seems like my country doesn't support its own soldiers, and I find that disgusting, considering I have the right to watch garbage television because they're fighting my battle.  

So what's left?  I mean, you can only fake shop on handbag sites for so long, right?  You have to actually finish a book to buy one.  With all these depressing shows, how am I supposed to do that?  I don't want you walking away depressed from one of my books.  I want you to remember that there is good in the world.  That God has blessed you in so many ways.

So I'm depressed that the Bachelorette I invested in selected a player.  I'm depressed that Jon Gosselin who seemed a namby-pamby really needed someone to control him, lest he turn into a male Kardashian.  Speaking of which, I'm sad that people are famous for nothing.  That Speidi thinks they're doing the world a favor by bringing us a "Christian" Playboy model.  (Can't we make that couple go away for good?)  

I haven't given up hope that other people out there want real, yet not completely depressing stories.  We're not ready for "Jude the Obscure" yet, right?  We're not giving up.  School is starting.  A new season of "Flipping Out" has begun.  

Jeff Lewis will cheer me up.  Yes, he's completely narcissistic and offbeat, but the difference is, he totally admits it, and he's fun to watch.  He has a point.  He's striving for success in his life.  He isn't famous for nothing.  He's famous because he is a perfectionist in a business known to cut corners (contracting.) 

In contrast, Spencer Pratt, a confessing Christian, sees himself as bettering humanity by giving us naked pics of his wife.  Gee, isn't that the man you want for yourself?  

I could blog on how depressing pop music has gotten, too.  What happened to our candy-coated, sugar-sweet 80's tunes?  And what, Lady Gaga, is a disco stick?  No wait, don't answer that.  

Though I have to admit, "Waking up in Vegas" by Katy Perry makes me very happy.  It's a good one to sing in the car.


American Idol goes Brit.

Posh.

Well, the word is that Posh is being paid $3 million to take Paula's place on "American Idol".  How many years did Paula have to work for that same amount of money?  And they give it outright to a Brit, who is married to "Saint Beckham" as I call him in my YA.  Do they need the money?  Come on, Paula needs the money and we don't want to see another Brit, we want Paula.

I really think this is going to backfire for Idol.  I was already tuning out with the fourth judge.  Now we have a fourth judge we don't know?  Who is not happy or an American?  I don't know Dawg, I just don't know.