Friday, December 29, 2006

Lord of the Rings...quite a little story, wouldn't you say?

The music, the cinematography, the dialogue, the special effects, the costumes, the creatures, the heroes, the battles, the quest. Fantastic.

I can't watch just one. I have to set aside enough time to watch all three, and vacations are just perfect for that.

Since I am finishing The Two Towers this afternoon, I will leave you with one my favorite pieces of dialogue from the script, between Frodo and Sam. (I found this on the imdb website, where you can find many other quotes, if you like.)

Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I think I can...

Most of you know that this summer I took a big step forward in my writing, which was to join a group called the Writers' League of Texas. I went to an annual conference where I met with an editor, and learned about how to approach getting published.

At the conference, I ran into a friend who used to work at Dobie, and she and I have been meeting every two weeks to critique each other's writing. We are both writing young adult fiction, both our main characters are teenage girls, and we're both writing in first person, present tense. Other than that, our subject matter and writing styles are quite different. The great thing is that we're really getting to a point where we're digging into the writing, and pushing each other to revise in certain ways and make the writing really strong. It's fantastic.

It was my original goal to be done with my book by the end of the year. I've always gauged that I wanted to write about 150 pages. Since then, I've learned that in the world of publishing, you talk more in terms of word count, not page numbers. Right now I have 27,000 words, which is 115 pages. Typical YA fiction is between 25,000 to 35,000 words, and I'm still expecting to write several more chapters, so I think I'm right on track.

The exciting thing is that if I work really hard over the holiday, I may still be able to meet my goal of finishing by the end of the year. There's an end in sight, and I'm looking forward to the day when I can write my final page, close my laptop and feel that I created something I'm proud of. And yes, I sometimes broke the rules of grammar, like how I ended that last sentence with a preposition, or started this sentence with the word "and." And that's okay.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Guilty Pleasures.

Since everyone is doing it, why not join in the fun?
My top Guilty Pleasures that I am NOT ashamed to admit:

1. Chili cheese dogs, preferably from Dog Almighty or the Drafthouse, although I will settle for one from Sonic
2. Whose Line is it Anyway?
3. Girls Just Want To Have Fun (the song, AND the movie)
4. Sugarry kids cereals
5. The E Channel, Oxygen and We
6. Drug commercials that list funny possible side-effects
7. Going to bed at 8:30
8. The Game Show Network
9. Anything with Sarah Jessica Parker, even those Garnier hair color commercials
10. McDonalds French fries
11. Burger King cheeseburgers
12. Sonic tots
13. Popeyes spicy chicken
14. Whataburger sausage biscuits
15. Nestle Quik
16. So You Think You Can Dance
17. For that matter, almost ANY kind of reality TV, including ones that swap wives and bring in super nannies, but not the ones that make the contestants eat bugs
18. Cheesy aerobic workouts, like step or water
19. Jammin 105.9 (they mainly play disco hits of the 70s)
20. Robert Zemeckis movies like Romancing the Stone and Back to the Future
21. The #1 Spot at Target (those shelves right at the front where everything is on super clearance for $1.)
22. ABBA, the Carpenters, Journey, Heart, Whitney Houston (Pre-Bobby)
23. Oompa Loompa dance choreography
24. Kid songs like this.
25. samples at Central Market, which I eat 2 or 3 times the polite amount

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The most fun I've had in a long time.

The Secret Fish-Girl Sing-Along at the Alamo.

You just can't imagine how singing like a fool at the top of your lungs with strangers around you doing the same can feel so, so good. Or maybe you can.

Either way, I'm hooked on this Sing Along stuff. Coming up next is the Christmas Pops! Sing Along which promises holiday songs by Boyz 2 Men, Dolly Parton, and New Kids on the Block. Add to that "Last Christmas" by Wham, and the strange but memorable duet of "Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie, and you've got something special.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Feeling a little bit better.

Not quite back to my usually annoyingly energetic self, but better than last week.
Sick is not good, but here are some things that make it nicer:
1. Watching old movies, especially musicals.
2. Consuming things that I normally would never want, such as Jello, plain Saltines, and Sprite.
3. Going back to work and having a mediocre day that turned into a beautiful day when Nathan had a gorgeous vase of flowers delivered. I would post a picture here so that everyone could see just how gorgeous they are, but that would mean bugging Nathan to help me do that, and that doesn't seem very thankful, now does it? Also, it's interesting that beautiful flowers can make a girl really feel beautiful.
4. Watching the Food Network, and wishing I was friends with all the people, especially Nigella Lawson, Rachel Ray, Alton Brown, Giada De Larentes, Paula Dean, Mario Batalli and the rest of them.
5. Exploring the new IKEA, which we visited this weekend. Twice.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Double whammy.

The doctor says I have bronchitus AND a sinus infection.
When I get sick, I do it right.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


That's me. Not feeling good. Not good at all. Stuffy, sneezy, glands-swollen-y.

At least if I have to really take a day off, I have three great subs I can call in as backup.
Well, I'll only have to call in one of them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Anthropologie, etc.

Updates, since I haven't blogged regularly, and am very into lists right now.

1. We are close to Thanksgiving. This was even a three day weekend, if you count the inservice I had today.

2. I was afraid that my wallet had been taken out of my school bag yesterday, but found it exactly where I left it at home. It was a relief, because I had accepted the possibility that it was stolen. Lesson of the day: Trust is emotional.

3. It had gotten nice and chilly. Now hot again. "WHA HAPPEN'D?"

4. Tomorrow morning--ok, afternoon--I plan to happily explore the new Anthropologie store downtown, and maybe even buy this gorgeous dress I've had my eye on. If it fits, naturally.

5. This Sunday night for family, we might just have a dance party. I wish I could type "dance party" in bright colors and animate the letters so they wiggled, with little confetti pieces all around. Does anyone know how to do that?

6. If we do have a dance party, I think I should wear my new party dress.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Last Thanksgiving, I raided my mom's closet.

Now, to give you a little background, you should know that my little sister constantly "borrows" things from my mom because she's in college and is back at home a bunch. My mom is something of a packrat, which means she hangs onto clothes forever. To boot, she has a flair for fashion and most of her stuff is really timeless. In other words, it's a rare treat for me to dig through her closet. One of the things I pulled out was this fantastic trenchcoat that was in perfect condition. A basic, belted trench, double-breasted. Mom said she got it in the early '80s. I tried it on, and it was really perfect. So, I swiped it. Obviously.

Well, I didn't end up wearing it last year because it had these shoulder button-strap things, which are meant to hold up the sleeves if you roll them up. You might know what I'm talking about. Really more function than fashion. Well, last week, I got to looking at the trench, and realized that the straps were sewn on externally, and it would be a snap to remove them. So I did. Obviously.

With the cooler, blustery weather, I've been wearing the trench almost daily, in the mornings especially. I love the feeling I get from it. Just knowing my mom wore it more than twenty years ago gives me this strong sense of connection to her. I also found a ticket in one pocket from a jazz concert that my little sister went to. Which means that at some point, she stole it, too. How I managed to get it in the end, I'm not sure. But I plan to keep it. Obviously.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why, American Heart Association, why?!

I could have gone a long time without reading this.

In a fitness article I just read yesterday, I saw a little piece of information, direct from the American Heart Association. But before I break the traumatic news, I want you to keep in mind that this article is titled "Killer Tone-Up, Trim-Down Workout." Sounds good, huh? Tell me more about this killer workout! The explanation and exercise moves look great. I think I'll incorporate them into my 30 minute, 3-days a week workout. Cool.

Not so cool. In a little pull-out box of text, I read that the "American Heart Association now recommends the new fitness guidelines of 30 minutes of exercise per day to maintain your weight and 60 minutes a day to shed pounds." It says nothing about my old faithful 3 days a week routine. In fact, if I were to up my ante and complete my workout on a DAILY basis, I would still only maintain my current weight. Sure, I wouldn't gain, but let's be honest. How many of us, including me, have tons of cute clothes we're still hanging onto for that far-off dreamy day that we might fit back into them again?

So what now? I could just quit. Because what's the point? OR--and this is the philosophy I'm going with--I could be bittersweetly grateful that I read what I did, and accelerate my workout to 60 minutes, EVERY day. Yes, there will be days that I don't make it. But if I get it done most of the days, I may begin to see a difference on the scale and might even be able to wear said cute clothes in the back of my closet again.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My German roots have finally caught up with me.

Something happened about a year ago. We had been back on meat for a while, and I started craving bratwurst. Then, schnitzel. Then, I started to think, my tastes have changed a lot in the last few years. What about trying some kind, just for kicks? I thought that given my German heritage, I owed it to myself and my ancestors before me, to Before long, I had developed a taste for what I liked and didn't like, and then one day, I finished a full bottle. I believe it was a Dos Equis. Since then, I've moved on. Enough so that I can even recommend my top ten brews, perhaps even give a quick run-down of what they taste like to me. In no particular order...

1. Pyramid -- Apricot Ale. Fruity, crisp, sweet without being too malty. One of the first beers I ever tried, and really turned me on to the fact that there are ALL kinds of beer out there.
2. Lindemans-- Cassis (Black currant) Belgian Lambic. We also like their cherry lambic. They also brew a peach, but it's a bit too sweet for my taste. Lambics are pretty much the champagne of beers. So bubbly and punchy that I'm not even sure they belong in the same category.
3. Real Ale - Full Moon Pale Rye. Nice and hoppy without being bitter. Real Ale is a brewery in Blanco, Texas, which is about an hour away.
4. New Belgium Brewing Co. -- 1554 (Brussels Style Black Ale) We just found this one a couple weeks ago. The label says it has a "clean, chocolately finish" and surprisingly, it does.
5. Spaten - Oktoberfest. Bold, bitey. Those Germans know what they are doing.
6. Dogfishhead -- 30 min. IPA. Despite the off-putting name, this brew is nice. A bit on the stout side.
7. Fireman's #4. Every time I've had this one, it has accompanied steaming slices of pizza from the Parlor. Pretty light, just a little hoppy. Another one of my gateway beers.
8. Full Sail -- Session Lager. This one is smooth and well-balanced. Not a usual you'd find in the regular grocery store, but don't let that stop you from looking.
9. Pyramid -- Curve Ball (seasonal) I picked this one on a whim, and I'm glad I did. Has a little kick.
10. Bass Pale Ale. This beer was originally brewed in 1777, and I read that it was a favorite of Napoleon, Edgar Allan Poe, and Buffalo Bill. Oh yeah, it's also great. Big, hoppy, I like it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

This stuff is genius.

This week I had that feeling. You know the one. The uh-oh-I-think-I'm-getting-sick-and-I-don't-have-time-for-that-right-now feeling.

I thought about buying some of that medicine I've seen that you're supposed to take right at the beginning of feeling cold symptoms. I talked to three different people, and this is what they said:
Dana (a friend from work): You mean Zycam?
Lora: Are you talking about Mucinex?
Nathan: Uh...I don't know. Echinacea?
Me: No, I'm pretty sure it's called something else.

And it is. It's called Airborne. It's that stuff that you may have seen that was created by a school teacher who was tired of getting sick all the time. I can relate to the teacher part, but not the getting sick part. Excuse me now for the following personal testimony/unpaid endorsement. This stuff is packed with antioxidants, herbs and vitamins to boost your immune system so that you can actually fight a cold. The formula dissolves in water like Alca Seltzer, but tastes a lot more like Blue Sky soda. I bought the pink grapefruit variety, and the Walgreens version, Wal-borne, because this stuff isn't cheap. I did also spring for these Airborne gummy throat lozenges that have a smaller dosage of the formula.

It's FANTASTIC. Every time I have taken my little tonic, I seriously get this boost. The website says it doesn't have caffeine, so I think it must be the blend of natural herbs and all the vitamins. This stuff is insanely magical. I know that I'm not sick right now and I should be because of this stuff. And I, for one, am very happy about that.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Best voicemail ever.

This morning I saw the little annoying blinking light on my phone telling me that I not only had one, but two messages. While I am inundated with email throughout the day, it is a rare occasion to get voicemail messages, and the majority of them are either hang-ups, or parents who are very angry--and vocal about their anger--who demand that I call them back right away. I know my return phone calls will almost always end well, but I digress. Voicemail blinking lights are NOT a welcome sign.

To my surprise and delight, I was wrong.
This is the transcript of the two voicemail messages that I hope to keep forever.

Hi Mrs. Russell.
I love you, Mrs. Russell.
You are my favorite teacher.

This is Casandra and Jayla...
We just wanted to know...hi!
I mean, we just wanted to SAY hi. (laughter in background)
And we love you.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dedicated to all those who have an Abigail-sized hole in their hearts.

Just now, and I mean, right this very second, I was about to post about my stressful day in which I had three meetings, two that were before 9 a.m., and then a siren went by, right as I was signing into blogger.

A second later, I heard Abigail howling out on the patio. All the tension of my day slipped away like in one of those commercials for scented candles. Just hearing Abigail belt out her little low-pitched howl made me smile and realize that I have a pretty nice life.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On the heels of my junk food post

I think it only appropriate that I delve into my latest fitness craze--the NYC Ballet Workout!
I love, love, love it. Perhaps it's my formative years that were spent in ballet class, I don't know. But my unrequited desire to be a ballerina will be satisfied, and I plan to burn some calories in the meantime.

Here is a shot of myself doing one of the more basic maneuvers (with Nathan helping me, of course!)

By the way, on the second volume of the ballet workout, there is a combination routine that I think we should all learn and perform together! In the spirit of Oompa Loompa. Who's in?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When you have an insanely hectic day

from start to finish, there are few things on Earth that will make you feel as good as a steaming slice of Conan's deep dish pepperoni pizza and a cold glass of Pyramid's apricot ale.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Top 5, okay 3, Patriotic Movies that Make You Feel Good about Our Country

I tried to think of 5, so that I would have a nice round number, but could only think of 3. So, here they are, my top 3 Patriotic Movies...

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
2. The American President
3. Dave

Aren't these great movies? For some reason, I love them, and they make me want to stand up and sing in the spirit of Pollyanna, "Amerrrrica, Amerrrrica, God shed her grace on theeeee, and crooooown thy gooood with brrrraaaaaaaatherhood, from seeea to shinnniiiing seeea!"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Updates in Brief

School is back in full force, three weeks in to be exact. And I am tired, spent, brain-dead, any other synonym you can think of.

1. My classes are going well. Other than having the highest numbers I've ever had, I'm feeling good, working like crazy, and loving (almost) every minute of it.

2. I wrote past my 100th page in my book! I'm meeting every other week with a friend who is also a writer of YA fiction, and just having that meeting time motivates me to pick up my writing when I don't feel in the "zone." By the way, the "zone" is a load of crap, and just a really good excuse to be lazy.

3. Not working out every day like I did in summer, but between all the running around I do at school, up and down the hill between the building and my portable, and the fact that I haven't had a lot of spare time for snacking in front of the tele, I'm still on the weight-loss track. I think it's the tortoise-variety, the "slow and steady" weight loss track.

4. Nathan scored tickets to the symphony tonight, which featured Joshua Bell, the world-renowned violinist. I almost cried more than once.

5. It is almost 12:30 and I am still awake. But it's also a three-day weekend. So lay off.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Summer in the city.

Erika doesn't fully realize just how great she is. I know this for a fact.
One small example I can tell you right off the bat is that she and Rob came down for little visit about a month and a half ago.
When they were here, they forced us all to go out to the pool, (which we had made friends with last summer, but were not really "clicking with" this summer). At the pool, Rob and Erika led us in a series of relay races with these dive toys they had, and I'll go ahead and say it. It was not only fun, it burned calories. After Erika and Rob had to go back to their city, we rekindled our relationship with the pool, and even purchased some dive toys of our very own.

Also, I would like Erika to know that we assigned point values to each of our dive toys in the order of the most dangerous, with a man being 50 and a sea horse being 10. Sharks are 40, and so on. Some might argue that sharks are more dangerous than man, but come on. Have you seen the planet lately? Also, Erika, if you're reading this, I would like to suggest a new game. You have someone throw ALL the toys at once and then dive under to get as many as you can before they hit the bottom. A variation of this game is for one person to throw the toys in 3-5 second intervals at whoever is diving. They can breathe and surface as much as they want, but can't get toys once they hit the bottom. Nathan is pretty good at this, and throws the toys back out at me, and most of the time of the time they stay in the pool area.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I have a confession to make...

which has nothing to do with the produce section at HEB.

So you know those cable channels which are specifically targeted at women, like Oxygen and Lifetime? Unfortunately, I just confirmed TWICE this weekend that I am a prime audience for these crap channels. Sad, but true.

First, I stayed up until midnight watching the Hallmark Channel's presentation of the made-for-TV movie of Love Comes Softly, the film version of the Christian book by Jeanette Oke, which is set in American pioneer days. The book, which I read in sixth grade was, at the time, the most fabulously moving thing I had read, romantic and inspiring. Let me just tell you, this movie was so heart-warming that I actually welled up with tears, although none spilled out.

Then, today, I watched four hours, I repeat, four hours, of the 2-part TV film, Sybil, starring Sally Field, which aired on WE. I was so engrossed in the story, that I neglected to work out, work on my book, get dressed, or even wash my face, and almost forgot my one errand of the day, to get to the bank before 4:00.

This film, which is a tragic, true tale of one woman's triumph over her childhood of abuse resulting in 16 different personalities, makes me want to read the book, but mostly makes me want to die of embarrassment that I am so susceptible to these shows and programming.

Oxygen, WE, Hallmark, and Lifetime, you have won. I am putty in your hands.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In true Russell/Prien fashion,

Nathan and I carried on a 45-minute conversation over iChat today without either one of us remembering that today is our 6th anniversary. Then, some time later, we both said "Um...forgot to tell you something....Happy Anniversary!"
It was pretty funny, but also a nice reminder of why we might just be perfect for each other.
So to celebrate tonight, we took a night off from cooking and a night off from our diet and ordered a fabulous Conan's pepperoni pizza which we just polished off with some ice-cold cherry Coke.
We also have some skittles (sour for me, and classic for Nathan) lined up for our double feature of crappy movies that we got on Netflix.
Last year for our anniversary, we went to a ridiculously decadent fondue restaurant. This year, it's pizza, Coke and Netflix, and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Unfortunately, tonight's episode

of one of my favorite shows, So You Think You Can Dance, really lowered the bar by featuring the ever-so-classless Pussycat Dolls.

As I watched them, slightly revolted, but not so revolted as to stop watching, I realized that I was reminded of another group of girls from the not-too-distant past...

Fascinating resemblance, no?

Friday, July 07, 2006

More happy stories from the diet front...

Tonight, Nathan made a fabulous spicy, breaded baked chicken. The crazy part of the recipe is that you actually use yogurt instead of egg to bread the chicken, and no one would believe it's diet food, it tastes so good.

Well, Nathan's chicken inspired me to look online for dessert recipes that would be just as creative, and just as guiltless. Plus, we were watching an episode of Take Home Chef on the food network which featured a chocolate mousse for dessert. I found a very interesting dark chocolate mousse recipe that called for tofu, I repeat TOFU, instead of heavy cream. Feeling brave, I ran to the store to pick up some tofu, since we had everything else on hand. An hour later, may I just say, wow. Rich, decadent, and no guilt! Who would have thought of using tofu (even if it doesn't have a flavor) in a chocolate mousse recipe? Genius, pure genius.

Try it and see for yourself.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Good News/Bad News

Good News: Everyone I talked to this weekend (by everyone, I mean agents) asked for me to go ahead and send my proposal packages to them. Proposal packages include a query letter, synopsis, and first two/three chapters or so.

Bad News: I don't have said proposal packages....yet.

Good News: Repeat: I did make connections with very receptive and friendly potential agents.

Bad News: They all said I need to finish my book before sending them anything.

Good News: The editor that I had a consultation session with wanted me to pitch my book to her.

Bad News: I didn't know how to pitch, and could only babble and beg her to look at my first page.

Good News: She read my first page very attentively and then said, "The good news is that this is great."

Bad News: She went on to say, "The bad news is that I can't use it. The imprint of my publishing house is looking to acquire young adult fiction that is multi-cultural."

Good News: She said some other highly positive things that I will remember when I get rejection letters in the near future.

More Good News: I ran into a friend who used to work at Dobie, and she is also working on young adult fiction. We plan to hook up soon to share work.

Even More Good News: I learned so much and feel motivated to work toward my goal of finishing this summer, ideally END OF JULY. That way I can send my proposals to agents I met in a timely manner.

You may notice that in the end, I have more Good News than Bad News.
That is the good news.

Friday, June 23, 2006

OK. I am officially freaked out.

This weekend I am taking a big step forward for myself as an author. At the recommendation of a friend, I signed up for a Writer's League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference here in Austin. I have an appointment to meet with an editor on Saturday afternoon and get some feedback on my novel. There are also breakout sessions on everything from finding an agent to crafting fiction to marketing yourself.

I am weirdly optimistic, but more than anything freaked out. I know that I'll come away learning some valuable things, but I think the reason I'm nervous is because I found out about this conference at the very last second and decided to go at the very last second and revised my first chapter at the very last second and then went and made copies at the very last second.

I always was under the impression that I had to be done with my book completely before pursuing publishing, but that's really not the case. In fact, on avaerage, it takes so long to get a book accepted for publication, that it would be smart of me to go ahead and begin the process. It also motivates me to work toward finishing it.

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 16, 2006

In the '80s we made mix tapes.

Now we burn CDs from our playlists using itunes.

In honor of summer, (and my boredom,) I have created two new fun and exciting playlists. On the first one, I tried to pick songs that you would want to sing at the top of your lungs driving down the road while you blast the AC, or with the window down if you don't live in Texas. The second playlist is more like what you would play while you sit on your patio/porch in the evening. I would love to burn CDs for everyone, so if you are in need of a new mix CD, let me know or drop me a comment and I will send them to you. Seriously, this is my idea of fun.

Here is the lineup, just to whet your appetite.

Side A: Songs to play on a Summer Day
1. I Can't Get Next to You - Al Green
2. Come Together - The Beatles
3. Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
4. The Woman in You - Ben Harper
5. Down to the River to Pray - Alison Krauss
6. The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
7. We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel
8. Eternal Flame (live) - Susana Hoffs
9. Sweetness Follows - REM
10. Tiny Dancer - Elton John
11. Spring Provides - Matt Pond PA
12. Love is a Battlefield - Pat Benetar
13. Just What I Needed - The Cars
14. Wake Up - The Arcade Fire
15. Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen

Side B: Songs to play on a Summer Night
1. By Your Side - Sade
2. Every Breath You Take - The Police
3. Universal Traveler - Air
4. How Sweet It Is - Joan Osborne
5. The Moon Softly Weeps a Lullaby - The Autumns
6. A Case of You (live) - Diana Krall
7. Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
8. Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap
9. Cannonball - Damien Rice
10. Way Over Yonder - Carole King
11. Unchained Melody - Cyndi Lauper
12. Songs We Used to Sing - Edie Brickell
13. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John
14. What a Difference a Day Made - Dinah Washington

Thursday, June 15, 2006


1. I agreed to help out Amy Chapman w/ watering all her gorgeous plants while she and Derek are in Europe until August. I've enjoyed the work so far, and am happy to help them out.

2. I am on Day 11 of a 30 Day workout plan. I have been working out every single day (with the exception of one day a week), and I am drinking a ridiculous amount of water (easy) and TRYING to cut back on drinks with empty calories like soda, wine/mojitos, and coffee with sugar and cream (not so easy). I've been doing all different kinds of workout routines like yoga with weights, hiphop, ballet strength training, kickboxing, tai chi, you name it. I have reached the wonderful place where your muscles aren't in pain anymore, but are humming with energy. At the end of the 30 days, I may go another 30, we'll see. I will definitely be more motivated if I see some results. In the meantime, getting older sucks.

3. I have been avoiding working on my book for no good reason. I wrote today, and ideally, I'll work on it a little every day so that I really will be close to finished when summer is over.

4. If you haven't watched So You Think You Can Dance, you need to. I mean it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

It's that time of year again...

Time for the return of quality television.
Time for anticipating prime time more than ever.
Time for exciting, creative, performance art on both Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Time for...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

5 reasons to work out/eat right/attempt to lose weight

1. It's already swimsuit season.
2. My fat jeans from several years ago have become my current skinny jeans.
3. All the hip-hop workout routines on the Fit Network.
4. I can't afford a new wardrobe. And besides, I really like the one in my closet.
5. Our new panini maker that will be used for good, not evil.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I wish everyone had summer off...

Really, it's a fabulous idea. They do that in Europe, you know. Maybe not the entire summer, but at the very least a couple weeks off for a holiday to the seashore. I wish it was built into our culture. Wouldn't that make the unbearably hot summer months bearable? I know that when the weather gets hot, somehow pychologically I get excited, just anticipating summer vacation.

But even if we can't all have summer off, at least we have more ways to stay cool this summer, including the quiet apt. pool on Saturday and Sunday mornings while all the annoying college kids sleep off their bad choices from the night before, AND now Jess and Jason's snow cone stand. Currently, my favorite flavor being blackberry and cream, which you should try immediately.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

2 days to go...

until summer. That's right. Be jealous, be very jealous.

I can fully indulge in my vacation knowing that I worked every day with ADD 11-year-olds, and have earned it. I sort-of have this philosophy that teachers (at least the good ones) work overtime for 10 months, and then it all evens out when they get those 2 months off.

This summer, I ambitiously plan to work on my book and hopefully finish a first draft by the end of summer so I can revise and pursue publishing during the next school year. I'm at 75 pages, so I'm actually about half done... most juvenile fiction is around 150 pages in length, so that's what I'm roughly aiming for. But to be honest, I don't plan the story ahead of time, so I have no idea when the last page will pop up. Although, I have a feeling I'll know when I get there.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I used to hate the taste of licorice.

I remember every Easter I would relinquish all the black jelly beans to my dad because I just couldn't stand the taste. Well, not too long ago, I tried licorice again for the first time in years, and it's so spicy and good. It's interesting that over the years our tastes can change and develop. So if there's a flavor out there that you don't care for, try it again. You never know.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

We saw Mission Impossible 3 last night,

and in honor of how great Philip Seymour Hoffman was, I wanted to create a personality quiz for some of the interesting roles he's played over the years. The good news is that you can take this quiz. The bad news is that every quiz-creating website I found wouldn't work for this type of quiz, so it's not electronic. But I will not be defeated! You can either use your memory, or you might have to take it the old-fashioned way and write your results on paper. I know.... but here it is!

Which Philip Seymour Hoffman character are you?

1. Describe yourself in one word:
A: helpful
B: discerning
C: observant
D: strong
E: authoritative
F: offbeat

2. At a party, you would be:
A: alone at the food table
B: running the music
C: telling a great story
D: sealing a deal
E: circulating/shmoozing
F: cracking jokes

3. Which place do you like the best?
A: San Fernando Valley
B: San Diego
C: New York
D: any city in the world
E: Vermont
F: Oklahoma

4. The only down-side to your job is:
A: boring and distasteful routine
B: no one appreciates your genius
C: the troubling psychosis
D: no down-time
E: you're broke
F: paying for gas money

5. Your favorite film genre is:
A: ensemble drama
B: coming-of-age comedy
C: documentary
D: action
E: dark humor
F: adventure

You mostly answered:

A: You are Phil Parma, male nurse in the film Magnolia. You take care of others, and are somewhat shy. Take a chance and say what YOU really want. Try it the next time you call in an order for delivery.

B: You are the self-proclaimed "uncool" yet ultra-cool radio personality, rock critic Lester Bangs in Almost Famous. You are smart, funny, slightly neurotic, and couldn't live without music. You have helpful advice to share with a young friend.

C: You are the quiet, insightful author, Truman Capote. You are tender and compassionate of those who are troubled, yet sometimes get too involved emotionally.

D: You are Owen Davian, international weapons dealer in Mission Impossible 3. You crave action and violence, and even though you don't have a conscience, you are officially bad-ass.

E: You are Joseph Turner White, director of "The Old Mill" in State and Main. You're creative and confident, but be careful--don't let the people with the money for your project push you around.

F: You are Dustin Davis, maniacal, but lovable storm-chaser in the film Twister. While some may not get you, you are the life of a party, and definitely one-of-a-kind.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Top Ten '80s Boy Crushes....

In no particular order...

1. Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly. Really, is there anything cuter than Michael J. Fox hanging onto the back of a truck riding his skateboard in Back to the Future? If that didn't win you over, there's always his famous lipsync rendition of "Johnny Be Good" later on in the movie.

2. Richard Dean Anderson as Macgyver. Yes, he had a mullet. But he could also make a bomb out of a stick of gum and a ballpoint pen.

3. Harrison Ford as Han Solo. There are two kinds of girls, the Luke Skywalker Girls, and the Han Solo Girls. I know what side I'm on.

4. Kirk Cameron in Growing Pains. The curly mop-top. The devilish grin. Who would have thought all that promise would turn out as the lead of the Left Behind movie adaptation?

5. Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Theo Huxtable. You sure were cute while getting into those friendly little misadventures.

6. Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. I've heard there's some sort-of new Young Indiana Jones. Honestly, why did they even try?

7. Ralph Macchio as "Daniel-son" in the Karate Kid. Even today, people everywhere reinact that odd-looking signature kick in the final scene. And what a final scene it was.

8. Matthew Broderick in Ferris Beuller's Day Out. And even before there was Ferris Beuller, there were WarGames.

9. Harrison Ford as himself.

and finally...

10. Johnny Depp. The number one reason to run home after school and watch 21 Jump Street. I can still hear the theme music.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Worst job ever

We got to talking the other day about what would REALLY be the worst possible job. Here are the results of our discussion:

Me: anybody working for the IRS
Nathan: the guy who collects the used grease from fast-food places
Lora: still thinking...
Stacy: a deodorant tester
Jenny: the port-a-potty guy

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Chapter 13, Page 72

But just how much is that?
17,694 words
799 paragraphs
2,042 lines

A new record. For me and Violet, at least.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tonight I started thinking about female superheroes,

and while I am not a comic expert by any means, I couldn't think of a single red-headed female superhero.

Don't worry, an extensive google search alleviated my concern for the lack of flaming-haired superpowered vixens.
Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Firestar. This one Nathan knew right off the top of his head! Formerly Angelica Jones, she is a mutant superhero originally created for the animated series Spiderman and his Amazing Friends.

2. Ginger Powerpuff. No, not a superhero per se, but a redhead who fights evil nonetheless.

3. Goblin Queen. A.K.A. Madelyne Pryor-Summers, an evil clone of Jean Grey.

4. Vindicator. A.K.A. Heather Hudson, the leader of the Canadian team Alpha Flight.

5. Nathan says Rogue has reddish-colored hair in certain lights.

6. Josie, of Josie and the Pussycats.

7. Barbara “Babs” Gordon. Oracle, formerly Batgirl.

8. Princess Python. A.K.A. Zelda DuBois.

9. Phoenix, formerly Jean Grey.

10. Hellcat. I can’t tell if she’s good or bad, sounds bad, right?

Interestingly enough, Hellcat was formerly Patsy Walker, of the teen romantic-comedy comics “Patsy and her Pals."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

One of the things I love about Nathan

is that no matter what, he never judges me.

Not even when I say that what I really want for dinner is a chili cheese dog from Dog Almighty.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Would I sound absolutely insane

if I said that I am right now watching the remake of the Parent Trap with Linsay Lohan and it's actually winning me over with its cuteness?

Well, I am, and it is.

I can't believe that this spunky little red-head has joined the ranks of the trashy, post-adolescent Hollywood actresses who make B-List movies and even worse radio smut. How is it that this adorable, promising little starlet grew up to be friends with the likes of Paris Hilton?

Lindsay, if you're listening, I believe you can redeem yourself. It's not too late for you.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Family night is always

a highlight of my week.
You'd think we all would see each other all the time, (which is sometimes true, but most often not the case), so it's great to have a set-aside time just to see each other, eat a yummy meal, and watch Desperate Housewives, when it's new, that is.

Last night was not a let down in the slightest.
The show was new.
The meal was smoky maccaroni and cheese with apples (by request), and then, during coffee, we all got to talking about our weekends....

I was proud to announce that during my free time on Saturday, I diligently learned two dance routines from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The second disc in the deluxe edition (Thank you again to my fabulous little sister, the first Amy Russell) has a feature where you can learn the Agustus Gloop dance AND the Violet Beauregarde dance which are performed by the Oompa Loompas. Oh yes. I learned not one, but both dance routines. Why, you ask? Because I thought it would make me feel good. And it did.

What I didn't really expect (but should have seen coming) was that everyone would want me to perform the dance routines, right there on the spot. Well, I have no shame, and I really must say that I put heart into the choreography.

At least it made everyone laugh.
Even if it does confirm that I'm a total dork.
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