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The Painted Veil

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This is one of those movies I wanted to see in the theater, but didn't get to.  Now I'm wishing I did -- okay, except for the cholera vomiting parts.  I could do without that on the big screen.  It's based on a W. Somerset Maugham novel, which I will not have to read.  But I LOVED the movie.  It's not for the faint of heart.  Not really a happy movie, but it has the most beautiful picture of love in it -- what true love is.  I don't know what it is in me that loves the unrequited love story, but this one left me thoroughly satisfied.

It's so well-acted, and just pretty to look at.  

 Anyone else seen it?


Can Someone Explain Jersey Shore to me?

Okay, admission:  I haven't seen the show.  There is something so repulsive about that group to me.  The way they bare it all, and please, it ain't all that great to begin with -- clothing should not be optional here.  But what does this show celebrate?  Boozing, partiers without jobs?  Do they have jobs?  What are these people's point in life?  To numb themselves into oblivion?  Isn't that just a precursor to "Intervention?" Or maybe now that they're famous, "Celebrity Rehab"?  

Is it the train wreck factor?  I sort of feel for them because after this, and considering their one-note talents, this won't last long.  But what's next?  Will their life's purpose evolve?  Or erode from this?  


What doth thy covet?

Robin Lee Hatcher is currently doing a gratitude journal.  And I am grateful!  I am grateful for so many things, not the least of which is my daughter going for an overnighter with her best friend and coming home tomorrow afternoon (so I can work, not because I won't miss her -- she just talks a lot -- boys just make noises.)  I'm grateful my son got his last minute check-up so he can leave for a FABULOUS college summer camp -- which cost me nearly a whole book.  (But I just had that Mommy instinct that this was perfect for him.)  I'm glad David Crowder is coming back to California.

In case you didn't notice, I'm not really a stuff person.  I'm an experience person.  I want to live life fully. When my kids are grown, I have big plans.  I'm definitely going to Australia.  I'm not wasting money on their tickets, since none of them want to go.  Sigh.  

I come by it honestly.  My parents sold their RV and took us all on a cruise to Mexico.  When they bought a new one they were so excited and asked me to come camping.  I told them I'd wait until they sold this one and go on another cruise.  LOL 

Still, every once in a while, I get a bug in my bonnet, and I want something.  Today, that something is...

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I do not need a new iMac, but I want one.  My kids are always on my Mac, making movies and getting creative, and who doesn't want that?  I want that.  Just not on my work Mac.   

What do you covet?  Life experience?  Family time?  Places? Shoes?  Personally, I want life experiences in good shoes.  : )


Instant #Bachelorette Recap:

First off, the guys look good in the studio.  Lighting helps everyone it seems.  Ali is not from San Francisco.  She lived there.  There's a difference.  Just sayin' She's an East Coast girl, it's written all over her. As a fourth generation Native Californian, I protest.  Loudly.  

Ali says in her mind, Frank was in love with her. Sheesh.  Haven't we all felt like that before we got dumped.  Sucks.  We get it Ali. What we don't get is, why Kermit? 

Did you hear during introductions?  The girls yelled the loudest for Ty.  Have you learned nothing?  This is how we ended up with Jake Pavelka.  He is NOT interesting.  I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but please don't give him a Bachelor try.  No.   20 Seasons and still, they scream for the nice guy.  Marry the nice guy.  Love the nice guy.  Don't make him our Bachelor.

So when Chris "The Phantom" speaks, he's rated R about Rated R. Craig the crazy isn't there tonight.  Must not have been able to get a weekend pass.  The guys are all picking on "The Weatherman".  Something tells me this is a familiar place for the weatherman.  So the weatherman says, "Ali came to us and asked us to tell her..."  Still not okay to tattle dude.  Man up.  Jesse did.  Dang, he's good looking.  He reminds me of David Beckham.  Or Michelangelo's David. 

Casey freaks me out. Methinks he's seen Shrek too many times. Oh and the singing.  AWKWARD!  He can't sing.  And worse, he doesn't know it!  He should have been on American Idol with his Mama telling us how talented he was. At least he has the decency to be humiliated watching it back. He says there's a girl out there who would like that kind of wooing.  There is, but she's needy, pathetic and codependent. My guess is, she'd scare him first.

Kirk looks good.  I think he'd be a great Bachelor.  He's got the crazy family and he's fun.  He's a little manic and his daddy dissects animals.  How can you not love him?  I find him interesting.  Ty, not so much.  Plus, didn't we hear that name Ty enough on whiny Mesnick's season?  We did.  

Justin.  Hasn't he had his fifteen minutes?  Enough.  He didn't commit murder.  He's just a dog.  Without a real job.  Who lives at home with Mama and has two girlfriends.  Don't they check these guys out at all?  

Kirk and Ali's communication was warm and sweet.  Casey's -- I'm hearing Sting, "I'll be watching you."  Not whatever bad song he's singing.

You know, you'd think Roberto would be the Don Juan, but something tells me, Chris is more of a dog.  But I will say, it's hard to see. He looks pretty good from the outside.  I wonder if he is.  

The Bachelor Pad looks bad.  Twister?  In Daisy Dukes?  Oh no!!!  Scary Hair guy is back.  Ewww.  This preview is disturbing.  It looks like all the parts I skip through on the Bachelor/Bachelorette.  Ick.  I am grossed out.  I feel like I've been in one of those hot tubs.  Violated.  Blech.  I'm going to be in Mexico when this debuts.  I think I will skip it because I just don't want to know there are that many good-looking, disturbed people in the world.  Ignorance is bliss.


Can't Touch This!!!

So I knew all that MTV after school would come in handy.  Today, to motivate myself to get off my bum, I bought a new game, "Just Dance" -- well, you know, most of the dance steps are from the original videos.  Which gives me a TOTAL head start against my kids, who have not seen MC Hammer move baby!  And may I just say, "You can't touch this!"  23 on the Wii Fit baby.  They were disturbed watching me Hammer dance.  All of them piled in to laugh at me.  Until, they couldn't beat me.  You can't touch this!  LOL

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Reflections on Finishing a Novel...

I currently feel about eighty years' old.  I'm exhausted.  My fingers hurt from typing and my brain is overwhelmed by the brain-stunning intellect of a "Simpsons" rerun.  

Gosh, to be normal...

My kids were gone for the entire week, and yet I was up until three a.m. writing every night.  The other night, I watched this show "Mary Knows Best" -- a reality show about a psychic.  She went into an antique store and was overwhelmed by all the energy.  Now I'm no psychic (if I were, I would totally have done better in school!), but I do feel energy around me.  Deeply. To the point where if the kids are agitated, I'm a basket case.  I really put myself into my characters that way too, and it's not all that healthy.  Karen Kingsbury can write a bestselling book in the time it takes me to edit one.  That is not only disappointing, but I'll bet Karen comes out perfectly normal at the other end of the process.  What. A. Gift.

So I borrowed this book from the library, "The Highly Sensitive Person in Love" -- it's not really about romance, it's about relationships and how they affect a highly sensitive person.  There are two types, the author claims.  The Highly Sensitive Person, the author claims, "It's not that our eyes and ears are better, but that we sort what comes in more carefully.  We like to inspect, reflect, ponder.  This process is not necessarily conscious!"  Hah!  Take that all you nasty folk who tell me how judgmental I am.  Is it my fault I could not believe the mother in "Ramona & Beezus" because of her ridiculous, rainbow-shaped eyebrows that no mother, who is not a porn star, would have?  It is NOT!  I just notice. And it annoys me.  (LOVED the movie though, and I loved Ramona as a child, and even more as an adult realizing, Ramona, like me, was an obnoxious girl before her time!)

The other night, I turned on 20/20 or one of those shows, and this man was talking.  He literally made me shudder, but I didn't even know what the show was about.  He was wearing normal clothes.  His pastor said he was a good man who had been railroaded, but I knew, I mean KNEW this man was wicked inside.  I could read him so easily because of the way he defended himself.  It turns out, this man: Dave Hawk was arrested and subsequently convicted of her murder.  People, including his daughter and his pastor defend him and he continues to battle the conviction.  But I tell you, as sure as I sit here, this guy did it.  I knew he did it before I even knew what he did.

Back to the novel.  After I finished this rewrite, I literally felt drained and I turned on the TV and what should be on, but the beginning of "Romancing the Stone" where Joan Wilder has just typed her last great missive.  "That was the end of Grogan... the man who killed my father, raped and murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog, and stole my Bible!"  Then, Joan celebrates with a fire in the fireplace and a meal shared with her cat on fine china.  

The truth of that scene for the writer is SOOO huge.  I mean, it's not like we're here writing "Crime and Punishment", but it still takes a lot out of us.  Because we're sensitive.  So the sensitivity book also claims we must search for the optimal amount of arousal.  Careful to not enter a state of overarousal.  But then, "Up the Stakes" as "Writing the Breakout Novel" states, add this to your weirdness:  Alongside the sensitive person, there is also the Sensation Seeking individual.  People who are "born with a nervous system that makes them easily bored, and willing to take more risks to get ahead or have a new experience.

Heavens.  There is no hope for me.  I cannot finish a novel like a normal person.  I have to throw myself into it and find out what makes someone tick.  I have to know the answer -- what's the thrill of swing dancing?  Why does Fred Astaire endure?  Why did Ginger Rogers throw fits to wear the dress she designed? Why did I have to get rid of the couch that invaded my mental space? 

I think my answer lies in the Sensitivity book.  Artist feel things deeper.  It doesn't matter than I'm not Dostoevsky.  Or even Karen Kingsbury.  Basically, I'm wired a certain way.  Perhaps bordering on obsessive.  Here's how the book describes it:

"They certainly have versatility, a combination of the HSP's vision and the HSS's drive, but their optimal level of arousal is very narrow because they are easily overwhelmed AND easily bored." 

 I think that's why when Thomas Nelson talked with me about the Billionaire novel, I thought, okay, but what if...  Because the billionaire didn't stir anything in me.  One of my favorite Christian novelists once told me that you don't have to FEEL everything to put it into a book.  Heavens, I hope that's true.  I'm just not there yet.  Because while I sit here, grateful to be done, and worn out, I think, "WHAT IS NEXT? LET'S GO!"

But I do have to behave on my vacation in Mexico because the last time I went to a spa with my BFF, she told me never again because I couldn't sit still.  I am going to sit still, with as many books as possible.  If it kills me!  That too, can be trouble.  I think I've read about 25 books in the time it took me to write just one!  

Do you take on too much?  How do you scale back and find balance?

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That Bogan with the Staffy? He's a hot mess!

So Nic from Australia and I have ongoing conversations all day long.  Because I'm up late, and she's up early, the Down Under time warp works for us.  

Once in a while, we get caught up in a translations issue.  Now Nic sent me a book called "The True Blue Guide to Australian Slang" and I have to say, I LOVE me some Aussies.  They have words with that English wit that goes straight to the heart of the matter, but with the downhome quality of an American redneck.  

So today, I finished my editing on "A Billion Reasons Why".  Because I'd gone from computer to computer, and had the kids home, the first manuscript was a hot mess, so it took me forever.  

"A hot mess?" Nic asks.  

"Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan = hot mess."

The other day she sent me a pic of a Bogan house.  (Aussie redneck) She told me he was the real deal.  Had sheets on the window and a Staffy (Staffordshire Bull Terrier. What we call a pit bull.)

I just find it funny that white trash and crazy folk (and let's face it, we share Mel) are universal truths, but language evolves.  Most of the Aussie slang that makes me laugh out loud is pretty straight forward.  Here are a few of my faves: 

Stunned Mullet: Dazed and confused.

Suicide Blonde: a blonde who dyed her hair at home.

Go bush: leave the city for a humble lifestyle (um, no thank you!)

In honor of my Aussie theme, here is art from the museum Nic went.  Ron Mueck is his name and he does these sculptures that are creepily lifelike.  I have to admit, if I had the right kind of house, I would enjoy having a creepy, fat baby in my foyer.  Though, that probably makes me a Bogan.  Wait, the sofa on the front porch already does that.  

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I Cleaned my Room!

I'm in the home stretch of the "A Billion Reasons Why" edit.  I love this book, just because I love the era and the romanticism of a simpler time when less was more.  

I was feeling overwhelmed by my desk this morning, and do you remember when your mom told you to clean your room, and you shoved everything in the closet, praying she didn't open it before you got out the door?  Well, I want to report this tactic still works.  I cannot see anything that was on my desk.  It's all there, but I'm hoping to get the book out the door before I notice.

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And there's my new couch.  Great color, huh?  It looks good with my French Country chairs, but it's still kid proof. 


An Elegant Frittata Goes Camping...

This is the headline on my newspaper this morning as I bent to pick it up.  I thought, really?  Does that person exist?  The one who wants to camp and have an elegant frittata to COOK in the morning?  I mean, sure the person who wants a frittata, no problem, but the one who is willing to cook one and camp?  I'd love to meet them.  No, actually I wouldn't.  Because I'd rather be at the nearby restaurant on a lovely outdoor deck overlooking nature, not being one with it.

A frittata sounds like something I'd want a Diet Coke with -- don't ask me why, just would.  Somehow I'd need that in a glass with ice and who wants an elegant frittata on a paper plate?  Or are you going to run it under those camp faucets and clean a real dish? 

They wonder why the newspaper is dying?  Maybe because your demographic for frittata-loving campers is smaller than you think.  Just sayin.  I'm happy to note that I stepped over my frittata-graced newspaper on my way to Starbucks and I bought myself a coffee cake.  Life is good.  My family is camping without me.  They're good with that too, as Elle told me I ruined the last trip.  You know what, baby?  Take mommy to a hotel and see who ruins the vacation.  It would be daddy saying you can't order a hot chocolate. Let me show you a picture of Elle when I took her to see Glee, and you tell me who knows how to vacation.

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And to my mother, who thinks that RVing is such a luxurious way to camp (and lent my family her rig) -- no Mom, it's not.  I spend every day wrapped in a van with kids fighting over the radio, so hey, what could make that any better?  Oh hey, put a kitchen in that van and bring the dog, now you're on VACATION.  Not.

I have to admit.  I'm a little jealous at the moment.  Just got these photos.  

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"I'M KING OF THE WOOOORLD!!!"  

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