Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Strange Effect of Saturdays...

I can't believe the weekend has flown by already. It seemed as though a moment ago, it was just beginning. Now it's Sunday evening and I'm readying myself to wind down so that I can start the new week.

I love weekends because, well, they're weekends. Yet I'm slowly realizing that I don't seem to be a big fan of Saturdays. I don't know why but it seems like Saturdays are the days for me when things most likely aren't going to go right. If I use them to run around and do errands, I feel as though I've blown a precious day of freedom by being horribly productive. If I decide to do nothing and spend the Saturday doing very little, I end up doing that for a maybe a couple of hours and then realizing that I'm being lazy and finding projects to do.

Regardless of it, I often wake up on Saturdays feeling antsy, unable to relax. I run down the roster of things I need/want to get done that day and immediately the simplicity of being able to lay in my bed and be free not to get up fades and I find myself feeling guilty for staying in bed when there's stuff to do. So I get up and do it and the day begins its strange magic of taking me across the bridge of it just starting to be the weekend on one side and realizing it's already half over on the other.

I can't really explain why Saturdays have this effect on me. I didn't realize that they did until recently when I find myself feeling habititually like a foul tempered beast on Saturday afternoons after I've been out and about, running errands. I end up getting angry with myself and impatient with others. If I stay home, I wish I'd gone out and about. If I'm out and about, I just want to be at home. It's a strange phenomenon. I'm hoping it's temporary. After all, Saturdays are a perfectly nice day. They're part of the weekend which, let's favourite, is almost everyone's favourite time of the week.

I do wonder if it's the same thing as the Christmas Day phenomenon. I find myself feeling antsy on that day too. It's anticlimax. All those weeks of shopping, wrapping, baking, movie-watching and hall-decking and then, in a day, it comes to a head and...boom, it's over. I love Christmas Day but I so much prefer Christmas Eve where the anticipation is everything and the possibility of tomorrow is a strange, unknown creature the entices us and taunts us but makes us excited to find out.

Maybe that's what it is with Saturdays, albeit on a much simpler scale. All week long, we count down to Friday and the idea that when that day ends, the weekend is nigh and freedom is ours. Then freedom comes to us on a Saturday and we realize that while it might not be as confining as work, it often comes at the price of having to use that day to either run errands, go to scheduled social events, clean....something...anything. I know some people who can just wake up whenever they like, roll out of bed and do nothing but most of those people are a)either not adults or b) they refuse to accept that they're adults or c) need to help me figure out to stop being so responsible and say "screw it" a little more often. I've tried it and that pressing feeling of knowing that if I just do the stuff on a Saturday and get it done, I can have all day Sunday to be lazy or do whatever relaxing activity I want to do.

When I was in school, I used to try to do my homework on Friday nights. This is the point when you realize I was, in fact, a nerd. I am still, in fact, a nerd. I liked that feeling of getting my homework done. While my brother was up until late on a Sunday night, trying to get his homework done and inevitably ending up sleep-deprived and snippy on a Monday, I was reading a book, watching a movie...doing what I liked.

Nowadays, I don't have homework but I do have errands. I try to do as many of them in the first part of the weekend as I can so I have the second part of the weekend all for me. This is probably why I end up enjoying Sundays more than Saturdays. Also, I never feel antsy on Sundays. They're naturally relaxing.

I really can't figure out why Saturdays aren't that way. They should be that way. If you have a theory on this, feel free to comment below. I'm open for any suggestions. You can even suggest that I'm just completely mental although be aware you won't be the first to suggest that, if you're going for originality.

Nevertheless, weekends are still good. I'm just sad this one is over already. Oh well, only five days until the next one.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Weekend is Lurking....

It's finally Friday tomorrow. This week has gone by surprisingly quickly. Busy days at work will do that to you. Dog tragedies also make time go a little off kilter.

The weekend is creeping closer. I'm heading back to my parent's on Saturday morning. I haven't had a chance to get home for a few weeks because of the snowy February we've had. It's supposed to snow a little this weekend but nothing unmanageable. Besides, I don't mind driving while it's snowing, as long as it's not accumulating.

Still, there's tomorrow to get through. The company bowling trip has been postponed for a week because our president realized that it probably wasn't wise to have the whole staff leave two hours early the day before we release a new version of our software, particularly when it's being problematic. That was probably a wise choice.

Tonight, I had to do my taxes. Because I bought my house last year, I qualify for the First Time Homebuyer's Credit which is really nice. However, it also meant that I had to go to a real live accountant to get my taxes done since all kinds of fancy stuff had to be done with amended returns and other taxy kind of stuff that meant something when it was explained to me but I'd be hard pressed to recall what, exactly, it was. I went to H & R Block, mostly because there's one around the corner from my house. Also, I tend to do my taxes with them online every year and it's nice when all my numbers from last year are already in the system. Of course, with our company being sold and moving locations, it meant I had to file the regular Federal and State taxes as well as a school district tax form and two city tax forms for the two cities in which I lived/worked. Ohio is odd like that: Depending on where you live, you either have to file city taxes don't. I had to file. That's a lot of things to file.

Still, it's a nice feeling to walk out and know that you're done for the year with your taxes. It's the same sort of feeling that you get when you've done all your laundry or cleaned you house throughly or paid all your bills....anything that requires effort to get done but feels like you've accomplished something when you're through.

I was also lucky enough to have a really nice accountant. I like when people are nice, it makes life much better.

All in all, it's been a very productive week which sometimes is a nice thing indeed. The snow is finally melting away outside, even with the flurries that continue to fall. I saw the first daffodil shoots yesterday, poking out of the ground under a tree outside our office building. When I got home last night, I walked around my front garden and, sure enough, my spring bulbs are fighting their way upward, challenging Winter to hurry up and leave. While I love Winter and all her snowy glory, I like Spring too. Though it doesn't mean I'm ready to stop hoping for snow, not yet. I know I'm probably alone there but I don't care. Spring will come, followed by summer and I'll have to wait months and months for the next snowfall. So, just for a little while longer, I'm holding onto Winter but enjoying the possibility and promise of a Spring that's lurking around the corner.

Just like, during a Friday at work, the weekend lurks around the corner, waiting to embrace us with its freedom.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Passions, Cheese and Writing....

So, I just wrote this whole blog about my life and my writing and my job...and when I tried to publish, the server gave me an error message and now I have to start all over. I'm annoyed. I'm an impatient sort of Monkeypants. Also, I'm very tired and it's late and I really don't have a clue if I can mentally pull it together to recreate that blog.

Basically, the gist of it was that, scarily, I'm actually liking my job at this moment in time. I know, I know. The idea of me, Captain Monkeypants, saying that is...alarming. I think the scariest part of all is that it's temporary. I know that, in a week, my euphoria is going to be over and that I'm back to concocting ways to entice a squirrel to a) eat through the power lines or b) take down the internet. Either option would render us useless. Even if a squirrel is not involved, on a normal day, I confess that I do find myself imagining ways for our building to be out of commission long enough that we get to go home.

Still, for now...I'm liking my job. Today, I got invited to a meeting that involved the programmers and me and, interestingly, I was vital to the meeting. That has never happened before in this job. It happened in my last job but it was at a point where I could see that I'd finally hopped over a fence that I'd never have to navigate again. This job...who knows. One minute, my boss is asking for my assistance, the next thing he's treating me like a blond bimbo who can't possibly comprehend anything more technical than "microwave or toaster"?

But, I'm scared to say that today and yesterday were, um, fun for me at work. I am getting to test issues that have been found to be wrong with our software. Then I get to try and break them. Then, when I'm successful in breaking them, I get to tell the programmers what to do.

I'm good at telling people what to do.

I know it's only temporary, that once we release our software, I'm relegated back to the ranks of "what are we supposed to do with you?" Those days make me hate my job. They send me back to the days where I'm job searching. They send me back to the days when even working as a cheese shop manager at Jungle Jim's sounds appealing.

For the record, the last time this happened, I did apply for a Cheese Shop Manager position at Jungle Jim's. I'm annoyed that I didn't even get an acknowledgment for my application. While I might not have an official background, I still think I was a good applicant. While I might not have a passion for software, I'm sad to say I have a passion for cheese. I'm good with customers. I like people.

Also, twice now, for the record, I've been in Jungle Jim's and have been able to assist customers when the store employees could not. I'm not joking.

For the record, Creme Fraiche is found on the top shelf of the "French" cheese section. It is a mild sour cream and can be substituted for American whipping cream although it doesn't have quite as much bite. I highly recommend the real stuff.

Also, though Gorgonzola is a strong blue cheese, it is not Danish blue, as many assume. It is, in fact, Italian. Thus, it can be found in the "Italian" section of Jungle Jim's cheeses. I can recommend it as an excellent topping for salads or, even better, with mashed potatoes or stuffed mushrooms.

Anyway, I'm moving on, even though I'm slightly saddened that my future in Cheese Shop management is not to be. I know this sounds sarcastic. But, in truth, like a wise friend of mine says, [I'm] not sarcastic!, [I'm] British."

Seriously, even though my day job in software is sometimes good, as it was today, I do know this is not my passion. I can't pretend that I will ever compare the thrill I get to doing well at this job to the thrill I get when I'm writing.

When I'm writing or doing anything to do with my writing, I get wired. I find an excitement that can't be replicated by much else in my life. I'm doing scarily well with my Amazon Kindle sales of my novel, The Reluctant Demon. In a few days, my book will be for sale in a paperback format. If I do half as well as my potential sales targets promise, I'm going to be ok.

But it's not about the money. You must know that about me by now. It's more about trying to get my book out to people who I think will enjoy it. I don't care if I get any profit...I really, honestly, just want people to find it entertaining and not mind paying the $10 I'm charging.

(For the record, I'm going to charge $9.99. My original wish was to charge $7.99 but in the interest of not going into insane debt and still getting my book out there, I had to compromise. A fact, for which, I apologize).

No, I really just want people to read it, to laugh, to not mind that they had to buy the book to read it. That's it.

Ironically, in my attempts to find out the status of my proof copy of my novel, I clicked on I discovered that tonight is "The Night" for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award entrants.

A year ago, I was one of them. I had a novel entered in Amazon's competition. I wanted to pretend I didn't care but I did. At 3 a.m, I remember awaking, panicked after a dream in which I realized I sucked as a writer. When I checked my emails, I discovered I had been awarded a semi-finalist position for my novel.

I was elated. I was excited. It was the furthest I'd ever come with a novel. I reveled in the knowledge that I didn't completely suck.

That lasted until I got my prize from A review by Publisher's Weekly. My review was terrible. It summarized my book. It gave a good explanation of the events. Then it trashed me. It gave no explanation why, no constructive criticism to help me figure out why my reviewer hated it, only that my book was awful. It was, in short, destructive criticism.

Sadly, as much as I hate to admit it, it began a horrible period of writer's block for me. A period in which I doubted my skills, my abilities, my desire. I tried to write something...anything. There was nothing but this blog.

Then I did some research and discovered that for the purpose of the Breakthrough Novelist Award reviews, Publisher's Weekly had hired reviewers for a pittance, just so they could get the 'job done'.

Someone's $50 profit was my mental breakdown into self-doubt about my writing. Thanks, Publisher's Weekly for being professional.

Still, then came the wonderful, amazing National Novel Writer's Month challenge (NaNaWriMo for short). In November, in the short space of a month (or three weeks if you're me and helping a friend with a master's thesis), I managed to write my novel, The Reluctant Demon. It was easy. It was light. It was fluffy.

It was fun.

I'd re-discovered my passion and my love for writing. The result is my most marketable novel to date. A novel which can be yours for the low-low price of $9.99 once I approve it. It's not about the money, it's about the fact that a would-be novelist found her path in life again.

And, no matter how much I enjoy my day job in software, for me, it's about the passion I feel in the evenings, when I get to write. Granted, I'd love to find a day job that solicited my passion too but...we can't have everything.

In the meantime, I'll settle for loving cheese but being passionate about writing. In between, I'm enjoying my current job.

It's all about the now...right?

Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Self-Discovery and the Art of Distraction...

Today has been a sad, hard day. All I can say is that Sausage is no longer with us. When I'm ready, I'll say more about him but my mother reads my blog and I know it's been a rough time for her too so I don't want to go on about it right now.

When it's time, I'll blog about it.

I'll miss him. That much is probably obvious if you've read my blog for any length of time.

It's funny how a cloud like that hangs over you all day. You know it's inevitable and you know it has to happen but it's still always there in your mind, the minute you stop and think.

I do think we get to know ourselves better when something like this has happened. I learned that I really am rather British. When I found out that I was going to lose Sausage, I did what any good British person does: Made myself a pot of tea. There's something about tea which is infinitely soothing. The warmth of it, the familiarity of it...there's nothing more comforting in all the world.

I also learned that I'm one heck of a worker when I need to distract myself. I think I got more done at work today than I have in a long time and I've actually been working lately. It was the good kind of work that sucks you in and absorbs you and before you know it, the day has gone by and you actually find yourself staying a little late to get stuff done.

And you know when I do that, something has to be wrong because I try not to stay later than I have to stay. As I've said before, I don't hate my job. I just don't feel like I'm loyal enough to put in any more effort than I get paid for. It's a sad fact but it might explain why I don't want to be part of the "Great Bowling Adventure" on Friday.

Our company president has decided that we need to bond as a 'team'. Instead of ordering pizzas and putting a movie on the giant HDTV's we have in our building and rarely use, he wants to go bowling.

I admit, I am not a bowler. The only time I like bowling is with friends, beer and silliness. Awkward Bowling Adventures are not a way I like to spend with my coworkers. They are far worse than Awkward Bagel Days. Trust me on that one. We had one last year. Not fun. People show up out of obligation, everyone tries to sneak out early.

Still, I suppose it's the thought that counts. To me, it only counts if it's during work hours. If it's in my free time, I'm sneaking out too.

Still, the idea of an awkward bowling day was a nice distraction from brooding about a dog. As was the fact that my boss sat at my lunch table and found out that I was publishing my novel in a paperback form. He actually was quite excited and even pulled up the Kindle version when he got back to his office. His enthusiasm surprised me. He's going to buy one. I admit, I'm a wee bit worried that when he gets to the part when my heroine lets a demon run rampant in her office building because she's not fond of her job, he might be concerned. Also, my heroine has an awful lot of similarities I just hope he takes it with the dark and twisted humour it was intended. I'm not cruel...I might be a little...sardonic but it's all in fun...right?

I'll let you know when he reads it. He was also the first person to inform me I had a five star review on my novel and I don't have a clue who posted it. If it's one of my blog readers, I thank you. If it's a stranger, I thank you too. It's very flattering and it made me feel very good, as a writer.

Also, it was a nice distraction and I needed that today.

Thanks for reading. Happy Wednesday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Still in Weekend-Mode...

Just a short blog tonight. It's been a long and tiring Monday as they so often are. I think it's harder on Mondays because you're still in Weekend Mode. For me, Weekend Mode means knowing I can relax in the mornings because my alarm is not going to go off and rudely awaken me from sleep. I know that weekends don't have as much structure, that there are two blissful days off peace before the rigor of work sets in again. Weekend Mode means that I don't like having to do anything. When you're at work, Weekend Mode doesn't work well because there's always something you have to do.

Today went slowly, as Mondays usually do. I know I worked and got some things accomplished but ask me to look back and tell you what I did and I'd be hard pressed to tell you. Of course, my job makes it easier because we now have this efficient (aka- annoying) time keeping system to keep track of what work we do. Every twenty minutes a window pops up and says "[Captain Monkeypants] What are you doing?"

So far, I've been a very good little Monkeypants and I obediently tell the little window what I've been working on during the last twenty minutes. I can't tell you how often the temptation arises to be a little more honest and say things like: "Staring into space, trying to look busy," or "eating a banana," or "playing with my iPod," or "surreptiously surfing the internet on my Blackberry."

I don't think my boss would like that though. It was his idea to implement this time-keeping system so we could keep better track of our time for future project planning. So, like a good little employee, I tell the little window what I'm supposed to be doing. That way, it looks like I'm being productive even if I have taken a break to walk to the kitchen to get away from my computer for a while. My boss doesn't seem to notice. Besides, a good rule of thumb in any company is if you are running away from your desk, always take a piece of paper with you and walk fast. No one ever stops you when you do this, it's just a rule: You look busy, therefore, people assume you are. Granted, in my building, it's really just a big circle but even that's better than sitting in my cubicle at times. Usually though, I go to our optimistic bathroom and hide in there for a while.

I find myself hiding a little more on Mondays. It's hard to get into the swing of things and I like to move at my own pace. Still, tomorrow is another day and since I have no excuse for being in Weekend Mode, I suppose I better make sure I'm busier.

Then again, maybe I'll just take more papers with me when I run away. That way I look busy.

Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Whirlwind Weekends....

This was one of those weekends that just flew by. I don't even know where the time went. I don't even feel like I did that much but somehow I manage to eat up two days of time without really knowing where they went.
Now it's back to work tomorrow to begin another week. Things at work haven't been too terribly lately. I can't say I'm dancing through the daisies as though I were in the Sound of Music but, for the most part, I haven't visualized using my yoga strap for anything other than relaxing.

And I did have a good weekend even if it flew by too quickly. I managed to get my book formatted and uploaded and a cover designed- front, back and spine- so that it can start being sold on It's funny, a few books ago, I was very against self-publishing. It always has such a stigma attached to it- an idea that "You can't get published and the only choice you have is to do it yourself."

That's how I felt up until a couple of months ago. Then I wrote The Reluctant Demon. It's the first mainstream book I've really written. It's humourous. It has a female protagonist. I hate to sound arrogant but I'm pretty sure it's written well. And to top it all off, it's a timely subject: A woman falls in love with a supernatural creature. Ok, so, right now, the craze is still vampires but demons aren't that far off....just watch a few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I still couldn't get an agent to give me the time of day.

I think in my mind, the power has shifted. A few years ago, writers were reliant on agents and publishing companies. Now, the publishing industry is faltering- the small companies have been swallowed by the bigger companies and there's really not many places for new, unpublished writers to go.

So, now, instead of feeling like I'm selling out by publishing myself, I can't help but feel this rush of power. It's in my hands. Granted, I won't have the media campaigns that the popular novels get but it means I can get people to read my stuff. And, in truth, that's all I want. I don't want the money...I just want to be read. I think, at heart, that's what most of us writers want.

I suppose that means I had a good, productive weekend, even if it did fly by. I also got to go to Jungle Jim's which, as you probably know if you read this regularly, always makes a day better. This time, I absolutely, positively have to laud Jungle Jim's. They made my insane obsessive Foodie dreams come true: They had fresh quail eggs.

I know, I know, this may not seem like a huge deal but as I mentioned a few blogs ago, quail eggs had become a quest. I see them on the Food Network all the time and all I wanted to do was try them. Jungle Jim's carries them in a canned form but not in the fresh, bespeckled beauty I always see on TV. In all my trips to Jungle Jim's, I've never found them fresh. And then, when I least expected it, as I was leaving the produce section to move on to the international aisles, there they were, right next to the balut eggs.

As a side note, they usually don't have balut, either. It's one of those, uh, delicacies that has always fascinated me, rather like seeing the sheeps, cow and pigs heads they often carry at Jungle Jim's. For those of you that don't know, balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It's very popular in the Phillippines. I've never been able to bring myself to try one though I have watched my Filipino friends eat them. I think if I'd been brought up to eat them, it wouldn't bother me but, well, I wasn't and my British palate isn't quite brave enough to try them. If you can't quite comprehend why this might be a little, um, un-palatable, just Google it to look for pictures. You might get it then.
Even if I wasn't about to buy any, I was impressed that Jungle Jim's had some in stock.

Not as impressed as the quail eggs though. I snatched a package up- gently, of course. I confess, I, um, sort of hugged them a little in my excited. Then, as I walked around the rest of the store, I kept my hand on them to a) keep them safe so they didn't get broken in transit and b) to make sure no one stole them. Since they had a plethora of them, I'm quite sure that no one would have stole them but in my haze of excitement at actually finding them, I wasn't about to take any chances.

Also, they had my cipollini onions that I haven't been able to find. Fresh, small, cipollini onions....I think it's safe to say, Jungle Jim's is the best grocery store...ever. As of this moment, there's no longer anything I've seen on the Food Network that I haven't been able to find at Jungle Jim's.
It's odd the things that make a weekend good....quail eggs, self-publishing and a long, leisurely walk around a grocery store. I suppose it's good when the small things in life can make me happy.

Or they make me weird....or, at least, odd....Nevertheless, I cooked my first quail eggs today....

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Don't Want to Grow Up! Can I be a Toys R Us Kid Forever?

It's almost Friday. I, for one, am rather glad about this. I'm sure I've written that before and I will again but it's a sentiment worth repeating, I think.

It hasn't been a bad week. It's been a short week, something that always helps. It's been a cold week, too. Last night, lying in bed, I listened to the scariest creaks and moans from my house. Given that I've just 'published' a book about a demon who haunts a woman who isn't, um, terribly unlike me, my imagination started to go wild.

I shortly curtailed that thought process in favour of reality. Unfortunately, reality was scarier. I started to think that the icicles on my house were rather large and, therefore, heavy. I have some that are, seriously, five feet long. Until yesterday, I was quite proud of this. I mean, honestly, that's some icicle!

And then I went to bed and my house was creaking and moaning. After I cast aside the idea that there was a demon in my attic, I started to think of the reality: There is, at least, five inches of snow on my roof. There are, in places, five feet of icicles hanging from my gutter. Which is worse, a paranormal creature haunting me or the idea of my roof caving in?

I'll have you know, at 11:30 p.m. at night, lying in a dark bedroom, trying to sleep, the idea of a roof caving in is scarier than a demon.

I know! Crazy, isn't it? You'd think I'd be more alarmed about the sound of footsteps in my attic. But as I started to let reality creep in, the footstep sounds transformed into the sound of the boughs of my house starting to sag under the weight of all that snow and ice.

Until now, I'd been proud that my roof was always covered with snow longer than anyone else's. I thought that meant I had better insulation. It probably did. Then I started to wonder how bad it was that my poor roof was so weighed down that it was starting to protest with gentle groans. Thus...I began to panic.

I think I've officially become a grown-up. Once upon a time, my imagination would have pictured a demon in my attic, a ghost floating above me...everything that Stephen King could inspire and then some. These days, the idea of a collapsed roof presents far more nightmares than a genuine ghost.

I want to know when this happened. I like to pinpoint significant moments in my life and I have a feeling that when I made the real, actual, genuine transition to being a full-blown adult occured, it was significant.

I can't figure it out. I currently am listening to an iTunes playlist I made a week ago and it contains everything from Green Day to Muse to Miley Cyrus to Sacha Baron Cohen singing "I like to Move it, Move it" from Madagascar. Even now, it gives me the urge to call my good friend in Pasadena, CA and say, "hey, know what I like to do?" and when she says, "No," I say "I like to move it, move it."

So when did I really grow up? I'm not sure I really have.

Except there's that teeny-tiny, miniscule fact that I'm more concerned about the expense and inconvenience of my roof caving in than having some evil creature haunt me.

I think it's safe to say that, darn it all, I've become an adult.

I'm groaning as I type this.

I may still hide behind my age by going to Green Day concerts. After all, they're older than me, therefore, it's still cool when I go and watch them play. I still like TV shows like Gossip Girl (don't judge me, please. It's Saz's fault...she got me hooked). But I can, at least, see the differences between their generation and mine. I may still read young adult novels for the story and plot. But I do see the reality, even if it makes me cringe.

For example, I do tend to want to clomp the 'heroine' in the head when she turns out to be Bella Swann from Twilight. I'm not even a mother but I still have the urge to slap her when you find out when she's not stopping a 'guy' from watching her while she sleeps. Ok, so he's immortal and he's a vampire. Yet it's still creepy. I don't care if he doesn't need to sleep. I don't care that Bella loves him. It's still creepy. If Edward Cullen can get into your room while you sleep, that means other non-vampire men can do so. Therefore...creepy. Also, really, Edward? You want to watch a girl while she sleeps? Sorry to break it to you but we females aren't so different from males: We snore, drool and move in our sleep...just like you. I'd think that was awfully boring to watch, even if you love us.

To put this in a more realistic context: I love Iron Chef America on the Food Network. It was the show that got me hooked on wanting to cook. I love all of the Iron Chefs and I root for them, regardless of the competitor. Yet there are times when they make me have to consider eating, say, a fish heart or pig's brain that I say: "No, Iron Chef....that's just not pleasant!"

It's not about the taste, it's about the actuality. It's disgusting in theory. In reality, I'm sure it's delicious but I stop before I get that far.

Hence the comparison to teenage vampire lovin'. Ok, so the idea of Edward Cullen staring at you while you sleep may seem romantic...yet, in actuality, it's twisted. He doesn't need to sleep but instead of doing something useful like composing a symphony, writing a novel or even creating a new recipe, he puts aside all that to just...stare at you...while you sleep.

It's creepy. It's wrong. It's just....such a teenage idea.

Hence the fact that I recognize the fact that I'm now a curmudgeonly grown-up. I don't like to think I've lost the idea of romance but I do think I've shed the illusion that romance can be completely silly, completely separate from reality. I've just started reading the novel Outlander and already I sort of want to slap the heroine for being so obtuse. I haven't even got that far but I can see that the hero is going to be 'James', the hero who was wounded when he met his love but grew to be a brave saviour.

Reality isn't so easy. I wish it could be. Sometimes, I wish men and women could walk around with coloured stickers on them so that all we had to do was find the person with the same coloured sticker as the one we were wearing and, voila!, that was our mate. Alas, it does not work that way. Instead, we have to go for awkward coffee/dinner dates with men that an online dating site thinks is right for us because a number of variables on our profiles matches.

I sound bitter. I'm not. I just feel like sometimes I'm too much of an adult and that I should figure out how to cast reality aside in favour of the fictional perfection that I covet in life. I think, in truth, it's up to us. Online dating sites can apply their logical computerized formula to match us but it's the actuality that matters: Do I like him? Is he man enough to call me? Is he actually going to ask me questions about me or talk about Ultimate Frisbee for two hours? Is he really looking for a relationship or just a quickie?

The thing is, I don't think it really matters. While I may have become an adult, ready to worry about the reality of scary matters, I'm still able to step back and realize that sometimes it's nice to be immature, to regress back to the days where idealisation overruled practicality.

Of course, when it comes down to the fact that idealisation costs money, I become exceedingly practical....which I suppose means I've become a fully-fledged grown up.


I suppose you have to grow up sometime. I just don't want to. Say, is that footsteps in my attic, I hear. Perhaps it's a demon! Maybe I should investigate....who cares is my gutter is falling!

Nope, can't do it. Damn it all....I'm a grown up. No matter how hard I try to pretend otherwise.

Happy Friday...and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Buy my e-Book! (I mean, uh, Happy...Thursday!)

It's already Thursday. For those of your that didn't get Monday off, I'm sure the week feels like it's dragging. I did get Monday off and the week, so far is whizzing by.
It probably helps that I'm busy at work. I like it when that happens. At the moment, I have the type of projects that absorb me from the time I get into the office until the time I leave. It's actually fun. I get to use my brain. For me, this is a feat. I confess, until recently, I don't think I used my brain at work in quite a long time. Unless, of course, you count the effort it takes to calculate how long I have to surf until the coworker-who-can-always-see-what-I'm-doing-on-on-my-computer-when-he-turns-his-head returns from the bathroom. And yes, I admit, I do pay attention to this sort of information. When you used to have adequate time to surf the web and are now reduced to seconds, you learn when the vital moments happen. Also, you learn to surf Facebook on your phone. I have recently learned this is a wise decision; my company has just restricted access to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

A few months ago, I would have been outraged at this. However, MySpace is SO 2008. EVERYONE uses Facebook now, I mean, come on, MySpace, really? I have a MySpace account but I haven't used it in several months. It's all about Facebook. And Twitter?

Well, I admit, after probably what adds up to be over a year, maybe two, I still haven't, um, figured out the whole "Tweeting" thing. As someone described it to me, it's like posting a status update on Facebook for any subscriber to see. It makes sense...theoretically. However, hearing the horror stories of 'tweets' from celebrities, I just can't be bothered. At least on Facebook, I know the people who read my updates are 'friends' of some kind or another.

I suppose I should be irritated that my company has stripped yet another freedom from us. In actuality, I don't even care. If I didn't have a Blackberry, I might. After all, even if our PC's or, in the case of 99% of my coworkers, Mac's, are blocked from finding Facebook, they can't block my Blackberry. Thus, when I get into the office, I'll just hit my Facebook App's 'search for updates' option and see what my friends are up to. They can take my freedom, they can take my liberty but they can't take my cunning or covertness from me. I WILL continue to keep abreast of my friends' Facebook updates, darn it, oh yes, I will.

Yet, even with this minor distraction, I'm still keeping busy at work. I'm shocking myself with my productivity. I'm actually annoyed with myself for doing so much work. However, I will admit when I have a project that makes the day whiz by while you're trying to get it done, it makes work feel pretty decent. I won't say I LOVE my job because, well, frankly, that would be a lie. However, I can't say I don't like my job because, at the moment, that, too, would be a lie. I'm testing software at the moment. I'm being paid to try to break it. To me, that's a challenge. I hate to sound arrogant, but I think I'm pretty good at it, too. According to several of the programmers I work with, I have a 'unique' way of testing. When they say that, it has an air of disdain. To me, it has a tinge of victory. Of course I have a unique way of testing it! First of all, I remove all my intelligence and try to approach our software like I'm a newbie who has no idea what they're doing. Then I give myself a cool name like Sookie Stackhouse, Buffy Summers, Hermione Granger, Lorelie Gilmore...whatever I feel like naming myself. Then I test our software as though I'm clueless. It's a failsafe system: I end up finding the weirdest bugs that our entrenched, experienced programmers had no idea existed because they don't think about seeing the software through new eyes.

I'm not saying I'm great at my job just that I do have a unique approach: I pretend I've never seen it before. On occasion, I'm told that I'm being naive, that, chances are, the user will know what they're doing and the bug I find is minute and insignificant. To me, it's always significant. I found it, therefore someone else will.

It's my job and I don't mind it at all, as long as someone listens to me. Even if they don't, I make my point known in our staff meetings. My boss looks at me for a moment and then his eyes glaze over and I know he doesn't care why I think a bug is significant. However, to me, it is. It's a tiny thing but it means something.

The nice thing is that if I find a bug and no one acknowledges it, chances are that a client will find it a few months later. It becomes significant then and I get to play the "I told you so," card. That's a valuable asset, unto itself.

In the meantime, I continue to find creative, out-of-the-ordinary ways to test our software for bugs. It's working nicely for me, even if it means I have to use my brain.

As long as I don't use Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. Because that's forbidden.

Happy Thursday!

PS* If you do get to surf the web at work or at home or whenever, feel free to check out my first e-published novel. At the moment, you have to read it on the Amazon Kindle or the iPhone Kindle App but, shortly, it'll be available on any e-reader that's out there. It's cheap, $1.99 for an entire novel...but please feel free to help out a struggling's worth your while, I promise:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Icy Drives and Frozen Grocery Ads

I did make it to work this morning without too much snow-trouble. Granted, backing out of my drive was a little hairy. The snowplows had pushed snow from the road to my drive but after a scary moment when my wheels wouldn't move, a gentle but firm push to the accelerator got me over the hump.

The snowplow situation amuses me. I live on an emergency route- the fire station and police stations are just down the road and my street is their main drag to get around quickly. While they do keep my street cleared better than the side streets around us, I'm a little surprised that they don't get my street as clear as you'd expect. Of course, I also realized that there's a reason for this: Our 'snowplow' is a pick-up truck, embossed with the City logo with a little plow on the front. I'd say it was better than nothing but having observed the snow plow pushing a tiny amount of snow and not scraping the road at all, it does seem a little ineffective. Of course, it is effective enough that the plow pushes what little snow it does gather up and block our driveways with it. I can't help but think there might be better places to deposit it but since it keeps us residents active by shoveling, there's probably a point to it.

Anyway, once I made it out of my drive, I realized that the roads were more icy than snowy, something that worries me a little. Driving on snow isn't so bad as driving on ice-ridges which is what it was along the road that I take to get to work. I drove slowly. As I pulled out of my neighbourhood onto the main road, I saw something that caught my attention: I'd accidentally left the grocery-store ads that I'd picked up from my stoop when shoveling yesterday on the boot of my car- or trunk, to be more American about it. I'd put them there with the intention of taking them inside to read when I was done shoveling. Of course, when I was done shoveling, I had completely forgotten about the ads. Hence the fact that they were still on the boot of my car as I drove to work.

I think the saddest part of my realization was not so much that they might fly off and hit someone or distract them but, in fact, I was more concerned that they fly off and I wouldn't be able to read them. I love my weekly ads; there's always a Jungle Jim's one in there and it pays to pore over the flyer to see what's on special. It saves a lot of time by planning ahead.

Thus, as well as being very alert as a driver, I was also very alert to those ads which were in a thin plastic bag and blowing precariously in the cold wind. The hardest part of my drive was pulling into the side-street that leads to our building. Not only was it unplowed but it was icy. I fishtailed when I got to that part, carefully steering my car so that I didn't skid out of control. Still, those ads remained on my car, not blowing off.

You'd think after all that, I'd remember to take them off my car when I got to work. Nope, I was distracted by the fact that there were only two cars aside from mine around the whole building. I was distracted by trying to park in what I thought was a parking spot except I couldn't quite see the lines beneath the snow. Turns out I did part between the lines. Go me.

However, you'll be happy to know that the ads were still there when I came out of work this evening. I know you were concerned. They were frozen to my car which explains why they didn't fly off this morning. There I was thinking I'd been such a steady and cautious driver that even paper wouldn't fly off my car. Alas, no, a thin layer of ice held them steady for me.

I even remembered to take the ads off my car. Shockingly, I even remembered to take them inside my house. Alas, there were no amazing deals that I could see, they were just run-of-the mill grocery ads. Nevertheless, those ads deserved to be read. I may even read them again, just to make sure I didn't miss anything.

I had to shovel a little when I got home tonight. I double checked to make sure I hadn't left anything sitting on my car this time. I have to do things like that at night because in the mornings, I'm usually slightly unawake and only able to stick to my routine which involves juggling my cup of tea and backpack while trying to get into my car without spilling. Anything other than that would be out of the ordinary. I try not to do out-of-the-ordinary in the mornings.

Then again, I suppose driving to work with a bag full of grocery ads stuck to the boot of your car with ice is a little out-of-the-ordinary.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mother Nature's Message....

It's really snowing out there. It hasn't stopped all day. I've enjoyed every minute of it. I went out to shovel this evening and now have what I'm calling "Mt. Snow" on either side of my driveway. I still enjoy shovelling. It's fun. The only problem is that I'm running out of places to shovel the snow. Mt. Snow(s) are bordering on four feet tall, no exaggeration. I tried to toss the snow over the mountains but that only worked for so long.

To top it off, just as I was finishing up the mammoth task of clearing my driveway, the city snowplows drive by. Now, I salute their efforts. I know it has to really be awful to have to go out in this kind of weather. However, I do NOT salute their efforts to block my driveway. Yes, dear blog readers, despite my 1.5 hours of shovelling, just as I was finishing up, the snowplow pushed more snow to the end of my drive, thereby creating another ridge to shovel.

I shovelled their mess. My drive was clean. It's now covered with almost two more inches of snow. I'd complain but I can't. It's too lovely. I peeked out my window and the reflection of the stark white earth onto the skies above is so bright that it almost seems like twilight. And not the syrupy, terribly-written vampire kind, either.

It's very pretty out there. Granted, I'm not looking forward to the morning when I realize that I'm going to have to shovel or get stuck. I'm not looking forward to the snarky comments about how I'm so 'lucky' that I live so close. I've decided that if enough people mention this, my response will be, 'Yes, I know. But fortunately, accident lawyers are happy to sue, regardless of the proximity of home to office!"

Sounds bitter, I know. However, there are times when Mother Nature tries to tell us that it's best to bed down and enjoy the fact that she's given us a 'time out' from life. Today was a good day because I got to watch the snow fall without having to go out in it. I managed to sew my sock monkey, make a batch of pea soup with mint for lunch today plus leftovers for lunches at work. I got my novel uploaded to for publishing on the Kindle ($1.99, a bargain ( I hope!). I made roasted Cornish game hen with roasted veggies for dinner, watch Jack Bauer and still have time to blog twice. All in all, it was a wonderful 'bonus' day off.

Long weekends are the best. Normally, a weekend consists of Saturday which, for me- and many others- consists of a day of running errands, getting all the stuff done that's hard to do after work druing the week. Sunday is getting stuff done around the house: Laundry, cleaning, tidying...whatever. That's it for a weekend...usually. But on three-day weekends, you have an additional day...a day to actually relax. For me, relaxing means getting all the things done I can't find time to do normally. I mean, how often do I really have time to sew a sock monkey? Yet on my third day of a three-day weekend, it's no problem. I can multitask: Watch DVD's while sewing. It's a perfect way to relax.

In the end, I have a sock monkey named Frankfurter. I have a book almost published into the e-reader zone. I had a nicely shoveled driveway, even if it's already covered again. I had good food and even better leftovers. And, finally, I watched Jack Bauer do his Jack Bauer thing and take those bad guys down with a flick of his wrist.

I confess, even though my logic and better-judgment prevails, the optimist in me, the dreamer in me hopes that we get an email from our company saying that since the weather sucks and the roads are quite terrible, it's better if we all work from home tomorrow, regardless of how far we live from the office.

Yet, unfortunately, there's a realist in me that knows my company doesn't care that driving is dangerous: We should try to make it in because work waits for no man...or woman.

Still, if I can't get out of my driveway, work will just have to wait. Mother Nature is giving me a message and I must's my way of thanking for the snow. Poor'll just have to wait.

Happy Tuesday!

Snow Day! (Even if we are off work already, anyway!)

It's a late blog today. It's rare, these days, that I actually get to blog on the day that the blog is intended to be read. However, since it's a holiday today- Happy Birthday Mr. Presidents- I can blog late.

It's probably a good thing it's a holiday today. It's really, really snowing out there. According to Mr. Weatherman, we, here, in Cincinnati, Ohio are located in the 'bullseye' of the winter storm. At the moment it's snowing heavily, the kind of snow that doesn't waste time with pretty, slow-falling fluffy flakes. No, it's the hard snow that looks like rain only it's snow.

All told, by the time it's done, we're supposed to have nine new inches of snow on the ground. They're already reporting that the airport has closed some of its runways. Since the storm is to continue through early tomorrow, we can only assume that not many flights are coming in and out.

Which leads me to be quite grateful that Saz could not come in for the weekend. As much fun as we would have had, I can safely say that as I had feared, she would have been stuck. I'm thinking Memorial Day is a much safer option for a future visit :)

In the meantime, I get to stay inside today. I have plans to cook, to write and to just enjoy the fact that this is a snow day, even if it is only a happy accident that I don't have to risk my life and my car to get to the office. I have no illusions that my company is likely to suddenly recognize the fact that it has human beings working for them and thus issue an email telling us that we should work at home if possible tomorrow. I mean, in an ideal world, that would be the right thing to do but my company doesn't do the right thing, it does the thing that will allow them to continue to try to make money. I suppose that is the purpose of a corporation.

Anyway, I'm not dwelling on work today. I'm enjoying the fact that I don't have to go. I've already had a pleasant two days off, this is a bonus. I ended up deciding that I was going to appreciate the fact that I was a singleton on Valentine's Day and I did exactly as I pleased. This involved eating butternut squash ravioli with sage butter sauce while watching "Across the Universe" on DVD in the comfort of my own home. I also went to the movies earlier in the day and saw, appropriately, "Valentine's Day." It was a good choice for, you know, Valentine's Day, although at any other time of year, it could be considered overly cheesy and predictable. Also, there's just some stuff in there that is so over-the-top in trying to hit the 'romantic' point home that everyone in the audience laughed instead of giving the 'AWWW!' response that I suspect the filmaker was going for.

But it was a good choice for Valentine's Day. It was a nice end to a 'normal' weekend but since I get to take today off, the weekend still continues. I think I shall celebrate the snow day by doing some projects I haven't had time to do lately. I have a sock monkey that I've been waiting to sew, courtesty of RadLinc Crafts. I also want to get my novel formatted and ready for the Nook and Kindle. Of course, at some point, I do have to work in shoveling my driveway. However, it's hard to know the right point at which to shovel because it's going to keep snowing and thus, I'll only have to dig again later.

For now though, I am going to continue to watch the snow fall and be very grateful that I do not have to go anywhere in it. As for tomorrow, well, that's another day and another blog.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Penalty of Snow....

It's Friday tomorrow. Not only is it Friday but it's the Friday before a long weekend. Three pure, unobliterated days of not having to work. I can live with that.

My weekend is already shaping up way differently than I'd planned. As I mentioned earlier in the week, my best friend Saz was supposed to come in to visit from Washington D.C. Unfortunately, nature intervened and made travel slightly difficult. I suppose two feet of snow will do that for you, as people in Washington D.C. are experiencing.

I'm sad that Ms. Saz will not be coming to visit quite yet. She has, however, rebooked for Memorial Day weekend and I find it highly unlikely that a blizzard or several inches of snow will be impeding that visit. If so, I think we'd be having much more serious problems than just the weather.

It doesn't make me like snow any just means that it misbehaved, that's all. When I did the snow dance two weeks ago, I certainly didn't think it would have this affect. Thus, I claim no responsibility. I suppose it's the penalty of winter.

So, now, I have an unplanned weekend. I'm sure I'll find ways to fill it: I usually do. I have a sequel to write and a novel to format so I can publish it on the Kindle and the Nook. I have food to cook, books to read, movies to watch. I'll just miss seeing Saz for a couple more months.

In addition, it's Valentines Day. As we singleton's like to call it "Single Awareness Day." While I respect Valentines Day and honour the fact that it's a good day to avoid going out to restaurants lest we singletons choke on the bitterness of having to buy our own chocolate and flowers, I'm not a fan. I liked it best when we were young children and everyone got to put anonymous Valentine's cards in a communal box for delivery in school. I usually got one or two. I always tried to ignore the girls with their desks piled high with cards but it was hard to ignore that. My cards were from friends. I always longed for an anonymous admirer but, alas, it never came.

It didn't make me bitter, just as I'm not bitter now. I admit, I do get a little bitter when it's December 26th and Christmas, my favourite holiday, has already surrendered its greens, reds, golds and silvers to the overwhelmingly garish glow of reds and pinks as the Valentine's aisles take over the store but that's only because I think Christmas should last longer.

No, when it comes to Valentine's Day, I'm of the opinion that it's a perfectly nice made-up holiday. It's a Hallmark holiday. It means something to those people who are in love but those of us who keep hoping merely look on it as a reminder that we've either made terrible choices or we just haven't been lucky. But it doesn't have to be that way, does it? Does Valentines have to be a day about romantic love or can it just be about celebrating any kind of love?

I think, If I had kids, I'd send them cards. If I was going home, I'd probably give my nephews and nieces and even parents one of my Harry Potter Valentine's cards that I bought. They're the kids kind of Valentines that come 18 to a box and say things like, "Thanks for being a great friend- Happy Valentine's Day." I like that idea of Valentines'. The pressure is off, it's celebrating love but not the ooey-gooey kind that only really and truly happens on the big screens and TV screens in front of us; in reality it's messy, painful, insane and realistic and, from what I know from my friends who are lucky enough to have found it, worth every minute.

This year, Saz and I had planned on having sharing Valentine's Day as singles. We've done it before. We go to a movie, drink wine and talk about the positives of still being single. Since we won't be able to do that, I think I'll honour the day by not being bitter but, instead, respecting those around me who celebrate the day and enjoying the fact that it's a day upon which I don't have to buy anyone a gift. Also, it's a day to appreciate those I love, whether romantic or otherwise. I am lucky enough to have quite a few of those. So even though it won't quite be the weekend I planned, it won't be wasted. It'll make me think about how lucky I am to have people I love in my life, even if it isn't the red roses, heart-shaped chocolate boxes or even heart-stamped boxer short kind of love that retailers seem to think is necessary to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Also, I'll celebrate February 15th just as happily. It may not have an official name but, to me, it's always going to be "50% off all that chocolate you couldn't be bothered to buy for your true love" day.

Now that's another day worth celebrating. And since I love chocolate and Valentines is about love, it fits when you think about it.

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend! (And happy Valentine's Day to all!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Muddle of Winter...

This has been a muddly sort of week so far. I suppose, in winter, muddle is really the order of the day. You never can tell what's going to happen outside- the weather takes pride on being as unpredictable as possible. A week ago, Mr. Weatherman informed us that we might get 'a few snow showers'. Almost 9 inches later and I just shoveled my driveway for the third time in four days. I think we can safely say Mr. Weatherman is full of it.

I'm still loving the snow. Even though the drive to work is a little hairy and I don't like it when the wheels of my Toyota Corolla start to slide as I navigate to work, it's still amazing to see how different the world looks when a thick coat of white snow masks it. I love shovelling snow. It sounds a little mental to say that but it's true. When I say that at work, people say, "oh, whatever. It's only because you've only had to do it a couple of times. Wait until next year."

I beg to differ. Shovelling snow is therapeutic to me. It's a way of taking a heap of potential problematic mess and digging in to get rid of it. With each plow of my shovel, cleanliness and order reappears. Also, after about ten minutes, I'm sweating and feeling the exertion. In my book, that makes it good exercise. In summation: Shoveling snow is both good for my muscles and for my soul.

As I write this, I'm looking out the window. It's a vast wilderness of white out there. It's a frosty, freezing sort of white. As far as Mr. Weatherman predicted, it's supposed to be cold out there and, with the wind chill, even colder.

I can feel my mother shudder as I write this. As I've mentioned, Mummy Monkeypants is not a winter creature. She's the sort of human who thrives when the sun shines. In spring, she starts to awaken; in summer, she's at her best. It's interesting, really; two winters into my new life in Ohio and I'm still loving every snowflake. I'm still performing the Snow Dance with Sausage until I'm forbidden. Which, by the way, I'll have you know, I was forbidden from performing the dance this week. Also, I was forbidden from wearing my necklace.

Yet, it doesn't matter. Each time it snows, I feel a little more of me awaken. I'm not sure why. Like Mummy Monkeypants, I enjoy the Spring. I enjoy the beginning of Summer. I enjoy the end of Summer when the Autumn leaves start turning and winter whispers on the air. It's just that hot, miserably part of the year that I don't like. I suppose, in short, I like the coolness of the seasons. I like winter because it's unarguably cold. I like spring because it begins cold and ends with the intense warmth of summer days but still has chilly, cool nights. Autumn has the same: Hot days, cool nights. It's just summer I don't really like: Hot days, hot real distinction as to when the sun sets.

As I write this, I realize there are at least several dozen people I know who would think I am insane for saying I love winter and its snowy gloriousness. Having been on Facebook, I have at least that many friends who have wished for somewhere warm and sunny in the face of the brutal snowstorm we've been facing.

As for me, I revel in the icy flakes. Granted, I don't like having to drive on the stuff. I'd rather be snuggled inside, looking out as the snowflakes cascade to earth, covering the ground over and over so that nothing of normalcy remains, awash in the stark white splendour of the snowy backdrop.

Yet even when I have to be at work, I take pride in the fact that when I look outside, see the snowflakes tumble downwards, I smile. It's winter. It might be icy, it might be mean but it knows how to get our attention by creating a muddle.

And, sometimes, when you learn to accept it, living in a muddle isn't bad. It makes things interesting.

Just keep a snow shovel on hand.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow-Covered Days

Today was a rough day in the office. It started with snow. For all my adoration and love of snow, the one thing I prefer not to do is drive in it. Unfortunately, this morning, I had no choice. When I left for work, the snow was thick on the roads and the plows hadn't yet gone through. As I'm told daily, I'm very lucky in my commute. I back out of my garage, go straight for a half-mile then make a left, travel about 2 miles and turn into the complex that leads to my building.

I know I'm lucky that it's really only about a 2 mile commute. However, for the record, I'd like to state that 2 miles in bad snow is just as terrifying as a 20 mile commute. I've done both. With a 20 mile commute, there's a period of thinking, "what the heck am I doing, driving on this crap!" Then you drive and then you get the hang of the slow breaking, the following other cars and leaving a nice gap. It's not easy, in fact, it's exhausting but when you pull into the car park at work, there's a sense of relief and knowing that it's likely, when you leave, things will be better.

With a two mile commute, there's no time to find a rhythm. It's tension, all the way. This morning, the snow was so thick that it became one of those "make your own driving lane" situations. You couldn't see the lines of the road, you could only guess. You could try to follow in the tracks of the car in front of you but it didn't do much good because it was still thick snow. I had a horrible, slightly terrifying moment where I could not get any traction and I started to slide sideways. I did what I instinctively knew how to do- take your foot off the gas, turn the wheel and try to slow. It worked. I was still a little nervewracked. Then I had the misfortune to get stuck behind a Dodge Charger. Note to people out there: Dodge Chargers might be a sort-of classic car. They might make a great noise when you rev the engine. I even think the Dukes of Hazard drove one so they're either instinctively cool or instinctively cheesy, take your pick. However, Dodge Chargers? Not good on snow. The one in front of me lost its traction at a light and it never recovered. It was painful to watch it try to regain its grip on the road but slowly slide sideways. At one point, it moved backwards and literally came within a foot of my bumper.

By the time I got to the light where I turn to go to my office, I was already shaking with stress. Add to that the slight horror of realizing there's an unplowed hill that you have to maneuver to get to the office? Not fun.

I made it. Then I realized that everyone else had too. We're all parking around the back this week which meant my lovely, normal parking space was claimed by an interloper. I found a spot but I had to search for it.

So, by the time I actually got to my desk, I wasn't in the best of moods. I was shaken and stressed and all I really wanted to do was go back home and curl up in my bed. However, I couldn't do this so I tried to work. All through the morning, I received comments of "you're so lucky you live so close!"

As I've said before, it's partially luck but mostly planning. I did it ON PURPOSE. I knew this would happen so I bought my house accordingly. Also, while I respect that I have a short commute, sliding sideways on a major road is no more fun within two miles of the office than it is within twenty. I'm not belittling the intrepid drivers who made it from afar but I think a little more sensitivity would go a long way. When Captain Monkeypants is holding her highly caffeinated tea mug for dear life with white knuckles first thing in the morning, DO NOT remind her how lucky she is that she lives so close. She does NOT want to hear it. Now, if they invented teleportation, then she'd be lucky.

Aside from that the bad weather, I also discovered that since we changed health insurance companies after the first of the year, my necessary 'treatment' for a condition that I have was no longer covered even though I was told that is would be when we signed up for our coverage. This meant when I called to authorize a medication be shipped to my doctor, I did not get the $30 copay I was expecting, I got a $415 shock. It's one thing to expect that type of co-pay but when you have no idea, I think they call that blindsiding. Several phone calls later, turns out I have to pay it.

I had tried to remain upbeat to this point. I went to the bathroom to try to be inspired by the optimism there. This did not work. I realized I was just not going to be in a good mood. Then, to top it all off, I got an email at work. One of my coworkers wanted to know if it was a possibility that she might 'crash' at my house tonight so she didn't have to risk the snow.

Now, I have some coworkers I consider 'friends'. I have some that I consider to be quasi-friends. Everyone else is a coworker. This was a quasi-friend. In any other circumstance, I would have been more ok with it. In this case, it was more the principle of the thing. You see, as I mentioned yesterday, we're having a training workshop this week, in the office. We have 'Visitors' in the office. They're here. Thus, some of our personnel HAVE to be here too, those heavily involved in the training. The coworker who asked if she could crash is one of these personnel.

My problem is that I tend to have an idealist view of life: What's right is right, what's wrong is wrong. The problem is the world does not work like this. I'm learning that every day but still I live in hope. You see, the coworker who made the request of me and ALL of her 'team members' all have the same boss. He lives five hours away from our office. Each Monday, he drives to our office, each Friday, he drives home. In between, he stays in a hotel. Our company pays for his hotel. Our company pays for his mileage. Yet today, his staff made a request that since the weather was so abysmal, would it be possible that they, too, could stay in a hotel so they didn't have to risk getting trapped by the weather in the morning?

Their request, to the best of my knowledge, was denied. Thus, my coworker asked if she could stay at my place. Because I am a softie and horribly bad with guilt, I said that she could if it was an emergency. I wasn't terribly encouraging but I did not say no either. I did not WANT her to stay but the 'good' voice in my head told me that I had to do the right thing. In the end, she decided to take the risk and drive home anyway. I was thankful. I feel bad about that.

I think the biggest problem I have is that our company is hypocritical and contradictory. Today, our president was 'sick' but he 'worked from home' anyway. Few other people worked from home, even though we had a level one snow emergency. We did not get to leave early, even though the snow kept accumulating. One of our managers is permitted to rack up the bills so he can be in the office weekly without having to compromise by moving closer yet he could not permit his own staff to save the stress of hazardous travel by sparing the expense of letting them stay in a hotel.

I suppose part of me is a put out that a coworker asked me if she could stay with me just because I live close. I suppose it is convenient. It does not mean I want to become an inn for stranded coworkers. If I was a better person, I'd say, "No problem!" and permit them to stay. And, honestly, if it was a true, definite, absolute emergency, I would. It's just that once you start something, it snowballs. It sounds horrible but I know it to be true. If I let her crash this time, will it end there or will other people think, 'hey, spare bedroom! no commute!'
Probably not. It just makes me feel bad to think those thoughts.

And, as Karma happens, when I got home from work, I had to spend a long time digging my driveway out. My street is on the emergency route for the fire station and the police so they keep my street plowed. Unfortunately, when they plow, they push the snow inwards...into our driveways. When I got home, my drive was impassable. Since we were having a snow emergency, we're not permitted to park on the street so it wasn't as though I could leave my car on the street overnight. I had to shovel.

I like shoveling. It's good exercise and it's therapeutic. It's just not something you want to do before you even get home from work. Still, I did so and in record time. I'm proud to admit my next door neighbour, the Dog Whisperer, had a head start on me. I managed to shovel my driveway AND my sidewalk in less time than it took him to shovel his drive.

Now, as I'm looking out of the window, all I'm seeing is white. It's snowing hard and it's blowing. My driveway is covered again. The plows are running and piling the snow against the curb...and our driveways. I have a feeling I'll be late tomorrow because I'll have to dig myself out. I'll probably get mocked because I only live two miles from the office. It doesn't mean I get any less snow and any less inconvenience but I/m sure I'll get teased anyway. I usually do.

Yet tomorrow is a new day, shining with freshly fallen snow. If I have to dig first thing in the morning, I'll be at one with the snow, which I love. I've been forbidden to dance in it, around it, near it or even while thinking about it because, apparently, everyone I know now blames me for the snow when it falls. I know that if that happens, I'll come inside and listen to the news, my eyes flickering uncontrollably to that 'ticker tape' at the bottom of the screen, announcing school delays and cancellations, a tiny part of me wishing that, as it once had, it would again apply to me. I remember the hopeful days of watching that scrolling banner, hoping beyond hope that our school would be on there. When it was, it was like a rush of excitement, killing the actuality of trying to go back to bed but still loving that it was a day of pure, uninhibited nothingness. These days, I live in the real world. Companies don't have that scrolling banner of delays and cancellations.
Oh, but I wish they did. Especially after a day like today.

Yet I can believe that tomorrow will be better...right?

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Visitors Are Coming!

Today was most definitely a Monday. I got to work and started a project that I thought would be simple. Alas, being Monday, nothing is ever simple. It turns out that even though I knew for certain that I'd updated a web page a few months ago, my changes were gone and I had to start from scratch. This realization came after quite a few attempts to find my edits which took up rather a lot of time. By the time I realized I had no choice but to start all over again, I had wasted valuable minutes trying to undo the undo-able error.

Still, even though it was Monday, I was in a scarily chipper mood. I have no idea why. It's remarkably easy to alarm people when they ask you how you are and you say enthusiastically, "It's Monday! YAY!"

I think that enthusiasm from me at work is always sort of a shock to most people. On a Monday, it's just plain alarming. I exacerabated the alarm by reading the motivation poster in the kitchen aloud to anyone who dared seem un-perky. I did not win a lot of fans. In fact, one of my coworkers even swore at me.

I think the saddest part is the more I alarm people with my perkiness, the more it encourages me. In our department staff meeting today, my manager told us we all had to download an application for our computers. When he realized they had to create a download just for little old me, the lone PC user in a sea of Macs, he stared at me and said, "you're really the only one?"

I beamed at him and said, "yup." He stared some more. "Really? Well, aren't you special?"

I merely smiled in my slightly loony way and said, "why yes, I always thought so." He didn't say much more on the subject. I think the fact that he acknowledged that I am the lone banana in a sea of Apple's was enough for the day. It's the teeny, tiny victories that really count, even if they only last a couple of hours.

This week is very special in our office. We have outsiders coming in to be trained on our software. It's very exciting, at least that's what I'm being told. This means for my area that we might be paraded out on a break just to prove that we exist. We also must dress nicely each day. For me, this isn't exactly an issue. I like to dress nicely for work. However, I do find it slightly ironic that we have to dress up to impress the visitors who most likely won't see us. I suppose we're supposed to give the impression that we're highly professional. Given that we actually are quite professional and still manage to be that way in jeans and t-shirts, it's rather interesting that we have to pretend that we dress nice every day.

I'm not against dressing nice for work as I've stated many times. Normally, I get odd looks and questions when I wear something other than jeans to work. It's just that we're pretending. The construction on our building has been working top speed to be done by tomorrow so that the visitors think we're perfect. It's still not done though Neon Einstein and the Motivational Bathroom Pictures are hung so that our guests know we're all perky and upbeat. Of course, given that there are only two bathroom stalls in our entire building and we're going to have quite a few women in for the training, I'm not quite sure how upbeat you can remain when you really need to go and there's a line but, well, they didn't think of that when they gave us our two bathroom stalls.

It's all a charade, really. I suppose any workplace is when you look at it. I watch The Office regularly and I have to say, though we don't have a supervisor quite as incompetant as Michael Scott, some of the events on that show are a little too familiar. I think every workplace is the same. You have to be on your best behaviour when outsiders are in the building to make them think you're perfect. When they leave, then you can start acting crazy and breaking out the jeans. One of the reasons I'll probably never be a boss is that I tend to think the output and work product is one of the things to look at, not what the workers look like who get it there. Also, if you're nice to the workers, they might output a little more, up that ratio of work to salary. My office isn't mean to us per se but, well, they don't exactly have staff appreciation days or parties. Even our Christmas party didn't happen this year because no one could be bothered to plan it. Also, I suspect we had no budget. I don't see why we couldn't have turned on the flat screens, cranked up the popcorn maker and had a party in our little Cubicle Land but no one seemed to go for that.

Now the time for holiday parties has passed. A President's Day party just didn't seem to appeal to anyone. Still, at lunch, we've taken to having little parties in the kitchen area. I think we might have to close the doors when the visitors are in the building; my perkiness might really frighten them. It's one thing to unleash a loony grin on your coworkers but I'm not mean enough to do it to complete strangers.

Of course, it's only Tuesday. By Friday, I might feel differently. I'll let you know.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Self-Enforced Snow Days...

This weekend, like most, has just flown by. We had a minor snowstorm on Friday night which left us with six inches of snow. It was the perfect weekend to stay inside.

The weekend started with some strange, indecisive weather. All day Friday it rained but the temperature fluctuated. At any given moment it changed from rain to freezing rain to sleet and to snow. By the time we left work on Friday night, it was mostly snow and it was coming down hard.

For me, this was a natural excuse to make a run to Jungle Jim's. I needed groceries and if the weather got bad, I wouldn't want to go out. Voila...easy solution.

Also, since I have a guest, my good friend Saz, coming to visit next weekend, I promised to cook for her and I needed to get some ingredients in preparation.

Jungle Jim's was as useful as ever. I got everything I needed and even had time to do the usual fresh quail egg once-over. Alas, they still elude me. Still, I managed to get everything on my list as well as a few other irresistable options.

Saturday, I had intended to clean the house in preparation for my guest's visit. In the end, I actually talked myself into being only semi-productive instead of fully productive and instead decided to get the messy tasks out of the way and then spend Sunday cleaning up those messes as well as just general cleaning.

One of the messy tasks is laundry. I don't know about you but my laundry makes a mess. No matter how well I scour the pockets, somehow a tissue always makes its way into my laundry. It ends up getting wet and sticking to the clean laundry when I throw it into the dryer. Then, when the clothes are dry, the tissue sits, broken down, partially in the lint-catcher and partially, patiently, waiting until I open that dryer door to tumble out onto the floor below. Thus, I have a mess.

I also had to shovel my driveway so that when the time came, I could get out without sliding backwards into the ice mountain that the plows had left at the end of my driveway. I actually like shoveling snow. First, I get to be out in the snow. Second, it's great exercise and third, it's useful. Unfortunately, it means when I come in, even if I wipe your boots on the mat, I still manage to make a mess. My problem is that even though I try to put my trouser legs inside my boots, they always find a way to come out. They end up getting snowy and when I go inside, the snow melts, leaving and unintended trail.

I also needed to make ravioli. I promised Saz I'd make her butternut squash ravioli. Since it's a messy process that I haven't quite perfected yet, I thought it might be quicker and less embarrassing to premake the pasta and freeze it. I was feeling ambitious so, in addition to the butternut squash ravioli, I decided to make a ricotta and herb stuffed ravioli too. I made two batches of pasta dough- one regular flour, one semolina. Naturally, no matter how hard I tried to make my flour 'well' deep enough to hold the eggs as I gently beat them, I ended up having a slight eruption of my pasta volcano anyway. It means runny egg that tries desperately to escape from the flour but you can stop with some simple flour scooping. In the end, as long as you knead and tidy the dough, it all works out. I just wish I knew the trick to preventing Mount Versuvius every time I try to make pasta dough.

In the end, I spent about four hours making ravioli. You see, I have a little pasta maker that rolls the dough into a nice flat strip. I also have a nice ravioli press that you use to layer the dough, press indentations into it, add the filling, add another layer of dough and then use a rolling pin to press the dough so that the edges are defined and you can gently pull them from the press. Unfortunately, my pasta machine isn't quite as wide as my press so I can only make five ravioli at a time instead of ten. It's slow going. Fortunately, I had my iPod on. Also, it's fun. Four hours later and I was no longer mocking the ugliness of Croc shoes but understanding just a little why chefs wear them in the kitchen.

Still, even though I'm slightly obsessive compulsive about keeping my work area clean and tidy when I work, I'm messy with flour and some of it ends up on the floor.

So, when I did clean on Sunday, it was well worth it. My house is clean, shiny and comfy. I'll try to make it last until after my guest leaves but I have feeling I'll have to at least run the hoover around again.

I even managed to watch the Superbowl. I'm still sort of horrified/amazed that I actually did that. I quite like football, a fact which both amazes and astounds me. I wouldn't say it's nearly as fun as watching England do well in the World Cup but sometimes American Football can be quite exciting, especially when you know what's going on. It took me almost 15 years of leaving here to even begin to comprehend that so maybe that's got something to do with it.

Also, during the Superbowl, you're supposed to drink beer and eat bad food. Well, I did drink some beer and I attempted to make Superbowl food. I started out well- tomatillo salsa and tortilla chips. I had the salsa in the freezer from when I made it a couple of months ago. It was pretty tasty. Then I decided to cook. I thought about making a dip but somehow I ended up with a pancetta, egg and butter lettuce baguette. It was super tasty but not very Superbowl-y.

Now it's over. The Colts lost, the Saints won. As a Colts fan, it wasn't a great game for my team. They started out well but didn't do so well after half-time. Yet, if there ever was a team that I almost didn't mind beating us, it would be the Saints. After all, their running back, #25, Reggie Bush, used to play for USC and as a USC Trojan fan, that's not such a bad thing. Also, the team's from New Orleans. Not so long ago, New Orleans was a couple of years later, winning a Superbowl is pretty impressive.

So, it's Sunday night. Tomorrow morning looms closer than I'd like, the thought of my alarm going off into the darkness of my room, beckoning me to get up and go to work does not fill me with joy. It's hard to feel joyful on a Monday morning. It means that the weekend is absolutely, without a doubt, over and the world of the work week has the least until Friday.

But then it's a three day weekend and my best friend is coming to visit. We are supposed to get more snow between now and then but I'm hoping it'll be the accent to her visit, not a barrier.

All in all, though work is the pesky problem that lies between now and fun, I can't say that this past weekend wasn't fun. Though it was still productive, enforcing a 'snow day' on myself was a pretty nice little treat. There's nothing like staying inside, looking at the beauty of the snow and making ravioli to make life seem good.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Most Optimistic Bathroom in The World*

* This is obviously an exaggeration. I'm quite sure it isn't the most optimistic bathroom in the actual world but for the intents of this blog, creative license is permitted.

It's finally Friday. It hasn't actually been that bad of a week but it's still nice when the weekend is creeping nearer, whispering in your ear.

I won't even complain about work this week. I've been trying not to; I had a veer towards the negative last week but I've moved back beyond that and I'm glad it's just a job. I'm feeling rather optimistic.

Actually, I think this might also be due to the fact that at work, we now have the Most Optimistic Bathroom In the World.

I'm not joking. For the past week or two, our rather nice bathroom- which, by the way, actually did finally get corrected- has been gathering paintings. It started with a couple. They were those type of prints in matching hues that have a pretty font with words on them like "Hope" embossed and painted in panels of various shades of the same colour. You'd know what I meant if you saw them. They're usually sort of antique-looking, the shades 'aged' to look older than they are.

Anyhow, those paintings were slowly multiplying and they were sitting for at least a week, lined along the wall. This did seem like a rather odd place to put them but we just figured that they'd get around to hanging them up eventually. In the meantime, they were placed right underneath the only paper towel dispenser in the bathroom which meant every time we washed our hands and reached for a paper towel, we accidentally dripped on the paintings. At first, we just slid them along the wall so they didn't get dripped on. When they multiplied to the point that there was nowhere left to slide them, I finally took the precaution of tilting a painting so it didn't get any more dotted with water than it was.

They hung the paintings yesterday. Our bathroom isn't huge but, by goodness, it certainly is peppy. Every painting declares that we should have "Faith," "Hope" or "Love." Also that we should do something along the lines of "Live for today, your life is now."

And, to top it all off, the stalls themselves even have accroutrements. On the back of each toilet is a little crate thing, printed with flowers and declaring something about "Happiness." I think it says more but it's the "Happiness" that really catches the eye. The crates hold little paper bags to dispose of ladies' sanitary products.

I'm not quite sure why that's something that needs to be represented by "Happiness," but it certainly is an eye-catcher.

Of course, me has the urge, every time I go into the stall, to start singing "Happiness" songs in an off-key voice with my own words that I make up. If you've ever seen "Elf," it would sound a lot like Will Ferrell does when he tries to sing a song to his dad.

I actually have gone in there and opened my mouth and made up a song. I just didn't say it out loud. You just never know who's in the stall next door. I wouldn't want them to think I was odd. Also, since I've never heard anyone else sing songs about "HAPPINESS!" like I want to, it's probably just me which would make it even odder.

Two of my coworkers have taken to turning the crates backwards so that the other happy saying that's something to do with the petals of a flower show. Naturally, the only thing to do to that is to turn the crates back so that we can see "HAPPINESS" instead. It's a fun, peculiar little irony and I quite like that. I'm not saying we shouldn't be happy in the bathroom but if you're happy because you're in the bathroom...well, that's just a little odd. I could imagine why someone would be happy in the bathroom but this is a clean blog and, well, we don't go there.

Anyways, it's not that I don't like inspirational paintings. I'm glad they're not motivational posters although knowing our CEO, this is probably her version of those posters. They're very, uh, pretty. There's just...a lot of them. In a very...small space. There is another part to the bathroom, the 'handicapped' bathroom that has a shower. Unfortunately, the toilet is in the middle of this room and the door to it leads to one side of a hallway, the other side leads to the regular bathroom. Thus, if you're in there going to the toilet, there's quite a good chance that someone might not actually realize and walk in on you. I believe they were going to add a lock to the door to prevent this but the bathroom tends to serve as a shortcut from one side of the building to the other. It's a passageway, of sorts.

This room has some wall space. The only thing hanging there is this slightly odd looking wire silhouette of a tailor's dummy. Not quite sure why but it's fascinating for a few seconds then it's just a little odd. I think the inspirational paintings could easily have leaked over there.

Of course, on the plus side, we could have been stuck with the neon Albert Einstein painting that was sitting on the floor of a hallway. I can only assume it's going to be hung. I'm not sure why Al is neon but...he is. It's sort of Warhol-esque only...not.

We have strange taste in art; this is the lesson I'm learning here. Also, I've learned that when I go to the bathroom, I have to live in the today because my life is NOW!

I suppose it is nice to be reminded of these things. Just as it's nice to be reminded that HAPPINESS is a good thing.

I'm just not sure being reminded when I go to the bathroom is really that effective.'s optimistic and sometimes it's good to be reminded of that. It definitely makes me want to song usually goes something like this.

"HAPPINESS!!!! AND I'm in the bath-roooooooooooooom. I'm going to go to the TOY-LET! I'm not at my desk! It's EXci-ting! HAPPINESS and I'm going to hide in the BATH-Rooooooooom!"

I probably shouldn't have shared that with you because when I type it out, it looks a little barmy. It sounds much better in my head, let me tell you. Of course, it sort of sounds like Buddy the Elf is singing it in my head so that automatically makes it good.

It does makes me laugh. Of course, this does mean that every time I come out of the bathroom, I have a bit of a loony grin on my face. Which probably is even weirder when you stop and think about it. Nevertheless, a smile does wonders for the day, especially when it's real.

And if the motivational printscan make me smile, even if it's not the way they intended, they're doing their job, right?

See, I'm feeling more optimistic already.

Happy Friday and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trying to Get Beyond the Rejection Letter.

Remember how I wrote that blog a couple of days ago about the iPad? I think I might be about to become a hypocrite.

Yet, in my defense, I won't be e-reading, I'll just be e-selling.

As a writer, I've learned that trying to get a novel published is a little like stumbling out into the cold, blustery wilderness of the North pole and hoping someone rescues you. Or, more realistically, it's like being forced to watch Ice Road Truckers with your dad and knowing that it's more than likely that one of the truckers might slide out and plunge into the lake, freezing to death before they can drown.

Either way, you get the idea. Trying to break into publishing is pretty impossible.

It's hard to admit. In truth, I'm an idealist. I see the way things should be versus the way they actually are. I see the fact that I've written a light, funny, timely fictional novel that would probably not cost much to promote or produce and I think, "Why would an agent/publisher NOT want to take a chance on this?"

Yet then I get a few rejections and I realize that my idealistic approach is not going to cut it.

The thing is, I have a feeling if people could actually read my novel, The Reluctant Demon, they might enjoy it. In my horrible way of paraphrasing, it's True Blood meets Paranormal Activity (the horribly, slightly creepy movie that killed at the box office around Halloween."

In truth, it's a dark comedy with elements of horror and romance thrown in.

So far, agents feel that "it's not for them."

I wouldn't feel bad except I've now accomplished a grand total of writing nine novels. While I get that some of my novels are hard sells, there's NINE of them. Dear agents: give me a chance. I can write. I can write fast. When I write fast, I write well. In short, I might not have sparkly vampires or DaVinci type code-breaking characters but I have fun.

Yet, what I'm finding in my research is that agents recieve up to 200 queries a day. Of those 200, less than 1% is likely to get more than a kind "Thanks for submitting, good luck" email."

I appreciate the kindness. It's not quite the same as "I loved your premise, let me read more."

My bitterness is probably a little hard to hide. It's a world in which Stephanie Meyer can get an agent to pay attention to her novel because her good friend is also represented by that agent. Stephanie Meyer, gets a read. The rest of us...don't. Long story short, Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series becomes a blockbuster.

Score one for Stephanie. Score nil for the rest of us writers who don't know anyone.

So, here I sit. Nine novels later. Not having got anywhere with any one of those novels is really making me feel quite pathetic. Are they all really so bad that no agent will even look at them?

The pessimist/low self-esteem holder in me says "yes." The realist says, "But they haven't even read them!"

It's all about the query letter. Let me tell you, I've sent out a very large amount of them and nothing seems to work. I've tried funny queries, serious queries, quirky queries, attention getters. I've googled "successful query letters" and read ones that have managed to get their writers an agent. I have taken that successful query and modeled my own exactly after it.

Nothing. It's as though I'm beating my head against a wall. I think it's because you're supposed to give your writing credentials, what experience do I have? The sad fact of the matter is that I don't have much. I have nine novels. If I tell them that, I feel like they're going to chuck the letter aside and say, "nine novels, no agent/publisher? Obviously SHE sucks."

No, I don't think I do. It's just I can't get an agent to read my novel. You can't get published without an agent. You can't get an agent without being published. Catch-22.

In all honesty, as a writer, I don't want to get published for money. All I really want is someont to read my book, enjoy it and pass the word. I want people to enjoy my fiction, it doesn't have to change the world. It just has to take the readers out of it for a little while.

I used to think I needed an agent to do this. Today, however, a simple suggestion from a coworker has me thinking. I'm thinking trying out my novel in an e-book format might be worth looking into to see if it's for me.

I did look into it. You know what? The Kindle publishing industry is doing well. Apparently, if you publish your books for a low price, people will read it. They might not like it but they WILL read it.

With The Kindle as well as the Barnes and Noble Nook, my book will be displayed in a highly readable format, making it simple to publish to the Kindle as well as the Nook.

Ironically, agents say that if its on the Nook/Kindle/Sony e-reader, it's out of their hands. They can't represent an author who has been published, even if it is on The Nook.

To this, I say, poo-ey. As 'an author', I know whatever I've written might be bad. It might imply that I can't 'get' an agent.

Sadly, that seems to be true. I can't get an agent. They just don't want to take a risk on new, unpublished writers who aren't guaranteed success.

Agents/publishers are shy. They're really looking for that one author who can quickly sell them a half a billions' worth of stuff. They're not looking for a someone who cares enough to publish a few sample chapters. They want someone who can produce.

So, I think this Kindle thing might be worth looking into. Take the power from the agents and try it myself. I think that many of the agents' protestations about e-books are out of fear: If we can publish ourselves, why do we need them?

I don't know what people are reading. I don't know if my work will do well with e-readers. I only hope people are looking for something new and different. I'd like to think that I'm new and different. If not, well, I hope that people try to enjoy my book anyway. It's intended to be funny and quirky. Enough said.

What I do hope is that they enjoy my book, that they enjoy my characters and storyline. I have a feeling they will

In my wildest glass-half-full moments, I would love to publish on the Kindle and find that an agent is waiting there, in the wings, to snap me up.

The realist in me knows I'll be lucky if you make a penny.

Still...I havthink I'll give it a go.

Happy Thursday!