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November 2011
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January 2012

iDisco, iMoodSpeaker, iHome, iCoolAccident

I told my mother I wanted speakers for my iPod that I could have in my kitchen. Something small that would fit in a corner. She asked me for a link, and I was busy, I just ordered what I thought was tiny and cheap. Well...lo and behold, this is my perfect little speaker set. It changes color! Like a mood ring. And it's very disco and just a little bit tacky, which means my kids should make fun of it and not take it from the kitchen.

Well, Elle might as she has her mother's love of shiny, sparkly things. But it's got a nice sound system for such a little set of speakers, AND it has disco lights. I'm telling you, all I need is the mirror ball and I am ready to boogie!


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The HELP

I loved this book, but I just saw the movie last night. I didn't think it would make a great movie, but it was fabulous. I think it was made better by the fact that I'd just watched that Medgar Evers' movie last week (Ghosts of Mississippi.) Dang, prejudice runs deep, but it's not just prejudice.

My dad and I watched, "Turtle Man" (I know, and I hate to admit it, but I get a kick out of him!) and he had to go into the deep woods of Kentucky where TURTLE man said the people were real hillbillies. If Turtle man can call someone a hillbilly, chances are, they be hillbillies! They didn't like strangers in their parts.

I felt that way when we moved to the country. Newcomers are not treated well. I think this is why I can't make it in the country. I can't stand rigid thinking! I honestly don't know how I would have dealt with what the maids of 1960's Mississippi had to deal with, and Lord knows, it was worse for the slaves.

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What I loved was seeing that someone like Abilene, a maid who is treated abominably could still have love for the child of such a dreadful boss. That's a great lesson that we are not victims of our circumstances. We can show love in all cases, but I think that takes a higher powered love because I'd want to hurt that woman.

There's something deeply wrong with people who try to keep their caste systems in place to feel good about themselves. You can see it weekly on any Housewife franchise. It doesn't matter if you're a hillbilly or a housewife, there is always someone wanting to hold you down. How sad for them, right?


Say Yes to the Dress

Have you seen this show? It's where brides go and shop for their gowns at a luxury store called Kleinfeld's in New York City. Every time I watch it with my daughter, she says, "What's my budget, Mom?"

I always tell her the same thing. "$500. No reason you should have more than me." And then, she makes a face. The gowns on the show are pretty expensive and I'm shocked at what people will spend on a dress that they will wear for one day. Oh, if Elle pushes, I tell her, "With inflation, I'll give you six hundred." LOL

Anyhoo, we're up at my mom's house (where my dress is) and Elle wanted to try it on. After watching the show this week and seeing a mother who wanted her daughter to wear her "petal" dress, I realized how woefully out of style mine is, and what do you keep them for? So I let Elle try it on, and she looked so cute in it. But I think I should have cut it up for a Christening dress or something. Does anyone have a use for their old wedding gown?


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In any event, Elle would say No to my dress. I think that's a good call.


Nothing says Christmas like Christopher Walken in Uggs

Why this entertains me so much, I will never know, but there's something so absurd about Walken anyway. Put him in Uggs, and we have MAGIC!


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Merry Christmas all!! I hope your day was as fabulous as ours. The family had a luxurious time of fun and games. We had a rousing time yesterday and the kids enjoyed themselves like nobody's business. Today my cousins are headed to Disneyland for a family reunion with the other side of their family.

I made a big haul: A new Cashmere sweater, See's Truffles, Givenchy's Angels & Demons Perfume, iPod speakers for my kitchen (so I can cook I guess) and a round-trip ticket to West Palm Beach to see my friend Nancy Toback. The key here being ROUND trip. I'd say all in all it was well worth it. But here is what it is all about. Life, laughter and the kids. Fun day!! I hope yours was as fabulous.


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My baby cousin, Levi. How sweet is this one? He made my day yesterday with Trey as they went through Trey's Thomas the Tank Engine stash.


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Here's my mother, Grandfather and my dog Fiona celebrating the season. Sweet, right?


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How to Get Paid for Writing...Embrace your inner Salieri

I rarely post on writing, but with the advent of easy self-publishing, I'm seeing a lot of authors put their work out there that isn't ready to be published. It's either not edited, or not a story with a character arc and/or a point. The problem is with so many "free" options available for book downloads, I'm also seeing readers who have cluttered their Kindles and Nooks with books they can't read. There is no better way to halt a writing career than to have a record of poor sales.

FYI: There are good books available for free. For one thing, you can download most of the classics in PDF form. This is my advice if you've been burned by the "free" books. Or take recommendations from authors you trust. When they link to a free book via their Twitter accounts, etc.

Back to getting paid. In Donald Maass' fabulous book, "Writing the Breakout Novel" he says that passion comes from an author's deep desire to make you understand their message. It does not come from a need to see yourself published. If you're trying to get published to build your ego, save your time. It won't work that way. I don't care how wonderful your book is, someone will hate it. And they'll be vocal about it. So don't write for accolades. You may get some, but you'll focus on the ugly reviews. It's human nature.

In my writing, I have always equated myself with Salieri -- the teacher of Beethoven and the rival of Mozart. Mozart was younger, without discipline and vastly more talented. Salieri was good enough to know he would never have the genius of Mozart.

I am good enough at writing to know that I will never be Shakespeare. Or Jane Austen. Or even an English teacher. But I know where I belong. I know what I CAN write, and that's my "secret" for getting published and getting paid. Know where you can fit in and write to that market. Most likely, you're not a genius like Mozart who doesn't have to play by the rules.

In my years as an author, I've seen a lot of people who feel "too good" to write romance. Writing to a market like this takes a lot of talent and with the romance market, publishers know how to sell books. You will be starting with decent sales numbers that you probably won't have writing the great American novel on your own. It takes great discipline to write within the rules and most of those authors are making a lot more than someone who has put out the great literary message of our time.

If you want to get paid to write, know who you are. Know what your message is and what you're passionate about. If you had dying words that you wanted someone to hear, what would they be? Now, can you be really creative and put that message into a suspense story? A romance? What's the best salable vehicle for your message?


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Maybe you are a genius like J.K. Rowling and you can put everything on the line to write your novel. If that's you, there will be a passion within you that won't let you do anything else, and you'll be willing to sacrifice to make it happen. It won't come easily. It never does.

Word to the wise: most of us are Salieri and that's okay. Embrace who you are as a writer and humble yourself to the message. Even Dickens got paid by the word and didn't preach at us about child labor, he worked his message into story. But he wasn't above selling books first.

Let me put it this way, if you think you're a genius, that's a bad sign. Geniuses nearly always run on fear that their work isn't good enough, but they keep going because they can't stop.

If you can recognize great writing and feel ill-prepared to compete, there's work out there for you. Embrace your inner-Salieri. Don't be "above" the work and listen to criticism. It may be hard to take, but it's part of writing. The criticism will come afterwards regardless. You have to believe in your message enough to know you can take the barbs.


Proof that I was switched at birth:

I was walking to the car through my parents' garage, and it dawned on me. They have a freakin' paper towel holder in the GARAGE. They have a chair to put their shoes on. They have a fire extinguisher. These people are anal-retentive. They could not have given birth to me.


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Their GARBAGE looks better than my living room! Granted, I have four kids with a LOT of personality in my living room. As told by this photo that says they each have their own style. Seth's is to ruin every family picture on record. He has a lifetime of proving it. I'm going to start photoshopping his bum. I'm really not a fan of being so short in my own family. But ask my sons. I will take them down if they backtalk. It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Just sayin' Here's our Merry Christmas photo we took while hiking today. Merry Christmas from a family where OCD skipped a generation. Or two.


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But I don't want to live forever!

I had all four of my grandparents until I was 37 -- I have one left, my grandpa who is 96 -- and I'm 45.

This morning, Colleen Coble sent me a link about how bad Diet Soda was for MS. I don't think anyone thinks Diet Soda is good for anything, but if I'm going to go through life, I want my Diet Coke.

I've seen what it's like to live forever, and it's not a calling to me. Your friends die around you. Your family has to clean out all the stuff that ever made you who you were. It sucks! And I don't think my grandparents ever had a Diet Soda in their lives. So if I'm going to go, let it be happy with my Diet Soda.

I know people mean well. But do any of us have a problem understanding that a Fried Twinkie is terrible for us? Yet still, when faced with that dilemma at a State Fair, you might choose to indulge. I look at it like this: the Diet Coke is better than the Fried Twinkie.

I was watching Suzanne Somers on Dr. Oz. And she has done this new and natural surgery to restore her breast after breast cancer. If you listen to Suzanne, her whole life centers on being healthy. She takes 60 vitamins, has a regimen of all-organic foods from her garden and works diligently to keep her body healthy. More power to her. She will probably be hot at 96.

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Personally, I'd rather go out for a nice meal and drink a Diet Coke. In fact, and I didn't say this to Colleen, I'll go to the gym and THEN, I'll get a Diet Coke on the way home. LOL My point is, I know it's not great for me. But I still choose to do it. As far as vices go, Diet Coke and Soy Mochas aren't that bad. In the words of Grease's Rizzo, There are worse things I could do...

What's your vice, that you CHOOSE?


12 Christmas Gifts to Say "I Hate You" WHAT?

Which begs the question, why would you give someone you hate a gift? Maybe you should save that money and invest it in some therapy for your passive-aggressive tendencies.
Read the list here:
http://www.oddee.com/item_98006.aspx

Though personally, I might receive this from a certain someone who shares toothpaste with me. I am one of those people who squeezes the tube in the middle. So really? Am I going to take the time to insert this tube into a piece of machinery? I am not. So this gift, if given to me, would require a lifetime of "do it yourself" insertion of the toothpaste.

And come on, everyone knows what to buy the person you don't like: Fruitcake.


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Worst TV of 2011 -- Did you watch as much as you think?

I'm queen of bad TV, and yet, I only watched ONE show on the list of this year's worst TV according to Yahoo.com So exciting. I'm below average, and that means, I may have more brain cells than previously thought. What about you?

10 Worst TV Shows of 2011

10. The Office
9. Pregnant in Heels
8. How to be a Gentleman
7. The Bachelorette* (Watched it, and she was a terrible Bachelorette, but a lovely
person, I'm sure.)
6. Whitney ???
5. Terra Nova
4. Charlie's Angels
3. X Factor
2. Kim's Fairytale Wedding
1. Entourage

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Bad TV I watched a lot of:
1. Hoarders
2. Every Bravo Housewives' Show except OC and Atlanta AND Watch What Happens Live
3. Ghost Adventures
4. Storage Wars
5. The Dead Files
6. Bachelor Pad (shameful and what's worst? It ruined that song, "Every Rose has its
Thorn" for me.)
7. Big Bang Theory
8. Celebrity Ghost Stories (Definitely the one that shames me the most)
9. Millionaire Matchmaker
10. Million-Dollar Decorators

Fess up, what's your worst TV addiction? Something you knew you lost brain cells just turning on every night, yet still did it?? Bravo, Bio, and A&E, you've stolen at least 20 IQ points from me.