Friday, January 28, 2011

the road to hell is paved with...

Red velvet.


I am happy.

And yes, it *is* actually National Wacky Webcam Week*.

And National Red Velvet NOMMING Day**.

* In my house.

**In my house***.

***Every day is, really****.

****Honestly, you can't be surprised.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

more fun with webcams

My webcam is like a magic cupcake gun.

It can be used for good or evil.

But I can't stop playing with it. I inevitably look ridiculous, and then I try to make myself look normal and pretty, but it doesn't work, so I get annoyed and start making faces.

Here's the progression from carpool today:

Slightly cross-eyed with a lot of chin and wonky bangs. Try again.

Okay, feeling like that guy in Of Mice and Men. Those eyes belong on two different people.

Oh, hell. Let's just do a weird one. Crap! I look like Cher!


And I tried it again, just now. In my favorite writing chair.

Wake up, lady! What, are you drunk and listening to Sublime?

Hmm. This thing is challenging. I wonder if I could beat it at Scrabble?

I give up. This cupcake gun is hereby EVIL.

Prepare for evil cupcakes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

what's got 2 thumbs and broke the bed?


I tried to move it across the room. I've moved at least 4 other beds in my life. In high school, I'd get all insomniac-Hulk-strong and move my room every few months. And this is the prettiest, nicest, most expensive bed I've ever had.

That didn't stop it from doing this:

The top of the headboard disconnected from the bottom, each of those little bars came undone, and then the entire headboard came apart from the runners, and then all the footer boards fell through, so the box spring slammed down on... um... two years of books that we had forgotten we were storing under the bed.


But it's all fixed now. I used my handy, leather-bound Jane Austen compendium to beat the crap out of it until all the parts stuck together again. And then I moved it, pushing instead of pulling, and being much more careful. And after a few hours of insanity, my room looks pretty good.

Seriously, this bed? If Ikea had a nightmare, it would be trying to get all the parts back together alone with only a bossy, melodramatic four-year-old in a tutu for help and support.

Thank you, Jane Austen. You saved me there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

weekend conversations

t.rex: VCR boken. Sister! On!

biscuit: Oh no. You finally broke it, brother. WE'RE DOOMED.


biscuit: Mommy, can we hear the song about the girl from other space?

me: You mean Golden Age by Asteroid Galaxy Tour? Sure!

biscuit: Why can't you sing like her?

me: We all have different gifts, and singing is definitely not my gift.

biscuit: You don't look like her, either.

me: Nope. We're very different.

biscuit: (consolingly) Sorry about that, Ol' Mom.


biscuit: Can we listen to the song about the guy smoking the cigarette?

me: (cringing to realize she's tuning in to lyrics) You mean Control by Metro Station? Sure. But, um, you know that smoking is very bad, right?

biscuit: Yeah. That guy is totally stupid. And I think he's just pretending to smoke, anyway.

me: (sotto voce) Oh, definitely. He's pretending to be a rabid misogynist, too.

biscuit: And next, can we listen to the song about the fuckinvegeparian?

me: Now I see why Wal*Mart sells CDs with the lyrics dumbed down.


me: Bad news, dude.

biscuit: What?

me: The headless tentacle squidlets from my calamari are forming a zombie squid army, and they're coming to steal your ice cream sundae.

biscuit: AAAAAH!

me: You do right to fear the zombie squid army! (marches fried squid bodies across the table of The Cheesecake Factory while humming The Emperor's March from Star Wars)

biscuit: You are so weird.

me: You're not supposed to figure that out until you're, like, twelve.


biscuit: (while swinging) This is really fun! I'm so glad Daddy is watching t.rex!

me: (swinging next to her) I KNOW! IT'S AWESOME!

biscuit: I can swing higher than you!

me: There is no universe in which that is possible!

biscuit: Wow, mom. You're really fun when you're not pretending to be a Mom.

me: That is the truest thing ever.

Friday, January 21, 2011

the lesson of the cami

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that still had a version of MTV that still played music videos, a young girl saw this video by Aerosmith.

And she thought, I MUST HAVE THAT CAMI.

If I have the right lacy white cami, and the right plaid flannel shirt, and artistically ripped jean shorts, and perfectly stompy boots, I CAN BE AS HOT AS ALICIA SILVERSTONE.

Just like this.

So she looked high and low for the perfect cami. At Uptons and Target and KMart and the mall. But they were never perfect. Too high-cut, too bazoonga-bearing, too lacy, not lacy enough.

And so camis and plaid flannel shirts went out of style before the girl ever found the right cami, and so she was never as hot as Alicia Silverstone.

Fast forward sixteen years.

The girl finds a pajama tank top on the 75% off rack at Target for $2.48. She buys it, thinking you can never have too many tank tops.

She puts it on with her new jeans and looks in the mirror and has a startling realization.

An imperfect cami on a confident woman at 33 is 1000 times hotter than a perfect cami on an idiot at 16.

And that, friends, is the lesson of the cami.

Also, that song still rocks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

X marks the somethingorother

So I decided to try treasure mapping in 2009. Maybe it's a little goofy, but I had a lot of goals, and I thought it would at the very least be an interesting way to record them.

Amazingly, most of it has actually come true.

Check it.

Red = came true.
Blue = did not happen or utterly incomprehensible.

Lots of it happened in ways I didn't expect. For example, I wanted to become a better artist, but I had no idea I would do it by becoming a writer. I wanted to make money through this blog, but I could not have predicted that blogging would help me make friends with Carrie, who is now one of my best friends, through whom I found Cool Mom Picks, where I'm now an Associate Editor.

I'm totally surprised to see that my treasure map kinda worked.

Time to do another one, right?

Monday, January 17, 2011

shakeshakeshakeshake it

Here's what I've been working on today, although I haven't put everything in the perfect order yet. It's a playlist for the book I'm working on.

See, I need to channel what it felt like to be a teen and constantly waiting for love and passion and adventure to find you. It's very different from being an adult, content and understood and loved and confident. I need to feel that way again from the safety of my Ikea chair, feel like the heroine of the story, who is very different from me in ways besides age and experience. And music is the best catalyst to that feeling. So this is a mix of songs of mania and yearning and sweetness from then and now, all mixed up.

It's like a drug, this music, a means to a certain kind of high. Every book has a soundtrack, and this one had to be cobbled together. I'm stuck on my manuscript, and I'm not sure which direction to take, so I'm going to load it on my iPod and listen to it while I fall asleep and see what happens.

Writing? Not an exact science.

Out of curiosity, anybody want to tell me what songs transport you back to that time of innocence and longing? You can be anonymous.

Just please don't say Insane Clown Posse, okay?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

the scientific method and me

The effect of Paul Westerberg on a 33 year old female
who has just found her webcam.

1. Listen to Waiting for Somebody on YouTube.

2. Turn on webcam and click stuff like an idiot.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Fig. 7


Ridiculously muppetflail joy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

run-on truths


Our first day out on our own, just me and the kids. We've been trapped here for six days. I now understand how Stephen King wrote The Shining. I'm pretty sure my aloe plant has been sneaking up on me.

The drink machine at Moe's isn't much fun when it's out of funny flavors. I squealed so loudly about samosas being back in stock at Trader Joe's that two passerby bought them. It made me feel like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, which I've never actually seen.

Remember when she made that movie where she ran a bookstore by the ocean and the guy from American Werewolf in Paris worked there? I want to live in that town, swim in that ocean, ride that bike, and go to that bookstore, but I don't want to see Meg Ryan. Or that movie, ever again.

The snow was all iced over on top today, and it reminded me of the crust on creme brulee. I even did a kick to feel it burst under my boot heel, and I imagined it was the printer in Office Space, and I shouted, "PC LOAD LETTER; WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?" in the Starbucks parking lot at 9:34pm. I almost went into Five Guys for a burger, but that's no fun alone.

I redid the banner on my writing site to reflect the fact that I write books about things besides mouse people standing on Converse shoes. I added a juggling polanda bear. It took several hours, $13 at Blick, and a glass of wine to accomplish. It was worth it. There's nothing like dipping a new brush into a fresh pan of watercolors or a full jar of ink.

When we played My Little Ponies this evening, the Biscuit loved my Pinky Pie voice and swore it was just like the movie, but I was really channeling Jordan from Real Genius.

I actually left 3/4 of my red velvet cupcake at Starbucks tonight because it was stale and the icing tasted like old lemon drops suspended in soapy goat cheese. I was so excited to be writing that I didn't even mourn it. I got through a tough scene and managed to sneak in one of my all time favorite poems.

I drove home listening to Under a Streetlight by Airborne Toxic Event. The windows were open just a little bit so I could smell the snow, but I kept one hand over the heat vent. I'm left to wonder if we spend our entire lives trying to convince ourselves that we're *still* sixteen, or whether we just try to force ourselves to forget that we're *not*.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

words i wish i'd written

Yesterday, I read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The entire book was charming and fun-- which explains how I read it all in one day and hungered for more. But one sentence of thousands jumped out at me and nearly strangled me with brilliance. I wished to be in my old college dorm room again, just long enough to write it on the wall in Sharpie.

After a few weeks of the writing blahs, I wanted to write again.

Because of one sentence.

Here it is.

"The drapery was so thick and the furniture so cloaked that I half expected to find Sherlock Holmes thumb-wrestling with Jane Austen in the corner."

Does that not perfectly describe a rich old eccentric woman's parlor as seen through the eyes of a teen boy bibliophile? It's genius.

If you love words and want to remember what is possible in a world full of possibilities, give Dash and Lily a chance.

p.s. My favorite line from my WIP is: I looked like the cancan dancer of the damned.

p.p.s. It's my favorite because my agent loved it. If something I write speaks to someone enough for them to mention it on Twitter, it becomes my favorite. So there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

just FFS

Just in case you needed that sort of thing.

If that's too saccharine for your tastes, I also present this:

her first blond joke

the biscuit: (in bubble bath) Oh no! This girl has soap in her eyes! She can't see! She's BLOND!

me: She's what?

the biscuit: SHE'S BLOND. It means she can't see or hear right.


the biscuit: It's NOT FUNNY, Mom. She's going to have a hard time for the rest of her life!

me: More than you know, honey. More than you know.

Monday, January 10, 2011


SNOWPOCALYPSE 2011: A timeline.

10:32pm: Shut up, Twitter, with your Snowpocalypse warnings! It's dry and dark outside. There is no snow. YOU LIE!


11:02pm: I put on a fuzzy pullover and some wedges and run outside in the dark, cackling and throwing snowballs at my own windows.

4:30am: t.rex wakes up.

5:00am: t.rex besmirches himself with filth. I clean it up in the dark.

6:00am: t.rex cries again. I decide I'm going mad.

6:30am: I put the biscuit in t.rex's room and lock them in and proceed to have a marvelous dream in which my bed is in a lush, green field under a flowering dogwood, and the flowers are glowing in the moonlight.

6:32am: Dr. Krog wakes me up to listen to the children laughing sweetly about diapers on their heads. I growl and try to get back into the dream about sleeping.

7:13am: I give up, and we all wake up for breakfast.

8:30am: SNOW TIME. I begin to dress the children.

9:00am: Entire family is dressed. It's going to be great! We take our first steps outside into 6 inches of fluffy white snow, the most I've seen since the blizzard of 1994.

9:01am: Yay, snow!

9:01:32am: What is this marvelous stuff?

9:01:53am: Wow. It's deep. And cold. And sticky. But we'll have an adventure!

9:02:15am: Time to go sledding!

9:03:02am: Huh. That didn't work as well as we thought it would. Box = not that aerodynamic, actually. But I'm going to make a SNOW ANGEL!

9:03:56am: Holy God, that is almighty cold. And it's all sticking to me. And I can't feel my hands. Or my ass.

9:04:06am: Let's get the heck out of here. RETREAT! RETREAT!

9:04:11am: And leave destruction in our wake, like REAL AMERICANS!

9:15am: After stripping 3 layers of clothes, chucking 2 pounds of snow on the wood floors, and having a Full Family Whine Fest regarding the fact that SNOW is quite COLD, we settle down for hot chocolate and snow ice cream. Much more our speed.

Thanks, SNOWPOCALYPSE. It was a great four minutes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

3 things that are quite fine

Today I must recommend:

1. Archer. Recently released on DVD, this cartoon by Adam Reed is like Frisky Dingo meets James Bond with charming, sexy sociopath Archer Sterling, code name: Duchess, voiced by the peerless H. Jon Benjamin. Chris Parnell, one of the hidden gems of SNL, is also in there as Cyril Figgiss. It makes me laugh until my organs shift. But it's obscene and vulgar, so if you've a delicate constitution, skip it.

2. The Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn. The first 3 books are available in a Nook bundle for only $9.99. SO. WORTH. IT. I haven't been so obsessed with books since the first time I read Outlander. Victorian historical romance mystery, but no bodice ripping at all. Well written, dryly humorous, clever. And I don't usually guess the murderer, either. I like it so much I'll be buying it in book form, if that tells you anything.

3. Getting on the mailing list for The shoes I almost bought for $60 last week are on sale today for $20, and I wouldn't know that without the email. I had no idea their prices fluctuated so wildly.

So there you have it. Vulgar geek cartoons, Victorian historicals, and cheap shoes. Throw in something of a cake-like variety, and you've pretty much summed me up.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

top cakes

Bleedin' groundhog cake

(Lay off, man. It was 2002.)

The best cakes I've ever had are:

1. The red velvet cake made by Cecilia Villavece in Athens, GA, served at East/West Bistro and Last Resort Grill-- at least it was, the last time I was there. This cake is amazingly moist and the luscious red of Playdoh with almond-tickled buttercream icing.

2. This creme brulee cake we had in Greece. I don't even remember which city it was, much less which restaurant. But it was unbelievable.

3. The top tier of my wedding cake from Cakes by Shirley in Seneca, SC. They handed me a box and told me to open it in a year, and I assumed they were crazy. We took it with us when we moved to Alabama on our anniversary. We ate it out of the freezer that night, and much to my surprise, it was just as beautiful and delicious as the day of our troth-plighting.

Yes, I finished it. The whole thing. In, like, 3 days.

That thing up there, in the picture? That was the groom's cake, a bleedin' velvet groundhog. There were no leftovers.

4. The petit fours from Cakes by Darcy that my friend Jan got for my first baby shower. I ate all the leftovers. They were even better than cupcakes because there was icing in the middle and on every side. Come to think of it, WHY AM I NOT EATING THESE THINGS ALL THE TIME?

5. The double chocolate tarte from Anna Lee's. I had some last week for the first time in a year and almost cried with joy.

I could go on and on. I'm just hormonal and feeling all maudlin about cake.

You feel that way sometimes, too, right?

Friday, January 7, 2011

religious studies of the very young

biscuit: Those trees are CREEPY!

me: I think they're pretty. I love stark black winter trees against a deep blue sky.

biscuit and daddy: (sigh)

biscuit: No, they're creepy.

daddy: Definitely creepy.

biscuit: It's like Shadow Weaver showed up in Weather Wood and cast a spooky shadow spell!

daddy: Uh, is that, like, in Care-A-Lot?

biscuit: No!

daddy: Forest of... erm... Feelings, then? Or Ponyopolis?

biscuit: (rolling eyes) No, daddy. It's in She-Ra, Princess of Power.

daddy: Clearly, you actually pay attention to detail when it's poorly animated.

me: Did you ever notice how in the 80's, cartoon characters were named for their personality traits? I mean, it's not like Shadow Weaver's mom was like, "This baby will one day weave shadows!" Or like Cat-Ra came out with a tail.

daddy: Naw, they chose those names. They're definitely alter egos.

me: Oh, so when Bogey discovered he was a talking orangutan and left the jungles of Borneo to venture to some random, poorly attended zoo, he was like, "Hey, I mysteriously sound just like Humphrey Bogart! That's my new name!" Because how does a great ape even know about the Rat Pack?

biscuit and daddy: (in unison) Oh, mommy. What does that even mean?


biscuit and daddy: (silence)

me: I am so misunderstood.

biscuit: It's too bad that people fight on that planet so we can't go see where he died.

daddy: Um, do you mean Omega Supreme?

biscuit: NO, daddy. I MEAN GOD.

daddy: I think you mean Israel, right? The country of Isreal? Where Jesus is buried?


daddy: Something like that.

biscuit: Oh. I always thought he was buried on Highway 92.

me and daddy: (shaking with supressed giggles)

daddy: No, sweetheart. He lived and died far away.

me: In a hot place with lots of deserts and sand.

biscuit: Oh, gosh. I hate deserts SO SO MUCH. THEY ARE SO HOT!

me: Dude, have you ever been to a desert?

biscuit: Yeah. But where is God buried?

daddy: God isn't really a person that lived and died. He's like a spirit, and he's everywhere. And Jesus was born as his son, and then he lived for a while, and then he died and came back to life, according to the Bible.

biscuit: Oh. Is that like when Optimus Prime came back as Rodimus Prime?

me and daddy: Uh...

daddy: Yeah, dude. Something like that. Whatever they're teaching you in Episcopalian preschool, I just love you.

biscuit: And I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

the lad, the weasel, and the fox

I know what you're wondering.

Why would a 2 year old lay on the wooden floor and smother himself with my skinny jeans? They weren't even fresh out of the dryer, for heaven's sake.

And the answer is this: I have no idea. THE KID IS WEIRD.

But he comes by it honestly. Honest.

Last week, I took the Biscuit to one of those paint-your-own-overpriced-pottery places. Part of the reason was that she accidentally broke one of her favorite handmade ornaments while helping me take down the Christmas tree and bawled for half an hour. The other part of the reason is that I had a great yen to paint some pottery.

So here's what I did.

I captured the epic battle of a fox and a weasel on a bed of light blue and cerulean.

No, I have no idea why. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It's for Dr. Krog. He loves it, for some odd reason.

Thank goodness.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

life's pretty little secrets

In the past year, I've learned many things.

I'm not going to list them, because that would bore you.

But here's one thing that I think every woman should know.

When you buy expensive shoes, they come in the cutest box ever.

The Seychelles t-straps I caught on major sale at Anthopologie came in a box so pretty that I put it on the shelf. And the Poetic Licence sandals that I got for $25 at a sale came in a darling little pink-and-blue box that looks like it should be holding petit-fours.

I'm too sick and tired to go up and take a picture, but seriously. It makes me want to buy EVEN MORE SHOES. FOR THE BOXES.

I can't believe I didn't learn this truth until I was 33.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

my contribution to pretend play

biscuit: Mommy, I am being the girl version of Scoopy Doo. My name is Shaggyla. Do you want to play? You can be the girl version of Shaggy.

me: (whispering) Sorry, buddy. Pretty sure I'm rockin' the bronchitis. I just want to sit here, drinking coffee and being miserable as I drown in my own throat.

biscuit: Maybe you could be her, but like you? You could be the girl version of Shaggy, but really really sick and in the hospital?

me: Sure, sweetheart. That sounds great. I'm the girl version of Shaggy, and I'm convalescing in an iron lung in an orphan hospital, and I can't talk or move.

biscuit: Okay. Your name is Scoopyla. Let's play.

me: I'm already playing.

biscuit: THIS IS FUN! I love playing with you, Mommy!

me: And I love playing with you, in part because your expectations are so low.

biscuit: WHEEEEEEE!
I can fly
I can shiver
it's a very very great day
cripes were born in Bethlehem
and I am the girl dog
who is a singer
Brother, quit playing the piano
that is not a good song
I can't dance to that

And that's the first thirty minutes of my morning.

I think the next stop might be the doctor.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

the biscuit sings, holiday edition

the biscuit sings:

December is spring
it is very beautiful
no no no no no
Rainbow Dash and her family to you
you will be friends with her family forever and ever
her name will be Rainbow Dash
and you will have a beautiful day
and maybe you will go ice skating
or roller skating toooooooooo
and maybe with Pinky Pie and Starsong
and also their families
they are tall and purple
and they can all fly together
you will enjoy to be
with their family
today there is no raaaaaaain
you will like to see her dance and sing
you will surely see her family
you will enjoy her food
and you are so pretty, too
when you will be wordsle woo
(that rhymed, mommy!)
Rainbow Dash and her family to you
they are a family every day
for goodness sakes
and snowflakes on Christmas Day
and noodle cakes
(pause to tie shoes)
Felicia Medad!
Felicia Medad!
(me: Who's Felicia?)
That Christmas song-- about Felicia Medad.
(me: You mean Feliz Navidad?)
Yeah, her.
It is very gorgeous
to have a Christmas Day
if you are very good
one day you will meet your family
and see your Autobot family
every day
and we will sew little clothes for our little pets
like RatBat and Buzzsaw and Shockwave
and we will all wear our clothes
like our extra armor
that we sewed
every day
little sweaters for Soundwave and Shockwave and Megatron
and we will leave big balls of energon cubes
on our Autobot lawns for the reindeer
and I am the best singer

Honestly, she's still singing, but I can't do this all day. My fingers will get tired. And I can only tell you about the reindeer food on our Autobot lawn for so many hours.

And this morning, while I was sleeping in, Dr. Krog taught the biscuit how to type on my laptop. I'm not 100% behind this idea, because you never know when a kid is going to spaz out or projectile vomit or something. But here's what she wanted to learn how to type:

[the biscuit] is nice.

[the biscuit] is pretty.

Daddy is handsome.

t.rex is loud.

Mommy is sleeping and pretty.

Omega Supreme is HUGE.

Optimus Prime is a red truck.

Megatron is a leader.

[the biscuit] is fun.

[the biscuit] is having fun at the playground.

[the biscuit] is smart.

[the biscuit] is tall.

t.rex is little.

A bee is bumblebee.

A giraffe is tall.

[the biscuit] is happy.

A lion is king of the jungle.

Butterfly is a pretty word.


A pear is a fruit.