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seven things to celebrate in february: a scavenger hunt

January 31, 2017

one. february fourth. thank a mailman day. take some treats to the folks at your local post office or shipping store.

two. february eighth. kite flying day. go fly a kite. sounds simple enough... but the WIND...

three. february ninth. national pizza day. treat a friend to some pizza. and not the cheap shit. if there's a gino's east, say, in your neck of the woods... it's national pizza day, for crying out loud. PIZZA, a gift from the gods, yall. YUMMY YUMMY GOODNESS.

four. february eleventh. make a friend day. this sounds simple enough, too, right? for geeks like me, it's really, really not.



five. february fourteenth. ferris wheel day. go ride a ferris wheel. this, too, sounds simple enough. except if you're scared of heights, then maybe not so much. show of hands... you can't see but both mine were raised pretty high just then.

six. february fifteenth. singles awareness day. all the single ladies... and laddies. so this day started as sort of a joke, but... maybe you've got a single friend who's having a rough go of it lately. take time out of your day to do something to let that person know how much he or she is loved and needed.

seven. february sixteenth. do a grouch a favor day. one could argue that this task could be tied to the previous one... NO. i don't care what you do or how you do it... but find the grouchiest soul you know and put a little light in that person's world.

reminder: tasks don't need to be done on the date with which they're paired. you've got the whole month to tackle this.

ten things celebrated in january: a scavenger hunt

one. january tenth. peculiar people day. peculiar: strange; odd; unusual; funny; curious; bizarre; weird; abnormal; exceptional; extraordinary; remarkable; puzzling; mysterious; perplexing; baffling; suspicious; eerie; uncanny; unnatural; freakish; fishy; creepy; spooky; eccentric; unconventional; wacky; oddball...

read or watch miss peregrin's home for peculiar children. what's the first word on the tenth line of the one hundred tenth page or what's being said in the seventieth minute of the film and by whom? also, write a letter to the strangest person you know telling him or her what you most appreciate about that person's character. lastly, what makes you peculiar, and how do you feel about that trait or talent?

the first word on the tenth line of the of the one hundred tenth page is i. what makes me peculiar? my navigational skills in crowded areas when traveling solo.

playing asshole with my brother.
two. january twelfth. feast of fabulous wild men day. my mother thinks the most fabulous wild man is tarzan. fact AND fiction, who are yours and why? take a picture with the factual one, if you can. share a favored line of dialogue by the fictional one, if you can't.

my brother, cousins, uncles, several friends and a number of the folks at pappadeaux's. i think i tagged about a dozen people for this particular item on my personal facebook page. i was glad to do it.

and i know since i shared a photo, i don't have to do this, but... fictional ones would be han solo, then legolas, gimli, merry and pippin.

quotes:
solo: uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. we're fine. we're all fine here now, thank you... how are you? (star wars: episode iv - a new hope).

legolas: shall i describe it to you, or would you like me to find you a box? (the lord of the rings: the two towers).

gimli: i'm wasted on cross-country! we dwarves are natural sprinters, very dangerous over short distances (the lord of the rings: the two towers).

pippin: what's that?
merry: this, my friend, is a pint.
pippin: it comes in pints? i'm getting one (the lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring).

merry: i don't think he knows about second breakfast, pip.
pippin: what about elevenses? luncheon? afternoon tea? dinner? supper? he knows about them, doesn't he?
merry: i wouldn't count on it (the lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring).

three. january thirteenth. make your dream come true day. what's a dream of yours? do one thing that sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. and i promise you, something great will come of it (benjamin mee -- we bought a zoo). be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold (herbert spencer). works toward making that dream a reality.

several months ago a friend encouraged me to contact the folks at howard books to express an interest in gaining employment with them at their nashville, tennessee campus. i didn't do it because i'm a coward. but on this day, i made myself sit down and write them. and then i stuck it in an envelope and slapped one of my star trek beam me up scotty stamps on it... maybe nothing will come of it, but... i'm proud of myself for writing it, so i'm gonna roll with that.


four. january sixteenth. appreciate a dragon day. what's your favorite film, novel or program that contains a dragon in it? if it's a film, what's being said in the seventy-sixth minute (this is a corrected time; for those of you who may have already accomplished this task, you may keep it at the original eighty-sixth) of the film and by whom? if it's a book, what's the sixth word on the tenth line of the first page? if it's a program, what's being said in the sixth minute of the tenth episode in the first season and by whom? 

the dialogue in the seventy-sixth minute of the film harry potter and the sorcerer's stone is as follows:

mcgonagall: miss granger!
hermione: i went looking for the troll. i've read about them and thought i could handle it, but i was wrong. if harry and ron hadn't come and found me, i'd probably be dead.
mcgonagall: be that as it may, it was an extremely foolish thing to do. i would've expected more rational behavior on your part, and i am very disappointed in you, miss granger. five points will be taken from gryffindor for your serious lack of judgment. as for you two gentlemen, i just hope you realize how fortunate you are. not many first-year students could take on a fully-grown mountain troll and live to tell the tale. five points will be awarded to each of you for sheer dumb luck.

five. january twenty-third. national handwriting day. write a letter. WRITE it, as in put a pen or pencil to paper and fill a sheet of stationery with the words of your choosing, stuff it in an envelope, seal it, stamp it and put it in the post. let someone you love know you love them and why. because it's that time of the year when we all get a little down in the dumps, yeah? the echoes of the hurrahs from the holidays have faded. winter's setting in. warm that person's heart in a way that can be cherished for more than a millisecond.


six. january twenty-fourth. squirrel appreciation day. there's a book called scaredy squirrel by melanie watt. that squirrel's afraid of pretty much everything. chances are good that you're afraid of one of the things the squirrel is. do one thing that scares you (eleanor roosevelt). that thing you and the squirrel are afraid of? do a thing that pertains to that fear. AND THEN, help a friend face one of his or her fears that is similar to the squirrel's.

the squirrel's terrified to leave the safety of his tree. i'm terrified to leave the safety of the ground, to strap myself into a small car traveling at sixty-five miles an hour from start to finish say, like aerosmith's rock'n'roller coaster at epcot. upside down and all around over rickety rails. that's not what i'd call a good time. but i rode that bitch by myself, yall. (ignore those other folks in the photo; i've no idea who they are.) in addition to riding it, i rode space mountain, big thunder mountain and the seven dwarves mine train. i did that last one TWICE, and the second time, i went by myself. i rode more roller coasters in three days than i'd ridden in my life.

seven. january twenty-fifth. opposite day. wear a t-shirt backward for the entirety of your day.

i managed to go all day wearing a polo shirt the wrong way without anyone remarking on it until i got to pappadeaux's, and then ONE server asked me why i had my shirt on backward.
eight. january twenty-eighth. chinese new years day. treat yourself and a friend to some chinese food. also, what's a trait of your chinese zodiac sign (i'm an ox, by the way. yay) that you do not have? how can you cultivate that characteristic? what's a trait that you do have? if it's one you're not proud of, how can you alter its prevalence?

i took my three favorite writing friends to pei wei for lunch last saturday. good times.

a trait of the ox i do not possess is patience, and with regards to cultivating it i'm pretty sure that ship sailed a LONG, LONG time ago to a galaxy FAR, FAR away, but i imagine counting to ten and breathing a half a dozen times to keep my temper in check would probably help. a trait i do have, in spades, is moodiness. it's not one i'm proud of, and the easiest ways for me to cope with it are to pop some pills and avoid people whenever possible.



nine. january twenty-ninth. national puzzle day. put a puzzle of more than five hundred pieces together. you can get a little help from your friends if you like, but i'd prefer you do this by yourself. because i'm evil like that.

i so, SO should've started this one at the beginning of the month instead of waiting until the actual day. i will finish the fucker... eventually.


ten. january thirty-first. inspire your heart with art day. spend a day at an art museum or gallery (this was edited to include galleries because i neglected to consider their advantages when i originally wrote the post) admiring the creativity of others. visit the gift shop if there is one and buy some postcards depicting artwork you favor or find postcards elsewhere if there is no gift shop (an additional edit) and drop a grateful line to your craftier friends.

it's a small museum, so i didn't spend the day there, but i'd never been to the pearl fincher museum of fine arts, and i really wanted to go check it out. i liked the size of the place and how quiet it was. i loved being able to purchase notecards created by local artists and look forward to sending them to my friends.

tuesday topics: six favored posts


so picky's been around for almost twelve years now. HOLY CRAP. now you're checking the sidebar for proof of this statement, right? that first post and so many others from the first years of blogging have bought it. once upon a time i had over a thousand posts, and i went through and did some serious culling so that number was reduced by more than half. i never let get it over six hundred now, and after having reviewed posts today, i will be doing some more culling soon.

i asked my friend erin which posts she most loved, and she mentioned three: if you don't stand for something (my thoughts on colin kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem); one about bullying that did not survive the culling, but there is this other one that deals with that; and a much, much older post, one of the first i'd written that gave me some sense of pride in having written it called a truth universally acknowledged

i looked at picky's stats to see which posts have garnered the most attention: the fall film challenge of sixteen; today's a fucking ugly day (about the time i resigned myself to getting on meds... again... not a pretty post); and me before you (my thoughts on the book).

but this is supposed to be about the six posts i love most.

one. a truth universally acknowledged. because this one was a hard one for me to write. it's one of the first ones i wrote that i actually invested thought and effort, one of the first ones i loved.

two. poetry. i think this one's pretty self-explanatory.

three. fifty reasons to live and its counterpart fifty different reasons. i think this one's pretty self-explanatory, too.

four. the five most difficult things about writing (from an incredibly amateurish perspective). people like to think writing's a cakewalk. good times all around. everybody thinks they can do it, but it's a hell of a lot harder than you think.

five. an army of one. this one's about two things: an article i read in a local paper and a woman i met at a gas station.

six. the pejoration of privilege. this one was prompted by news of a couple, flying from sacramento to dover, being booed by those in first class because the pilot had opted to let that couple deplane first, before them.

share your favorites with lauren and me!

a seventies playlist

January 27, 2017

acdc. highway to hell.
aerosmith. dream on.
the beatles. let it be.
boston. don't look back.
james brown. get up offa that thing.
the carpenters. top of the world.
creedence clearwater revival. up around the bend.
charlie daniels band. the devil went down to georgia.
john denver. annie's song.
neil diamond with barbra streisand. you don't bring me flowers.


the eagles. already gone.

fleetwood mac. go your own way.
gloria gaynor. i will survive.
janis joplin. me and bobby mcgee.
billy joel. she's always a woman.
elton john. don't let the sun go down on me.
barry manilow. mandy.
pink floyd. wish you were here.
queen. bohemian rhapsody.

simon and garfunkel. bridge over troubled water.

ike and tina turner. proud mary.
the who. won't get fooled again.

hank williams jr. family tradition.

stevie wonder. signed, sealed, delivered, i'm yours.
zz top. la grange.

check out erin's list.

an eighties playlist: male vocalists

January 26, 2017

bryan adams. summer of sixty-nine.
garth brooks. if tomorrow never comes.
peter cetera. glory of love.
phil collins. against all odds.
peter gabriel. in your eyes.
corey hart. never surrender.
don henley. boys of summer.
bruce hornsby. the way it is.
waylon jennings. theme from dukes of hazzard (good ol' boys).

billy joel. you may be right.

elton john. candle in the wind.
richard marx. right here waiting.
john cougar mellencamp. small town.
george michael. one more try.
prince. let's go crazy.
willie nelson. you were always on mind.
lionel richie. hello.
bruce springsteen. dancing in the dark.
george strait. all my exes live in texas.
sting. fortress around your heart.
randy travis. deeper than the holler.
stevie ray vaughan. pride and joy.


billy vera. at this moment.

john waite. missing you.
keith whitley. don't close your eyes.

duets (because i can)
peter cetera with cher. after all.
peter cetera with amy grant. next time i fall in love.

phil collins with marilyn martin. separate lives.

dan hill with vonda shepherd. can't we try.
bill medley with jennifer warnes. (i've had) the time of my life.

yeah. i know. my playlist is kind of sad. check out erin's. hers should cheer you right up.

three sentences

January 25, 2017

you made quite an impression on my heart -- so quick and so great as to be astonishing and terrific at once; you were the air and the light, glorious color in my world when for so much of my life i'd been in pitch darkness.

i was blindsided by your presence, your absence; the emotions you stirred in me were so monumental, so foreign, so shocking, and i don't handle my emotions well in normal situations so i was phenomenally inept -- ill-prepared and ill-equipped to care for you in the manner in which you deserved.

my behavior where you're concerned shames me, still, and the guilt is as great as the impression you'd made; i've done my best to carry on, but without the air and the light, i haven't the strength or the sight, and i implore you to forgive me and let us try again.



i can't tell you this, of course. you are so far removed from me, and in so many ways. you are so very adept at constructing walls and burning bridges, so much better than me, and i'm pretty damned good at that. i've gotten pretty damned good at writing since i lost you, since i struggled so desperately to find the right words. maybe there's someone who's struggling as much as i'd done. these won't work with you... but maybe they could work on someone else. maybe.

postcard poem... also called things i find whilst digging in my mac for writing and whatnot

she’d found inspiration once, along
the riverwalk. moved here to be closer to it.
three years later, inspiration left her,
as well as job satisfaction, direction, the man
she loved and her older brother. gone. as
though she’d never known them.
she walked along the river, despaired,
exhausted, casting angry glances at the water
reflecting the world she passed.

the biggest reason why being unemployed sucks

January 24, 2017

am writing this without my glasses and on my super small iphone screen (because having the latest model costs too much), so bear with me. i'll dig into this post later, but for now... since being laid off, i've had to replace four tires and my brakes. none of this was necessary when i was gainfully, if unhappily, employed, by the way.

i'd intended to spend my day getting a copy of scaredy squirrel for the scavenger hunt, which meant driving into houston because the bookstores here don't have it and the wonder twins' copy that we had here has disappeared (it just now occurred to me i may've given it to a friend with her baby shower gift), taking some flowers to the receptionist at my doctor's office in apology for my poor behavior a week or so ago, scheduling an appointment with the doc to discuss my kind of crazy and the meds, then go to a bible study with a friend, followed by pool at barney's with folks from pappadeaux's tonight. it was a good plan.

instead i'm sitting at a mechanic's, where i'll spend half of my bank balance getting new front brakes. i don't even have a book to read.

an hour in, the guy said all of my brakes are shot, so now it's basically all of my balance. fantastic.

so... the cost of that writers conference in new york that i'd expressed interest in attending and my parents agreed to fund, i swapped that out today for the brakes and a local conference. so... touring new york's now off the table. but you know what? that's okay. i've been to london. i'm pretty sure new york's got nothing on that.

tuesday topics: seven acts of kindness

January 23, 2017


one. i cling to some compliments like they're buoys in tempestuous waters. one of my writing friends compared my writing style to rainbow rowell. her writing friends have even taken to referring me as her rainbow rowell girl, which is really nice... and also a little intimidating, but i'm choosing to focus on the nice part. one of my blogging friends paid me this compliment, and yall, i read that thing at least once a month. then there are the compliments in the second and third items on this post. and another of my blogging friends is always telling me how good a writer i am, which i love.

two. aside from those given me by the men in my family, i've been given flowers from other men four times in my adult life. the first time was a single, long-stem red rose from a man with whom i was quite taken. i'd wanted to go somewhere nice for dinner with him, but when i got home from work that day, i realized all of my nice clothes no longer fit, so i called him and asked to cancel the reservations and go somewhere casual like the outback or something, threw on a red t-shirt -- one of my favorites at the time that had some kind of a devilish grin on it and the words lead me not into temptation i can find it myself -- a ragged pair of blue jeans and my boots and got my sloppy self to his place. he had that lone rose for me. said it was because i'd been late. that was a good day.

the next two instances came a couple of years later from a guy i wasn't nearly as interested in knowing. he was probably a good guy, but he bored the hell out of me. not long after we'd started dating, somehow he'd found out the address of my employment and sent me a huge bouquet of a dozen long-stem red roses. they were gorgeous. the next week i got another bouquet, this time of assorted flowers he said was called a european blend, for my european heritage, which was really thoughtful. they were stunning arrangements. i liked that he thought enough of me to send them. i wish i could've appreciated them more, him more.

the last time was a little over six years ago. a friend of the family had asked me to get him a particular dvd, which i did. i wasn't able to give it to him myself, so i gave it to my parents to pass along. the friend tried to give my parents money to give to me, but i didn't want it, and they didn't take it. he sent my mom and i these with the following note:


to let you know your kind
hearts and generous ways do
not go unnoticed.
thank you for being you.

i saved the picture and the note because he's battling leukemia and losing, and the war has been a lengthy one. i'm actually amazed he's still with us. but i know every day he's robbed a little more of his lust for life, of his wondrous spirit. i saved this because i wanted to save a little bit of that.

three. for my birthday this year, the folks are giving me the opportunity to attend the unicorn writers conference at manhattan college in new york, and two bonus days to tour new york city, as i've never been. i went to facebook this morning and asked which of my friends have been to nyc and have gotten tons of suggestions on where to go and stay. i'm pretty grateful for the assistance. it's really nice when folks can chip in this way. it's pretty damned awesome that my parents have afforded me so many travel opportunities. due to their generosity, i've been to disneyland twice, disneyworld twice, london twice, wales, germany, france, spain, st. thomas, cozumel and cancun and countless destinations in the united states. i've seen a LOT of things.

four. this story. it's an oldie but a goodie.

... he was nearly finished with book one when juniper had another awful night. we were rushing to the hospital when he started crying at the wheel. "what if she never hears the end of the story?" he said. "what if she never learns how it ends?"

five. and this one.

... it was at this point that i witnessed the magic of what happens when what appears to be a subdued, refined, fancy-pants new york city fine dining-and-drinking establishment gets all the fucking way done with a creeper...

i've reread those two tales dozens of times.

six. a while back, i got to write stories like this and that about my neighborhood.

seven. conversations like this one, from my journalism days, with my father:

me, on the way to the refrigerator for my morning coffee (aka dr. pepper) 
dad: good morning! you got an article in the paper today. 
me: i know. 
dad: but you split an infinitive. 

because it's nice to have friends feed your ego, but it's nice to have folks keep you humble, too.

share some stories of kindness with lauren and me!

fuck yeah survey: send me a number

January 22, 2017

yall. i has a sad. a very big sad. my packers LOST. THEY FUCKING LOST. i feel like typing but my brain is too despondent to think of something awesome to write, so you get another one of these lovelies from fuck yeah surveys.


one. jennifer kristin griffin
two. aries
three. madness; intimacy; solitude
four. fiction; film; football
five. ann
six. dave matthews band's crash into me
seven. the ability to communicate well; pretty eyes; a nice voice; clever sense of humor
eight. the inability or reluctance to communicate; selfishness; thoughtlessness; making empty promises
nine. magenta
ten. none / two

eleven. i didn't
twelve. pissed off that my packers fucking lost and annoyed that my patriots didn't massacre the steelers; my eyeballs and mouth and skin are dry, but that's because i've not had but one bottle of water today, and that was about ten hours ago; also the folks are nagging me about my conversational style, among other things, which annoys me as well
thirteen. a million dollars
fourteen. single
fifteen. it's a combination of two words colleagues used to describe me
sixteen. star wars: episode v - the empire strikes back; the lord of the rings: the two towers; star trek; serenity; steel magnolias; dedication; about time; good will hunting; philadelphia; playing by heart; seabiscuit; cinderella man
seventeen. u2's with or without you; airborne toxic event's sometime around midnight; smashing pumpkins' stand inside your love; tori amos' baker baker; hootie and the blowfish's not even the trees; third eye blind's the god of wine; temple of the dog's say hello to heaven; indigo girls' prince of darkness; counting crows' anna begins; poe's wild; sara bareilles' between the lines; ingrid michaelson's the chain
eighteen. u2; van halen; airborne toxic event; a fine frenzy; tori amos; sarah mclachlan; def leppard; depeche mode; silversun pickups; garbage; dave matthews band; stevie ray vaughan
nineteen. the packers fucking losing to the goddamned falcons; my inability to find gainful, suitable employment; that i could feel absolutely fine one minute and be sucker punched by the crazy in the next
twenty. the packers winning handily; huntsville, utah in june; the wonder twins' laughter

twenty-one. compassion; kindness; generosity; genuineness; sense of humor
two. my brother
three. my mother
four. i need them too much; they annoy me too often, but i have a feeling that's mutual; they say they're proud of me, but i have a really hard time understanding how that could be
five. meh. the start of football season? does that count?
six. no clue. because. i. don't. do. tumblr
seven. see number twenty-six
eight. i didn't take a shower today
nine. people crowding me, either by riding my ass or pacing me on the roadway or standing too close to me in line at a store; celebrities running their mouths about politics; uninformed people acting like they're geniuses
thirty. french mastiffs and akitas

thirty-one. none
two. whether i did my homework
three. my physical well-being
four. dating the douchebag that jeopardized my physical and mental well-being
five. i don't
six. all the mistakes i've made and how ashamed i am of and can't forgive myself for them
seven. playing on the computer the first and last hours of my day; arguing with my father about petty shit like whether it's three minutes past (according to my computer) or three minutes before (according to his phone) nine p.m.; hanging out at pappadeaux's
eight. get a job; get a book written and published; get my own place
nine. getting a book published
forty. barnes and noble booksellers; pottery barn; williams sonoma; restoration hardware; anthropologie; sur la table

forty-one. chicken spaghetti; blue bell dutch chocolate ice cream; the republic grille's trg salad with salmon; babin's broiled halibut with lump crab lemon butter sauce with capers; ranger cookies; bread and butter
two. watched television
three. writing
four. the best date i've been on... we met at ihop, gave each other tarot card readings (which was actually kind of fun and totally his idea, and i liked that he was game for that), went to mcdonald's for french fries, a texaco station for drinks and then sat in the ihop parking lot for like two hours just talking... i loved that i spent four hours with a guy and never felt uncomfortable or awkward or insignificant; i loved that i could talk to a guy without worrying about what i said
five. are writers, so they're probably not celebrities in the traditional sense, but i'd really like to meet rainbow rowell and jenny lawson
six. there's one in the top left corner
eight. if the world were perfect four, but it's not so none
nine. no /  no
fifty. why the fuck do the green bay packers still employ dom capers as their defensive coordinator? that goon needs to be booted out on his stupid ass RIGHT NOW

tuesday topics: eight characters

January 17, 2017

a few years ago, i used a random quarter post to talk about characters i loved from novels. today i'm going to focus on characters i love from film and television.

film:
doc holliday played by val kilmer in tombstone

mark hunter played by christian slater in pump up the volume

james kirk played by chris pine in star trek

malcolm reynolds played by nathan fillion in serenity and the television series firefly

television:
martin deeks played by eric christian olsen in ncis: los angeles

anthony dinozzo played by michael weatherly in ncis

josh lyman played by bradley whitford in the west wing

leo mcgarry played by john spencer in the west wing
share your favorite characters with lauren and me!

five for friday

January 13, 2017

all the things that have been stored in mercy bocephus, my car, for the past year or so

my room, prior to bringing the many bags upstairs

mercy bocephus, after getting four new kicks and a bath

clinic's lobby, waiting for a prescription refill and battling a panic attack

outside target, after shopping for a friend's baby gift

oh look! another survey!

January 12, 2017

i swiped this from audrey lou.

what are you completely bored of in life right now? depression. two days in a row, i've felt fine until about four p.m. and then the bullshit whammies me and i'm driving down gosling road bawling like my dog just died or something. and then two hours later, i'm fine again.

what is your favorite scented candle? rewined champagne.

what movie do you laugh at the most? ace ventura: pet detective.

what is the last song you listened to? queensryche's silent lucidity.

what’s one thing you still have from your childhood? the scar on my stomach.

what was your least favorite subject in school? geometry. or principles of accounting. or the one about judicial systems.

if you had a superpower, what would it be? i wanna be like professor x so i never have to wonder what the fuck people are thinking so i could stop being such a paranoid wench.

what is the best compliment you’ve ever received? i'm sure there are ones more worthy of the title best, two of which are referenced in this post. but i've never much cared for the skin i'm in, so i'm gonna go with this one: a man i cared for told me i was gorgeous -- i was wearing a gray t-shirt promoting the sport of rugby, ragged blue jeans and beat up doc martens, no make-up, no product in my hair. i'm pretty fond of that memory. and then there's this one. i like it quite a bit, too.

what’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done? toured wales by myself.

what’s one thing you need to have in your fridge at any given time? coca-cola.

if you could raid one woman’s closet, who would it be? no one living. i'd snag jackie kennedy onassis' wardrobe.

what is your favorite movie? star wars: episode v -- the empire strikes back. (but if you were to ask me this some other time, that answer would most assuredly be different.)

twitter or instagram? twitter. fuck instagram.

dogs or cats? dogs. definitely.

dolphins or koalas? dolphins. definitely.

bird-watching or whale-watching? neither.

weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? octopus. so disgusting.

what’s your favorite band? van halen, but only because i've loved them longest.

what country do you wish to visit? austria.

what’s your favorite color? green.

least favorite color? burnt orange.

what color dress did you wear to your prom? i didn't go.

blow-dry or air-dry? my hair looks better if i blow-dry it, but i'm usually too impatient to mess with that.

pilates or yoga? neither.

jogging or swimming? swimming. definitely.

best way to decompress? sit at mom's computer in dad's office, blogging, facebooking and listening to music.

what’s the best thing to happen to you last year? i met ann and kelly.

where would you love to live? london.

what’s your midnight snack? crackers or chips.

what do you usually order at starbucks? venti black iced tea with one pump of sugar.

who is the last person you texted? my sister-in-law.

what are three things you can’t live without? film, literature and music.

what’s the first thing you do in the morning? pee.

what is the question you get asked the most? what the hell is your problem?

what’s one word you use too much? fuck.

would you describe yourself as messy or neat? messy.

what karaoke song would you sing without needing the monitor? i wouldn't. stage fright. my eyes would be glued to that screen, regardless of whether i needed to be prompted. and the things i like to sing ain't the things you sing in karaoke.

what’s one skill you wish you had? the ability to shrug shit off.

what is the geekiest thing about you? that i do shit like this? or that i've seen movies dozens of times?

tuesday topics: nine healthy recipes

January 9, 2017


okay. you picky readers should know by now, but if not, here's a friendly reminder: i don't cook. i loathe cooking. i hate the mess, before and after. i hate how long you spend preparing something that takes one-twentieth of the time to eat. why go through all that trouble when there are perfectly good restaurants (like pappadeaux's) within five minutes of your home? and before you say because deaux's is expensive, i can eat there for six bucks and some change. why? because the bartenders love me and know i'm almost always broke (probably because i'm at deaux's a little too often).

nine recipes. nine. oi. vey. lauren picked this topic. just saying.

buffalo cauliflower bites
i went to the facebook: so i'm supposed to blog about nine healthy recipes next week. the only things i know how to make either don't require a stove/oven or the major ingredients are pasta and/or cheese.

and my friends came back with things like smoothies, whole grains, sweet potato toasts and soups, salads, simple foods. okay. simple's opening a can of green beans, pouring them in a bowl and nuking it for a minute. that's my kind of cooking. one of my friends said: you can't get recipes from sitting at the bar. i know. that's why i sit at the bar.

one of my friends likes to cater things. she texted me with a link to real housemoms' buffalo cauliflower bites. she said they are tasty and at least less fat than wings (which there is NO substitute for). i've made these, and they get rave reviews. 


chicken yakatori
another friend sent a link for cooking light's staff favorites. one hundred six recipes from which to choose. surely eight of them would pique my interest.

were i tempted to cook, and yall, the last thing i cooked was chicken spaghetti, and that was like a year ago, these would be the things at which i'd most likely take a stab.

chicken yakatori. it needs more broccoli. and maybe some bell peppers and water chestnuts. but this one looks easy enough. i could probably manage it.

waffle iron turkey melt panini
waffle iron turkey melt panini. i'm sure we've got a waffle iron somewhere in this house.

whole-grain spelt and cornmeal biscuits. i've no idea what spelt is. i'm not entirely sure i want to know. something tells me when it comes to eating healthier, not knowing is a very good thing. fine. i looked. apparently it's some sort of flour. (i'd probably just use what's in the house, which'd probably make'm very unhealthy.)

lemon-herb risotto with shrimp and haricots verts. those last two words? i'm not looking them up. don't tell me. i'll just serve it with broccoli or something.


mustard-glazed salmon
chicken pot pie skillet pizza. of the things, this one holds the most appeal for me. chicken pot pie and pizza. what could possibly be bad about that?

breakfast strata
mustard-glazed salmon with horseradish potatoes. mustard. meh. and horseradish. yuck. but maybe it'd be alright. my mom would probably like it. and salmon's on that list of foods some doctor said i should eat more often.

spinach, bacon and gruyere breakfast strata. breakfast. yum. i could do breakfast all day. every day.


apple galette with vanilla yogurt drizzle. the yummiest-looking thing on the list. i'm gonna have mom make this. :]

share your favorite healthy recipes with lauren and me!

i should probably clean this up

January 4, 2017


tuesday topics: ten resolutions

January 2, 2017


one. find work i enjoy that suits my talents and skills set and provides financial stability.
two. complete the final revisions to my manuscript; attain literary representation.
three. write six letters per month, and never to the same person twice.
four. complete the sixty day minimalism challenge.
five. complete six bible studies.
six. complete prior lists and both the regular and bonus rounds of erin's book challenge.
seven. complete prior lists and both the regular and bonus rounds of the next fall film challenge.
eight. eliminate coca-cola and dr. pepper from my diet.
nine. exercise for a minimum of thirty minutes at least three times a week.
ten. lose thirty-six pounds by december thirty-first.

share your resolutions with lauren and me! 

put a little love in your heart

studying english in college meant reading crap like flannery o'connor's good country people and herman melville's billy budd, sailor and a shit ton of shakespeare. i love shakespeare, yall, but a gal can only take so much iambic pentameter. i spent the first two years at a small women's college in nevada, missouri (also called bumfuckville, misery... GREAT college, godawful location). i was sick to death of school. i spent more time playing cards and watching mtv and movies in the basement or trading smut books with my suitemates. the penchant for reading romance novels stuck. 

erin's book challenge kicked off yesterday. today, she asked me what romances i could recommend. some titles are ridiculous, but the stories are pretty good. the ones in bold are the ones i like best. some of'm may be hard to find. some of'm are incredibly sappy, but i like them anyway. some of'm are stories in a series. the ones that are collections are separated by commas. the rest are divided by semi-colons.

contemporary
cecelia ahern: love rosie
sandra brown: fanta c, adam's fall
vanessa diffenbaugh: the language of flowers
gayle forman: if i stay, where she went; just one day
emily giffin: something borrowed, something blue
jane green: straight talking; bookends; jemima j
john green: the fault in our stars
debbie macomber: navy wife
judith mcnaught: paradise
david nicholls: one day
nora roberts: daring to dream, holding the dream, finding the dream; the macgregor brides, the macgregor grooms, the macgregors: alan and grant; seaswept, rising tides, inner harbor, chesapeake blue; born in fire, born in ice, born in shame; the villa; vision in white, bed of roses, savour the moment, happy ever after; the next always, the last boyfriend, the perfect hope; tribute; birthright
rainbow rowell: eleanor and park; attachments; fangirl
ellen shanman: right before your eyes
nicholas sparks: the notebook; a walk to remember
lavyrle spencer: separate beds
katherine stone: promises, roommates, love songs, illusions, bed of roses, happy endings, rainbows, the carlton club, twins.
jennifer weiner: in her shoes
elizabeth young: asking for trouble; a girl's best friend

fantasy
cecelia ahern: p.s. i love you
audrey niffenegger: the time traveler's wife
nora roberts: jewels of the sun, tears of the moon, heart of the sea; blue dahlia, black rose, red lily; key of light, key of knowledge, key of valor; dance upon the air, heaven and earth, face the fire
rainbow rowell: landline

historical
kathleen baldwin: a school for unusual girls, exile for dreamers
julie garwood: the lion's lady, guardian angel, the gift, castles; saving grace; the secret, ransom; the prize; the bride, the wedding
heather graham: one wore blue, one wore gray
johanna lindsey: love only once, tender rebel, gentle rogue; prisoner of my desire
elizabeth lowell: untamed, forbidden, enchanted
judith mcnaught: whitney my love; once and always, something wonderful, almost heaven

romantic suspense
sandra brown: best kept secrets; french silk; mirror image; slow heat in heaven
nora roberts: honest illusions; public secrets; the reef; river's end; genuine lies; the witness; sanctuary

westerns
heather graham: and one rode west
elizabeth lowell: only his, only mine, only you, only love
francine rivers: redeeming love
nora roberts: montana sky
lavyrle spencer: the gamble

my true love gave to me: twelve holiday stories

January 1, 2017

why i wanted to read it: hello. rainbow rowell. duh. yall should know i'll read pretty much anything that's got her name on it. also it's a selection for erin's book challenge.

what i liked: from rowell's midnights:

noel swung his head around and made eye contact with mags. he raised his eyebrows hopefully; his eyes went all soft and possible. it was definitely a face that said, hey. is it okay if i kiss you?

"oh," mags said. "that's really good."

noel snapped out of it -- and made a face that said, well, duh. "of course it's good. i've kissed girls before" (page 6).

"they're playing our song," he said.

"they're playing 'baby got back'," mags said (page 8).

"what are we doing?" mags asked.

"i don't know..." he said eventually. "i know things have to change, but... i can't lose you. i don't think i get another one like you" (page 21).

from jenny han's polaris is where you'll find me:

it's snowing, of course. there's always snow on the ground here. it makes everything look diamond dusted. the thing about snow is, it's very quiet. the air is hushed. it's like church.

it's reverential (page 96).

living where i live, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between magic and make believe (page 98).

from david levithan's your temporary santa:

i want them to see me holding his hand. i want to be holding his hand. i want him to love me when i'm naughty and when i'm nice. i want. i want. i want.

i am worried about being in love, because it involves asking so much. i am worried that my life will never fit into his. that i will never know him. that he will never know me. that we get to hear the stories, but never get to hear the full truth.

"enough," i say to myself. i need to say it out loud, because i need to actually hear it (page 145).

it should be enough as i step over him and see the welcome in his eyes. it should be enough to see his hair pointing in all different directions, and the fact that there are cowboys on his pajama pants and he is telling me he can't believe he fell asleep. it should be enough that he is beckoning me now -- it should be enough to join him in the bed, blanket pulled aside. it should be enough to feel his hand on my shoulder, his lips lightly on my lips. but something is not right. i still feel that, in some way, i should not be here (page 147).

from holly black's krampuslauf: 

when i was a kid, i didn't understand that santa's elves weren't the kind from storybooks. i thought his toy shop was staffed with fauns and boggarts, sprites and trolls, goblins and pixies. before mom left, when i made lists to give to santa, they were always full of magical things. i wanted a cloak that could make me fly. i wanted a tiny doll, no bigger than my finger and as perfectly jointed as a living person. after mom left, i wanted crystal balls with which to scrye my mother and magical chalk that could draw me a doorway to her, and a magical potion i could make her drink that would make her care about us (pages 130-131).

our first christmas together, anne sewed me a tiny doll with jointed cloth limbs and thin embroidery floss for hair. i guess dad told her about my old christmas lists.

i didn't let her know, but i'd teared up when i saw the doll. i was too old for it, but i didn't care. i carried her around in my purse, until she got too sticky with jolly ranchers and marked up by pens that i had to retire her to a bookshelf in my room (page 159).

"we brought gifts," the boy... said, and the blond reached into his coat and brought out a bottle of clear liquor. he removed the cork with his teeth. "mine is holiday cheer" (page 169).

that was the moment i decided that since magic was real... since i'd made this party out of two hundred bucks and sheer determination, then maybe i was wrong about the things i thought i couldn't have, that weren't for me. maybe it was okay to imagine greater things. maybe it was all for me, if i wanted it (page 175).

from gayle forman's what the hell have you done, sophie roth?:

she'd had defenders in that class. wingmen. even if she hadn't noticed them. hadn't noticed him. the truth was, she didn't notice a lot of things at school. she kept her head down, wore blinders. it was a survival tactic. only now did she wonder if it was a stupid survival tactic, like wearing a life jacket made of metal. 

"i asked about you, after the class... but i never spotted you for more than a blur. until tonight... i was debating saying something. you were looking pretty fierce, not fit for company... but then you mentioned ned flanders, and i had to say something" (pages 195-196).

what if the mistake wasn't coming here, but being blind to any of that? 

what the hell have you done, sophie roth? she thought to herself for the umpteenth time. but it felt different now (page 199).

from myra mcentire's beer buckets and baby jesus:

shame leads to secrets, and secrets lead to lies, and lies ruin everything. especially friendships. no kid wants to explain that his mom can't bring snacks to class because she ran out of xanax before the pharmacy would refill the prescription. other parents stop inviting you to birthday parties, because you don't reciprocate. no one asks you to join sports teams, because you never meet the registration deadlines, and if you do, no one ever remembers to pay your league fees. soon enough, people forget you altogether.

so you do things that make them remember (pages 210-211).

the story by stephanie perkins called it's a yuletide miracle, charlie brown. that one and the first one by rowell -- noel and mags are amazing -- are my favorites. welcome to christmas, ca by kiersten white's alright.

what sucked: the last two stories. that even though i marked pages of others because i liked what was written, i didn't love the stories so much.

having said that: it's not a bad collection. my biggest complaint is the stories i loved were way too short and the stories i loathed were much too long.