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What is it that makes dolls so creepy?

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I've never been a fan. Dolls just creep me out. I swear to you that I took this picture several times and it ALWAYS turned out like this. Why? Because there are dolls in it. And there are reasons that Chuckie gives us nightmares.

Barbies somehow don't creep me out. I'm sure it's her natural measurements.

This picture was taken in our B&B, which was BEAUTIFUL. When in St. Augustine, we went on the "Ghosts & Gravestones" tour. (The first guy canceled the historical walking tour! Boo!) What a hoot this tour was. Okay, here's my advice, if you're ever in an unknown city? Go on a cheesy tour like this. My BFF went on the "Sex and the City" tour of NYC. These kind of cheesy tours attract the best people and you'll have so much fun. Because it is a collection of folks not afraid to look stupid for a good time. You can't do better than that.

The only time I was afraid on the ghost tour is when we walked through the lighthouse park and Nancy told me there could be snakes. LOL I ran to that bus. Ghost tours are amazing from a historical aspect. You get to hear all the sad tales of people past. I just love that in life, knowing the adversity people had to overcome. It makes my struggles feel so small and that makes me grateful.


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Do you have a doll collection? WHY? WHY? WHY?

FYI: I have a migraine, so perhaps my sentence structure is not at its best today. Forgive me.


Serendipity

I'm one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason. It's our job to search our journey and see what we're supposed to learn from it. (Note: if you don't learn it the first time? God will force the issue again and again, so go with me on this, and try your best to get it!) My latest story of Serendipity starts in St. Augustine, FL.


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They don't let you walk in this graveyard, but tell me this does not write a whole book in itself with that scene? I have always loved to walk through graveyards and read obituaries (ask my son, I turn to them and the crossword puzzle first thing when I read the paper.) It's not the macabre of the scenario, it's a life in stories. Your life will eventually be condensed to a paragraph or an epitaph. What will it say? I love characters and finding out people's stories (which is the reason my kids hate to go on vacation with me, I'm somewhat like Anderson Cooper on vacations.)

I don't pry. If people don't want to tell me their life story, I'll leave them alone. But yesterday, by pure accident (or providence depending on your viewpoint) I sit next to a Texas man from Abilene. He has just been to his grandfather's funeral and he is reading the book of Job on the plane. (Which reminds me, I had Ashley read her Bible to deflect fellow passengers from talking -- this does not work on myself. Who knew?)

This man's life's journey was incredible. I learned of heartbreak ten years' ago, his subsequent move to California and healthy living...and his beautiful fiance. (Who I just loved because she found a way to make a living so she could buy purses and shoes -- how can I not love her?) This man's life is roses. He created a successful life after almost dying from alcohol poisoning twice, and no college experience by getting away from the trouble and starting over. After ten years here, he never thought he'd find love. But he did. Here's how you know this moment in time was really kismet.

We talked about what I write and in "Save the Cat" the author tells you to test out your ideas on people. So I tell this Texas boy that I want to write a gothic romance. I proceed to explain that genre, and get this...Mr. Texas has a movie of an apparition on his iPhone. You know I have to see it, right? He explains where he works. A completely romantic and WEALTHY place nearby that is so exclusive, most people will never get on the inside. Ghosts are not spoken of in such an exclusive place and I have NEVER heard of it being haunted.

"Is it talked about that it's haunted?"
"No. Oh no."
I googled it when I got home. NOTHING about these apparitions seen by multiple employees and even viewed on video tape. Of course, everyone wants their job, so it's not public. I should also mention that my Texas hero with the hot, model fiance is in construction. Tough guy. Not a believer in the odd things of life -- yet he has a ghostly apparition on his iPhone that will never be on YouTube because he wants his job. As do others. Others who have witnessed men in house hats sitting in the passenger seat of their car.

I'll tell you, I could take a lot of things...But seeing an apparition in my car has to be the all-time scare fest, right? That's totally creepy. It's like that old story they told where the bloody hook is on the car handle when you get home -- remember that one you heard at camp?

Anyway, don't worry, I am not writing this kind of book. Think more angelic and Supernatural with a touch of creepy because you don't understand fully. But God gave me a hero, a setting and a story with just one airplane ride. Four hours of information and I am READY to get to it. As soon as I finish this final version of Smitten today.

So have you had those moments where you're like, DANG, God gave me everything I needed in this walking encyclopedia of a person? And your mind goes to John Cusack and a movie about a chocolate shop because everything falls into place? How could you not want to go back in time with this inspiration?


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I read the news, and sheesh, who doesn't want to go back to a different place where kids don't shoot each other? Not without a war anyway.


#Bachelor in Interlaken

First off, let me state that Interlaken is one of my favorite places on the planet. I LOVE this city and it is so romantic. And even though I once shut down the entire hotel's electricity (not understanding that whole European plug thing) something tells me, they'd like me back. LOL Maybe not.


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When you stand over this river, no matter the season, it's like an air conditioner. Oh, I'm having dreamy memories. Okay, Ben and his entourage, which includes Lindzi, Courtney and Jacki. The show is SOOO boring that they have to inject a promo for the new Bachelorette and an ad for Titanic 3D in the middle of the show.

Ben squires the women about, looks like he's going to cr** his pants half the time, while the girls try to bolster his manliness as they repel down granite cliffs and take helicopter rides. Girls, you better know how to wield a power tool with this one. The force is not strong in him.

Kacie B returns to warn Ben again and find out why she was dumped. Note to Kacie: your parents made it clear how they felt about the living together issue and Ben knew "fantasy suites" were coming up. Which can't even be thought of as fantasy suites because Ben was part of the decor. (I'm sorry, I'm just not a fan.)

Seriously, I met a hero on the way home from Florida who would be perfect for the Bachelor, except he's getting married in October. Okay, partly, I loved him because his fiance is me 20 years ago. This fiance knew "The Bachelor"; "The Housewives"; "Coach"; Michael Kors and Zappos because that's what his fiance loved. I'm totally working him into a book because ladies, there are good men out there. He's 34 and just not getting snatched up. So not bad. He's so going into a book.

As for Ben, he loves who he loves and since he has the personality of a tree, you know, go for it.


What planet do some believers live on?

My friend that I'm staying with is an editor. I was reading the guidelines for a lot of publishers she works for while staying here. Because they are changing up where a comma goes right and left! If you think you know grammar, forgettaboutit.

Anyway, without naming names, I'm just shocked at some of the stuff I read in these guidelines. Here's my issue with it. Some Christians go OUT of their way to be offended and feel safe. The world ain't safe, people! I don't care who you are and I understand that if you buy a book and pay a premium, you deserve the right to feel safe in that realm. You're paying for it. I get that.

But I read these guidelines and I think, are there really people who feel this way? How do these people navigate the world? Function? What's their witness? Does God really want us protected from all things outside ourselves? Aren't we supposed to be in the world and not of it.

Granted, I love pop culture, so undoubtedly, I'm one of the heathens they're pointed fingers at, but I'm sorry, didn't Jesus eat with the tax collectors? Didn't He call out the woman at the well for having "many husbands" -- a kind way of saying she was maybe a wee bit slutty?

Oh my, I KNOW that word doesn't exist in many Christian's world, and God bless 'em, but you know what? Not talking about things is what makes people sneak around and sin. No one is perfect, but can you admit that to a Christian? Not some of them. Because then, you're a sinner (hello, so are you!) so people go underground -- which makes sin worse in my opinion. Covering it up is NOT healthy.

So back to the guidelines. Here are just a few of them: You cannot have the presence of an angel in your book, except for those mentioned in the Bible. You cannot use the phrasing, "You're an angel."

There should be no derivatives of swearing, such as darn, gadzooks, etc. (I'm sure this would include derivatives of prostitute (ignore that word above!)

Gadzooks? Seriously, if you used THAT in a book, I'd be seriously worried if you were aware of this particular century, but that's me.

I honor that these are the guidelines and writers are expected to abide by them, but seriously, how many of us who live in the real world can continue to write in that market? You know what? I'm the only Christian on my block (Hindu, Muslims and Buddhists all present and accounted for.) If I'm looking to be so protected from word like "Darn" -- aren't I thinking maybe too much about myself and not about what purpose God has for me?

Oh Denise Hunter just read my Smitten entry and fixed the word POTLUCK, which I apparently spelled wrong. If that doesn't tell you how OUT of the Christian realm I am in Silicon Valley, I don't know what will.


Vaca with a side of cheese

I am in St Augustine, FL (America's Oldest City) When I'm on vacation I love to be in cheesy tourist mode. Today I was so excited about the different uniforms at the Fort and wanted to take a picture. They were closing and the ranger asked me what I was trying to get a picture of it. and I told him there were tourists in my way. "Do you see those three uniforms? My history buff kid will know them. I'm going to send a quiz!". God bless him, he let me in to get my pic. Then told me the answer so I can see if Trey is right.

My kids would probably say I'm embarrassing like that at home, but I don't think so.

We went to Mexican food overlooking the Bay and the castillo, I asked all sorts of questions. I just love to know how people live and I'm very zealous on vacation. It is like when I'm not home Kristin is invisible and that giddy tourist in the Hawaiian shirt comes out. Are you a more fun version of yourself on vacation?


Emotional Abuse Kills -- RIP Savannah

Seriously, my teeth are clenched together this article makes me so mad. This poor little girl endured the worst of all abusers. Emotional abuse by someone who SHAMED her for being who she was. I want to take my hands and wring that grandmother's neck. I'll bet you anything, she's a FAT thing who thinks she's going to shame her granddaughter into being skinny, rather than deal with her own issues that made her fat.


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I'm probably making no sense, as I'm so mad, but this girl was forced to run for three hours after lying to her grandmother about eating a candy bar.

When you parent like this??? When children are afraid of you and the consequences make no damn sense, then kids lie. IT's what happens. Lying keeps them safe if they can get away with it. That's why kids do it.

http://news.yahoo.com/2-charged-death-ala-girl-forced-run-082216169.html

As someone who has a lot of scars about being shamed by teachers for ADD, I have NO mercy on these women. I lied to teachers all the time to avoid this kind of crap shame. I didn't have to lie to my family because they didn't attach motive to why I forgot things. This girl ate the candy bar to bring herself some joy. Way to set her up for addictive behaviors you worthless COW. I'm sure I will erase this, but I am seriously SO angry that this crap is allowed to happen. This kind of "parenting" goes on everyday and I think it's worse than beating. No child should be told they're worthless if they don't do exactly as expected. They should be allowed to make mistakes and the punishment should fit the crime.

If I were the judge, I wouldn't send this woman to jail. I'd send her to the local track and make her RUN forever with an audience of the entire town.

Rest in peace baby Savannah, God will show you what true parenting and love is now.


A New Anna Karenina Movie...Starring Keira Knightly

There's a new "Anna Karenina" movie in the works and while it's one of my favorite books, I have never seen it adapted well to the screen. I didn't even think BBC did it well, and that's saying something.

Anna is hard to "get" and that's hard to translate onto the screen. One of the things I remember best about Anna from the book is that she didn't know how many teeth her baby had at the time. That is such an incredible small detail that says so much about the character of Anna. She really wasn't cut out for marriage, and didn't imagine it would be so woefully boring.

Enter a handsome rogue Count Vronsky...yada yada yada...then comes the train. But it's so amazing the way Tolstoy writes. He makes me get why the rogue does it, why Anna does it, why she's the left alone to take the consequences of sin. It's just a tragic story all the way around. Ultimately, it's the story of the narrator coming to Christ by witnessing Anna's story.

The first line rings true today and that's why it endures. (Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.) Hopefully today, without such tragic consequences, but I think that's why Tolstoy wrote it -- as a tale of warning. That, and he was a total misogynist who made his wife miserable just like Alexei made his miserable and rather than take credit for any of that, he tortured the poor woman emotionally. If it were my book, Alexei would have ended up in front of the train, but alas it's not.

The movie stars Keira K and she is not my favorite. Not since she entered the world as a giggly Elizabeth Bennet. Ugh. But I'll give her a chance. She's kind of a depressive sort, so maybe that will work for Anna. I actually am excited for her in this role. Jude Law as Alexie? Did Tolstoy cast this?


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The Cliffhanger -- A Foreign Concept -- #Glee

My daughter was watching Glee, which apparently is a season-end cliffhanger. She is not familiar with the concept of a cliffhanger, and she is going on and on about how, "Mom, the screen just went BLACK and it said...to be continued..."

If I heard that story once tonight...but I thought, that just sounds like every Friday on "All My Children"

This generation is so different from mine. I found myself sounding like an old person. In my day, we didn't have no You Tube. And you couldn't really trust the VCR to tape, so when Luke and Laura got married, you cut class and hightailed it home for the event of the year.

The same went for Cliff and Nina. How is this generation going to learn to wait for anything? I remember having to run home and pray that Martha Quinn would be on MTV that afternoon, because she too, had a crush on the dandy highwayman that is Adam Ant.

I'm reading over my final manuscript tonight. My eyes are barely open, but I had to go get Elle who had a meltdown at the bowling alley. (It's two dollar night at the bowling alley -- and may I say NOTHING brings out the engineers like cheap dollar nights.) It's a holiday!

Oh one good thing...I don't live in New Orleans on deadline. My friend is missing Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras for a deadline. Something I'm sure the Christian publisher wouldn't understand, but come on...it's a party and you're in your chair!

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And yes, I could have used a picture of Luke and Laura, or even Cliff and Nina, but why would I when Adam is available. He brings me joy. I need sleep. Can you tell? LOL


I Heart #Zappos!!

Our love affair began quietly. When I lived in the middle of nowhere, Zappos was my only solace. The company who would deliver Donald Pliners and Pumas to the desert of obscurity.

Yesterday, I ordered shoes for walking in Florida. Where else could you order online and have your new babies the following day? Only Zappos delivers this kind of quality and loving commitment. They are more stable than any man. You can count on them always.

So although my daughter informed me these were the ugliest shoes I ever ordered, I do hope she really feels that way and doesn't wear them. I'm THIS close to where my Cinderella shoes will not fit her stepsister feet, and I can hardly wait.


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So thank you, Zappos. Again. Florida and vacation never looked so good.



Ben #Bachelor Recap Hometown Dates

The Bachelor Hometown Dates

Lindzi:


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Lindzi takes Ben home to her element. First off, may I just say that this girl rocks her jeans and she’s so beautiful and sweet. How? How can Ben even see past her to look at Courtney? I just love her healthy, outdoorsy look for him. She’s got marriage material written all over her, and I’d like to see her as the next Bachelorette if Ben is indeed, the idiot I believe him to be.

I shouldn’t call him an idiot. He just hasn’t learned the painful lessons he has to learn if he picks Courtney. I guess they’re in Florida. It is absolutely gorgeous and looks like Kentucky. She tells Ben that she’s finally being vulnerable and he agrees that her walls are coming down. Girl, get some bricks!! Cinder blocks even. She tells him that she thought she was going to marry the man she was living with, but got her heart broken. I think they’re darling together. But seriously, I’d marry her if I got to live on that property. Dang! Life is good for Lindzi.

Lindzi’s mom tells Ben that their daughter hasn’t had a lot of dating experience. She’s an only child and they’re a close, healthy family. (Precisely the reason that she doesn’t belong on this show — and it makes me sad how far she’s fallen if he’s going to break her heart.) Dude, you are going to be the most hated man in America if you pick Courtney over her.

She just found out her parents got married in SF City Hall, where Ben and Lindzi had their first date. Made memorable by the fact that Matt Nathanson played. Her parents are darling and they have a carriage race. Dad does not give Ben permission to marry his daughter, but he does it in such a positive way, it takes Ben a while to figure out the answer is a resounding NO because I don’t think it was actually said. It was certainly implied.

Kacie in Tennessee:

Kacie greets Ben as part of a marching band — wha? Isn’t this the same girl who baton-twirled down the streets of Sonoma? It is, and we know so because…SURPRISE, she is twirling another baton as if this is normal behavior. Methinks she peaked in high school and needs to let it go. She proceeds to tell Ben her sad tale of woe of how much her grandparents loved each other…and died. Buzzkill.

Ben feels at-ease around Kacie (Read: Friend Card) Kacie lets it drop that she’s from the Bible belt and her dad is a probation officer who doesn’t drink. (Ben’s a winemaker) This reminds me of the weirdest Limo ride I had to a publisher where someone was coming back from Napa where he was building a winery and proceeded to tell me how the evil of wine had never touched his Christian lips. What does one say back to that?

What I wanted to say was, “But it’s okay to make cash on someone else drinking the devil’s brew? God’s okay with that?” But I refrained. I smiled and nodded. Back to Ben on his way to meet the parents. Kacie is talking to her sister, “That’s my future husband.” She has learned that you can’t settle. Worth the price of admission, Kacie. And if I were you? I would stay out of that fantasy suite.

Ben tells daddy that he likes Kacie and then says a lot of nothing about the man’s daughter. This is not going well. I love her daddy. He’s a good girl daddy. Doesn’t want to see any of them get hurt, but asks that if Kacie is not the one, please tell her asap. He hopes Mom will go easier on him.

Uh, nope! She tells Ben in no uncertain terms: you are not shacking up with our daughter. And Ben says, “Maybe we’re not going to see eye to eye on everything.” Um, Ben will not commit to marriage. He does, after all, have the fantasy suite coming up and Courtney is more than willing. Daddy gives his daughter a back-up sermon: You KNOW how you were raised…do not give away the milk for free essentially. She seems to be in love and putting the values on the back-burner. This is not going well with Daddy. He will not give his approval at this point in time. She’s angry that they’re questioning her knowing what’s best.

Kids, parents usually know best. I know that sucks, but it’s the truth. They have an awkward goodbye (Kacie and Ben) and she’s worried, and probably should be.

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Nicki, Fort Worth, TX:

They’re going boot shopping. Nicki compares boot shopping to man shopping. This is a girl I could hang with. Ben looks RIDICULOUS! The people of Fort Worth are actually shouting at him while he walks the street. Hysterical. Nicki is also wearing bling on her shirt. Bling and boots. You go girl!

Their relationship seems a lot further behind the other gals. Nicki’s been divorced and this is a concern for Ben — not because of Nicki’s pain, but because Ben doesn’t want to get hurt again. That’s his issue. He wants to be in a position of power and that’s going to be an issue for any long-term relationship. If you’re not willing to let it all hang out and be vulnerable, you get the love you deserve.

Nicki’s parents have been divorced almost her whole life. Dad is not warming up to Ben and Mom says she likes him, while she glares at him. She’s concerned about Nicki getting her heart broken. She's worried about what Daddy thinks.

Daddy feels responsible for giving her hand in marriage too readily the first time. Nicki tells Ben she loves him. He looks like the deer in the headlights. That's not good.

Courtney in Arizona:

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Wow, Courtney's home/family are extremely normal. So far. No one has spoken yet. The house is gorgeous; a sprawling ranch with Mexican touches. Lovely. Oh, they're in Scottsdale. Money. How come these rich girls have to go on the Bachelor? Can't they join a dating service?

Courtney's mother actually looks like a former cocktail waitress in Vegas. That is not a woman I'd want on the opposite team, so I can see a glimmer of where Courtney gets it. But she's said one sentence, so I'm being judgmental. Bad Kristin.

The sister talk: Courtney seems...human.

Courtney's dad says that marriage is life's greatest gamble, is he ready to make that decision? Ben goes into commitment-phobe mode -- which we did not see when he was buck naked at the beach, did we?

Courtney is talking to her mom now, who she says has the same problem trusting men that Courtney has -- isn't she still married to her father? That doesn't sound good. There is something disconnected about Courtney, even when she's talking to her mother. I do not get her.

They're having a picnic. RED FLAG!!! She says she has never been with a guy who has not betrayed her trust. Seriously, sometimes, guys cheat on women to get away from their Fatal Attraction style. If this happens regularly? I just don't believe it's just bad guys, Courtney might be a tad clingy/stalkerish. No?

Courtney plans a fake wedding and brings out rings, paper and a bow tie for Ben. The faux wedding is actually very cute and Ben's vows are lovely. Courtney's don't seem as if they come from the heart. I wonder if she is kind of Aspergery. I don't know, there's just something "off."

Ben's recaps to Chris:

Lindzi was raised by two wonderful people.


Kacie's parents won't let us shack up. I respect their opinion, but here's all the reasons I don't.

Nicki's was loving and welcoming.

Courtney away from all the drama that surrounded her. (Um, she's the weather system.) Courtney at home was the woman I know. Hope so, Ben. Hope so.

Someone's going home. I don't have the patience to wait for who it is. My guess? Kacie B because her barn door is not open for Ben. I'll comment on his pick later. Almost finished with the novella. It was not easy with the kids home today.