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October 2008
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The Holidays...

I trust you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and did your part for the economy on Black Friday.  When we built our dream house, which my parents moved into, when we moved back to the Silicon Valley, I put four, count them four, perfect bathtubs in the house.  One is a clawfoot, another is an oval that seats you like a Lazy Boy -- perfect for reading, and the other two are really deep with arm rests.  So I've spent my holiday moving from bathtub to bathtub and reading.  It doesn't get any better than this.  

In between I've been editing, but mostly I've been getting water-logged.  My husband's best friends from high school are identical twins, and I mean identical!  They held their annual turkey bowl football game on Thanksgiving, then frisbee golf (on Scott's own frolfing course on their property), a little local theatre night, lots of pie and relatives and more bathing.  Watched, "Music and Lyrics", listened to Brian Regan's comedy tape and watched "The Thorn Birds" -- again.  

Current Reading:
Wally Lamb's "This Much I know is True" and "Does this Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat?"  I didn't get to see "Australia" this weekend, which really bums me out, but gives me a reason to finish editing early.  I hope you all got to love and appreciate those in your life.  Is anyone else cold?  I think I need a bath.


After a string of forgettable "Sexiest Man Alive" issues, "People" finally got it right with Hugh Jackman.  It only took them a few years.  Didn't we know this five years ago?  And I'm sorry, but Ben Affleck?  Now, no offense to Ben, he's a fine actor, but he's also the kind of guy who was in the drama club to me.  Just not really entering the jaw-dropping place.

Hugh Jackman?  He's a work of art.  I cannot wait to see "Australia".  Nicole Kidman is gorgeous as well.  I don't know what they have down under in the water, but maybe it's something we should import?  Until then, we'll take their beautiful Aussies for the screen.  

I think the most beautiful thing about Hugh is hearing him talk about his wife.  Oh, and did you know he's giant?  Hugely tall.  You have to love that.  

I've always been a girl who appreciates a good-looking bloke, but I always dated the "nerds".  That's sort of my type, but that's not to say I can't appreciate a fine work of art, but if given the choice, I will always take the brainiac.  Incidentally, I took the package.  Hugh_jackman

My suggestions for next year?  The new Bond: Daniel Craig and David Beckham (though he's too young yet, he's going to age over time and look even better -- or maybe I'm just old.)  

And for the record, may I just say that Ashley Stockingdale voted for Hugh Jackman in 2004?  Way to be on the cutting edge, "People".  


Engineers are notoriously cheap.  Fine, maybe you know one that isn't, but living in Silicon Valley, I can tell you that most of them have no shame when it comes to saving a buck.  They'll drive a Beamer, but will resole their shoes until their death.  Their personal death, not the death of the shoes.  Old shoes never die, they just get resoled.

So I've been married to an engineer for nearly 18 years.  He's as cheap as a shoddy handbag sold on the street in Chinatown.  He thinks paying for any kind of service is a waste of money.  This is the reason I started working.  Somehow, the idea of this engineer giving me color highlights pushed me into it. 

To make matters worse, I have no concept of a budget.  You want something?  You find a way to earn the money for it.  End of story.  (You see the conflict developing here, right?)

I have two things I put my foot down about early on.  One was that I would not let my kids wear cheap shoes.  I don't care how fast their feet grow, my kids aren't wearing cheap shoes.  The second is that I'm very particular about hormones added to food and hydrogenated oil, so I will not buy fake, filler food and it I want strawberries that week and the organic ones are 4.99 a pack?  I'm getting them.  That was it.  Pretty easy, right?

Until, I got a dog.  Not just any dog, but a prissy, cute little dog.  The kind my boys are embarrassed to walk.  Now she's got the personality of a terrier (she's half-Yorkie, half-Pomeranian)  She has a little collar that spells out "Fiona" in bling rhinestones.  I dressed her for Halloween.  She's my grown-up version of the Barbie-doll, all right?  And everything was fine until my said cheap DH found out I was spending $73 to get her hair cut and make her look pretty.  That's when our Zsa Zsa Gabor/Mr. Crabs personalities came to a head. 

He started cutting Fiona's hair and making my daughter take her in the shower to give her a bath.  And I was willing to put up with it, as long as my pretty little doggy was happy.  But today!!!  Today, I won the right to take my baby to the salon again.  People, look at what my husband did to my dog!!  She looks like she's diseased and her legs look like a plucked chicken's!  My kids are really embarrassed to take her for a walk.

On a happy note, as soon as my little plucked chicken grows her hair back, she's going to the beauty salon to get groomed, where she belongs in all her spoiled glory.IMG_1810 Salon Fiona

IMG_2041   Engineered Fiona, Note her chicken legs

Newest Guilty Pleasure

Thursday night is CouchPotatalloza for me.  It's the one night, I sit in front of the TV and veg by myself, generally with a Drumstick Ice Cream bar.  So my latest guilty pleasure?  "Celebrity Rehab"  Yes, there's a certain car wreck aspect to it, but I find it fascinating how people find their addictions and why.  When I watch these people fighting for their lives, becoming completely emotionally naked before America, I just have so much compassion for them...and I'm proud of them, but like Intervention, you have to root for these people to get it together.  

What I see in these celebs is this humanity that is everyone.  Maybe your addiction is food, maybe it's shoes, maybe it's the computer, but we all have something that satisfies our needs falsely, so when I watch, I think, that could be anyone.  It's such a slippery slope.  

The worst ones for me to watch are the ones when someone gets put on pain meds after surgery.  I mean, you can see if you had a tendency towards that, how easy you'd be addicted.  I have a pretty huge pain tolerance (since I don't feel much with my MS) so I'm safe from that one.  I hate to be out of control, so I've never been a drinker -- don't like that buzzy feeling I get after one drink (lightweight), but if there's ever a vanity rehab for buying too many beauty products, I'm totally there.  

Addictions don't happen without an enabler, and when the families come on, you get to witness the dysfunction first-hand.  There's a beautiful model on right now (Amber Smith) and despite her sexy modeling gigs like Playboy, Victoria's Secret, she has that girl-next-door purity to her beauty.  In the meantime, her mother thinks Pamela Anderson is the quintessential beauty.  You can see how that would mess with your head.  Her mother is also an addict.  

So I sat my husband down to watch it with me last night.  He lasted about ten minutes, "I'm sorry Kristin, I don't get it."  And he left me to myself.  Which totally enables my addiction to car wreck television.

You win ask for a recount

I am thoroughly disgusted with what's going on in Minnesota with Al Franken.  I am disgusted with the "No on 8" supporters.  Not because of their positions, but because they do not take the rule of law seriously.  They're "above" it.  It's not a government by certain people, for certain people.  We vote in this country and if you don't like the results, you fight the next battle and move on.  You don't whine and find "sudden" votes, which account for some uncanny percentage of the state.

Voting day means nothing any longer because the losers don't respect the voters.  They just cry until they get their way -- and we reward it.  Hanging chads, lost votes appearing, and suddenly, democracy takes a hit.  Do you know what happens if you give in like that with a toddler?  Well, that's what is happening with our government. The economy needs our attention, the constituents need a leader.  What are we teaching our kids about losing gracefully?  About respecting the law?  

I respect that Obama won the presidency and I will honor and pray for him as such.  I respect that chickens will have more leg room and I will be charged more for eggs.  I respect that we can't hunt mountain lions any longer in California, which has led to a dangerous overgrowth for the population.  I may not agree, but I respect the process, and if this country doesn't start doing that, we are going to end up getting chewed up and spit out by our own Constitution.  

Rebecca St. James as Ashley Stockingdale

Well, we wait for word on the making of "What a Girl Wants" as a film, but should that happen, Christian singer and soon-to-be movie star would be Ashley Stockingdale.  I had thought of Fred Astaire in my mind for Seth, but Rebecca St. James is definitely better looking than I pictured Ashley, and since Fred is dancing in heaven, I guess we'd have to find a new Seth Greenwood.  Any suggestions? 

Check out this great article on Rebecca and her plans and passion for purity and making family-friendly films.  She rocks! Fred_astaire

Walking on Water!

I just got home from Chicago (dang, that place is cold, how do you people deal with weather?  I'm telling you, I'm like a shaky, little Chihuahua in these places!)  I went to meet with my editing team and marketing person at Tyndale House for "Walking on Water" which is a Women's Fiction coming out next Fall.  

What a thrill!  I shared a limo with a guy building a winery, who had never had a drink in his life.  I don't know why that strikes me as so strange, but that is stinkin' strange, isn't it?  I mean, don't you have to know about temperatures and lighting and special things for wine?  Shouldn't it be your passion?  Just saying.  I'm not a wine drinker, but I'm not building a winery either.  

Anyway, hearing that scared me because I thought, uh oh, here I am again, Miss Italian Big Mouth in the world of the quiet Christian.  I really should have an editing team with me at all times, you know?  I ate at an Italian restaurant in the hotel and they must have been from lower Italy because the owner spoke in Italian to a customer and I understood nearly everything he said.  I didn't think I'd picked that much up as a child, but said in the right accent, who knew?

The next morning, we gathered up my brain cells at the local Starbucks and met all day about the book, scene by scene, character by character.  It was intense!  And very luxurious to have others invested in making the story better.  I was humbled.  Ooh then we ate at Thipi Thai (isn't that cute?) in Glen Ellyn.  Yum!  Another espresso and back to the room where I promptly fell asleep.  Traveling wears me out!  The next morning I'm up, the car is there and it's back on planes all day.

Both ways I met fabulous people on the plane.  A young widow following a tragic fire engine accident (she had a photo of her handsome hero), a middle-aged woman and fellow book lover going to her brother-in-law's funeral, a handsome black bachelor heading to San Diego to hang with his friend (had to offer dating tips!) and an International business man who raised his two daughters by himself and brought one of them through cancer.  Dang, I love people.  Their stories are fascinating, heartbreaking and so human.  The only person I felt like an alien with, was the fellow Christian who pronounced he'd never had a drink and went to Christian college.  Okay, if I wasn't a Christian, the first thing out of my mouth would have been, "So what?"  I guess that's a badge of honor that I'm not privy to.  I never had a joint either, but I don't really think anyone cares. 

So I'm home with the engineers now, I can be as rude as I please and I won't be misunderstood by a sweet midwesterner.  : )  

The picture is Santa Cruz, where "Walking on Water" is set.IMG_1968

Discouragement & the Writer

I do believe these two components go hand in hand.  If you're a writer, you face a lot of discouragement.  If it isn't from yourself, it's from an editor, then the reader, reviewers, etc. etc.  For the most part, I don't generally get too caught up in those things because I know why I wrote a particular book, and why I felt called to do so.  If the book isn't for everyone, I can get past that -- pretty easily in fact.  I think I'm missing certain synapses.

However, once in a while, writers get into a rut.  I'm not talking about being in the middle of a novel and saying, this sucks, this is the worst thing I've ever written -- because I think that's standard operating procedure.  You have to have a writing buddy or an agent to talk you through that stage and then, you're past it.  

For me, it's when I feel like Solieri.  (I hope I spelled that right.)  He was the composer in Mozart's time, who was popular for his time, well-received and always had a job, but he was no Mozart.  And he knew it.  Solieri knew music well enough to know that he would never have the talent that Mozart possessed seemingly without trying.  That's how I feel when I'm between books.  I love the beauty of words -- not the kind of books that are beautiful words and sentences strung together without story.  Those drive me crazy.  But the beauty of a perfect sentence put together by a master.  Anne Tyler is a favorite.  She has a voice that is completely her own, and I get lost in her characters.  

I just read Wally Lamb's "She's Come Undone" -- a very difficult read, but I'm mesmerized as to why I had to finish it.  I had to care about this completely unlikable protagonist who is rocked by a lot of awful events -- but did they ever justify her hateful actions?  To possess that kind of writing talent and make a reader care about someone who is hard to care for, that's what fascinates me and makes me want to quit.

I am Solieri.  I am good enough to know great writing, but not good enough to do it and that's kind of a hateful knowledge.  As though I've eaten from the tree of good and evil and I'm aware now.  With knowledge comes the curses.

I console myself with the thoughts that Anne Tyler and Wally Lamb don't have four kids babbling at their sides all the time and a driving schedule that would make a Greyhound bus driver cry.  Yeah, that's it.  That's my problem.  ; )  I feel better now.