Happy New Year

Countdown to the awesomeness that 2010 promises to be...

T-minus 1 hour 44 minutes and counting.

Christmas At My Parents: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

the Good:
-Napping is Encouraged
-Eating is Mandatory
-Someone else changing 90% of the Pea's plentiful poopy pants
-Working is Verboeten

the Bad:
-Sharing a bedroom with the Pea
-And a double-sized bed with Hubbykins
-And a bathroom with seven other people

the Ugly:
[conversation with my father]
me:  Do you want my eggnog?
father: Nope.
me:  It makes my tongue feel fuzzy.
father:  Hmmm.
me:  Maybe I put too much whiskey in.  I've never had eggnog with whiskey in it.
father:  What are you talking about?  We don't have any whiskey.
me:  It's in the cupboard over your stove.
father:  That's tequila.
me:  oh.

As you can tell, I'm not the biggest drinker.

But a Merry Christmas was had by all!

Up & Running

Or at least traipsing.  Like me, Ellen doesn't run.

Follower contest to follow.  Sorry, male readers, I'm going to be getting my girly on.

Merry Christmas

Hope your day has been filled with peace, joy, and much "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake.  Oh, wait, that's probably just at my Mom and Dad's house.  I still hope yours was great!

Back to Business


So I read this Michael Hyatt post and realized I'm guilty of every single one of these mistakes.

Fear not...the Best of the Worst shall return!  But I thought it prudent to give a shout-out to something literary-related in the interim.  I thought a follow-up to Ellen's guest post would be fitting...a book recommendation. 

Haven't done one of these yet, and there's a reason.  I am a people-pleaser, and if you, reader, are not pleased with my selection, I would feel horrible.  Here's the lovely thing about this recommendation, though:  I dare you not to like it.  Crazy Hair.  It's a charming, lyrical picture book from Neil Gaiman with mesmerizing (that's right...I said mesmerizing) illustrations by Dave McKean. 

And, bonus, the next time you have a bad hair day, you can look in the mirror and say, "Crazy hair?  Oh me, oh my!  Crazy hair?  I thought I'd die," rather than call your Hubbykins wailing.  Not that I've ever done that.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes....

It's official Kissing Day Blogfest.  I was actually not aware of this until I opened Google Reader this morning, and it was like a Harlequin novel had exploded in there (in a good way).

Confession:  I am horrible at writing kissing scenes.  My NaNo kissing scenes were the equivalent of a chin bump and too much tongue.  I haven't worked up the nerve to attack the kiss in my WIP.

So here's a bit of off-the-top-of-my-head memoir (I'm feeling sentimental):

I'm so thankful that I didn't listen to the attachment parenting women who said, "Don't let the nurses wipe off the goop before they hand him to you!  The goop helps him bond to you."  Of course, at the time, all I could think was, "Is the shaking normal?  They didn't mention the shaking in the prepared childbirth course.  Or did they?"

And then, there he was.

At which point, all I could focus on was, "Must. Not. Drop. Baby."  Followed quickly by, "So thankful I let them wipe him off."

The first thing that struck me about him was the perfection of his ears.  Like little squished and shriveled apricots, but perfect, with tiny tufts of fuzz on the top.  Everything was tiny.

Then, I kissed him on the top of that tiny head.  On the spot I recognized immediately as the one I'd been waiting my whole life to kiss.  Hoping for.  Praying for.  The spot that God designed for my smooch.

And I realized for the first time I was truly a Mom.  Because I would have kissed it even if he was goopy.

And the Mystery Guest Blogger Is...

...my older sister Ellen.

Some of you may remember her from her Reign of Ellen days.  Well, she's bringing back the blog, bigger and better than ever (but it's not ready for prime time yet).  Here's a little taste, though, and I'll keep you updated when it's live.  [spoiler alert:  I'm planning my first giveaway contest to celebrate her debut...or return, I guess.  And it's going to be legen-...wait for it]

The Worst Hair Trends of the Decade
By Mystery Guest Blogger Ellen

I will begin this essay with the admission that my qualifications to write on this particular subject are suspect, considering that my hair for the past decade has consisted of two "styles": short and brown... and longer and brown.  I guess I had bangs for awhile.  Bangs are a style, right?

I am also of the belief that the pinnacle of female hair beauty was achieved with the early '90's long, romantic curly hair of Julia Ormond (the chick from "Legends of the Fall"), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine from "Seinfeld") and Andie McDowell ("Groundhogs Day", "Four Weddings and A Funeral.")  I rocked that hair trend, and honestly haven't been impressed with much since the Rachel ruined everything we curly-haired had fought so hard to achieve. 

But perhaps those reasons make me the perfect person to review this decade.  I am unaffected by the many hair trends that attempt to pummel me everyday.  Chi hair straightener?  $50 Designer Pomade?  Ha!  I scoff at you.  Don't you know what a lazy stay-at-home-mother you are trying to entice?  You shall not have me.

This past decade (which I will hereafter refer to as This Past Decade, since this decade never really got a good name going... "the Zeros"?) has produced some unfortunate hair trends, all of which combined to culminate in the Ultimate Worst Hair Style of the Decade (but I am getting ahead of myself... I'll get to that rant soon enough.)  Without further ado, I present to you...

Bad Hair Trend #1:

The Skunk

Stripey, skunk hair coloring.  Often sported by sorority coeds, but eventually stretching into the desperately-trying-to-hold-on-to-their-hipness mom crowd.  Looks cool on one out of 3,000 women.  The other 2,999 look like their hairdresser got drunk at the proverbial foil wheel.

Bad Hair Trend #2:

Diiiiirty Hair

Christina used a bit of the skunk, but also added her own unwashed spin.  Thankfully, the mom crowd didn't seem to embrace the Skanky Skunk.

Bad Hair Trend #3:


By the time that the Emo trend hit about four years ago, cranky American youth had finally learned how to use their hair straightener without burning themselves, as well as how to get a good purple skunk going on their hair.  The thing about Emo hairstyles, though, is that, although they are definitely interesting to look at... they are unflattering to all heads, across the board.  Boys come out looking girlie instead of brooding (which, let's be honest, is the goal, correct?) and girls come out looking like boys.  Who look like girls.  But not in a good way. 

I know that emo is just the new grunge, but at least with grunge, we gals got to grow our hair out and wear baby doll dresses and Mary Jane Doc Martins.  These silly Emo kids.  Oh well.  They'll be happy little soccer moms with skunk hair before they know it.

Bad Hair Trend #3.5:

Christian Siriano

I actually think that Project Runway's Christian Siriano is a subgroup in the Emo category.   Now, don't get me wrong.  I loves me some Christian Siriano.  But I loves him despite his hair.   Christian has enough sass to relatively pull off this Emo-inspired weed-eater hair cut, but if anyone else tried it, they would look like a fierce hot tranny mess.  It's just an ugly hairdo. 

and finally... the hairdo which absorbed all of The Past Decade's hideous trends and plopped it all on one obnoxious, narcissistic head...

The Ultimate Bad Hair Trend of the Past Decade:

The Kate Gosselin

Oh my.  So so much badness going on here.  The skunk coloring.  Goo-covered spikes up the back.  Flattened bangs that wrap around half the head.  At least the traditional mullet simply combines two styles ("Business in the front, party in the back.")  The Kate had about seven ("Manipulative famemonger in front, abusive wife in the back, controlling nag thrown in on the sides"?)

The most frustrating thing was that the style just wouldn't go away.  Nearly everywhere I went, I was greeted by Kate copycat hair on poor unsuspecting women.  As I looked at them, I wanted to scream into the night, "Have I gone MAD?!  Don't any of these women realize how ridiculous they look?  How much money they are spending a month on upkeep and trims and goo?  Have they been brainwashed?!!" 

It's one thing to see funny little teenagers running around with their spiky Emo hipster mullets.  They are young and having fun and don't know any better.  But the Kate is an entirely different monster.   Women are ASKING to have their hair look like this, and it will take years to grow it out.  They are going to be spending their children's college funds to keep up with this hair disaster, just so they can look like Kate Gosselin at P.T.A. committees and consignment sales. 

I implore all of you... as This Past Decade draws to a close... say no to the Kate Gosselin.  Let The Next Decade ("The Teens?") be a return to hair sanity. 

Bring back the Elaine.


Coming Soon...Mystery Guest Blogger

So I have a guest blogger lined up that I'm kind of excited about.  She'll be sharing some of her own Best of the Worst picks and debuting her revamped, redesigned, back-from-hiatus blog.

Best of the Worst Part 2: Spiraling Celebrities

You know of whom I speak.  All those celebutantes that we watched as they circled the drain, shaking our collective heads in sadness and shock.  Well, maybe not so much shock as mild surprise at the timing.

And there are so many to choose from:

Tiger Woods.  This one's so fresh, it may end up on the next decade's list as well.

Kanye West.  I believe it was Katy Perry who described the VMA Taylor Swift debacle as like stomping on a kitten.  Or a fairy.  Does anyone else think she looks exactly as they envisioned a fairy looking?

Whitney Houston.  Crack is whack, Whitney.  It is.

Joaquin Phoenix.  I'm actually a little sad about this one and don't really want to talk about it. (And, apparently, neither does he.)

Britney Spears.  Oh, Britney.  But she gets points returned for pulling it together in the last year or so.  And her little sister's laid so low since having a baby that I'm not even officially going to put Jamie Lynn on my list.

Lindsay Lohan (okay, pretty much anyone with the last name of Lohan).  And could I just add, if I ever have a TMZ page devoted to just me, it's time to circle the wagons, people.

Oh, oh, I almost forgot Christian Bale.

But I'm going to have to reserve the number one spot for...

Mel Gibson

Because let's face it, how many other celebs can you think of who went from winning Oscars to drunken hate mongering in a span of ten short years?

Anyone...anyone?  Didn't think so.

I know I missed so very many.  What are your favorite By the Heiny of Thor, Can This Celebrity Tailspin Any Faster moments?

Best of the Worst: Part 1...Fashion Trends

A new decade is upon us.  Nathan Bransford has posted his favorite books of the aughts over on his blog.  And this got me to thinking about the decade.  A lot has happened.

So from now until New Year's, I will explore the Best of the Worst.  Topic one:  Fashion Trends!

Oh, there are so many to choose from.

Uggs.  Small dogs.  Giant sunglasses.  Maxi dresses.  Crocs. I secretly heart them.  Leggings (oh, the leggings).

And the winner is...

The metrosexual man scarf.

So sorry if I've offended any of my scarf-lovin' male readers.

What about you, readers?  What tops your Who Would Wear That?? list for the decade?

A Few Non-Writing Related Whatnots

Okay, I've had a week off of writing (that's technically not true.  I've been revising, tweaking, and otherwise picking a picture book manuscript to shreds before I send it off on a conference sub).  Let me rephrase.  I've had a week off from intense novel writing.  Here's what I've been doing instead:

1!  Christmas decorating.  I don't like loathe putting up the Christmas tree (I know, I know, bah humbug to you, too), but I lurvvvv Christmas decorations.  Paradox?  Not really.  My lazy bone just won out this year.  Solution?  Wrapping the banister in garland and hanging some ornaments from it.  Estimated time from start to finish:  27 minutes.  I also made this adorable piece of awesomeness (and a pink one for my niece):

2!  Reading.

3!  Watching "John Adams" on DVD.  It's a fascinating HBO miniseries and worth the rent if you, like me, don't have cable.

4!  Cooking (okay, this is a bit of a stretch, but I did discover this yummy recipe for cheating clam chowder).

5!  Sleeping.

Also, a belated shout-out to everyone who completed Picture Book Idea Month.  Go, you!

NaNo Nuggets

-Google Reader is the natural enemy of productivity, yet I love it so.  Solution?  "Mark All As Read" at least thrice a day.  Reader takeaway?  Give your blog posts interesting titles if you want to draw me in.

-NaNoWriMo makes for a good practice novel.  (I bristled at this concept in the past, but I can see its value now.)

-You have to LOVE your characters to write 50K words about them.  Or just be extremely stubborn.

-NaNoWriMo is the natural enemy of eating healthy.  I do not want to discuss how many white fudge covered Oreos I ate last month.  Answer?  Too many.

-It was surprisingly easy to maintain some semblance of balance in my life over the month.  I threshed out the chaff (long blog posts...both reading and writing them, piddling around, sleeping) and kept the good stuff (hanging out with Hubbykins, playing with Pea, time with friends).  Cleaning flew out the window, but I'm still deciding if that is wheat or chaff.

-I'm not one of those writers who can leave misspelled words, blatantly poor grammar, and typos in their wake.  I just can't.

-I'm also not one of those writers who can write without an outline.

-In any given project, the temptation to cheat on your WIP will arise.  Fight this urge.  Fight it!

-I am a YA writer at heart.  (Not surprising, as I am secretly a 14 year-old girl)

Any other recovering NaNoers out there?