Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh, the Humanity!

I'm blogging at the Girlfriends Book Club today. About anxiety as it relates to writing. And how I'm never anxious. Ever. Nope. Not me. Cool as a cucumber. In Tehran. During a ban on cucumbers.

Stop by and tell me to relax a little.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More Evidence that I am Going Straight to Hell

We recently attended Summerfest, which is the experience for you if you ever wondered what it might have felt like to be separated into panicked, gender-segregated lines potentially leading to cattle cars en route to Treblinka.

Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but that was what I thought every time I found myself at the front of a chaotic line just to enter the damn park, when that line would suddenly “close,” and I’d be directed to join a nearby line "for women only." The women-only lines were 32 miles long and full of sweaty, tattooed strangers. I should emphasize that I was alone, because my husband and friends had left me behind, flagrantly barging past the groping / purse searching Summerfest staff shouting, “Males only! Males only!” in our faces, while I obediently followed directions.

I’ll never do that again.

Once in the park, I tried to relax, but a whirling press of drunks sloshing beer on your shoes and pretending to steal your fried eggplant while you desperately search for a bathroom that doesn’t smell like a dead prostitute doesn’t exactly create an aura of calm.

Beer helps. While in line for one, I spotted the most magnificent, Ode-to-the-Eighties hairdo I’ve seen in years. It was a perfect specimen—nearly every end split, teased and curled into a perfect helmet of wind-blown, feathered frizz. I took a picture of it, which I’d hoped to share with you here, but my dear husband dropped my phone and I lost all of the photos on my SD card.

Not that I’m still peeved about this …

Anyway, the woman’s haircut. It was a thing to behold. Just a glimpse of that hair could set a Poison album loose in your head, float the ghost-scents of Aqua-Net and Exclamation perfume on the breeze.

“Who wears their hair like that anymore?” I asked J, amazed.

“People who like to bowl,” he answered.

It was the kind of response that reminded me why I still loved him, despite his dropping my camera and accidentally erasing dozens of adorable photos of my nieces and nephew.

In other news, the first 100 pages of my new novel have been submitted to my editor. My agent loved it, but this doesn’t mean it’s “in the bag,” because my editor can still decide it’s worse than a trip to Summerfest and take a big fat pass. I’m hoping this one’s the charm, though. It’s got a tranny in it, for God’s sake.

And if you’re looking for a fun, breezy page-turner to read on your Kindle at the beach, check out my friend Malena Lott’s e-novella Life's a Beach. I didn’t read it at the beach, but it made the time waiting for my oil change and tire rotation that much more enjoyable. Malena’s a master of fun plot twists, and it's a steal at just $2.99.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Garden Mania

Summer is in full-swing now, and the yard is popping. I have been out at night, wearing a headlamp as if I'm going to do a little coal mining in my front lawn, to battle earwigs and prove to my neighbors once and for all that I am slightly insane when it comes to my garden. More specifically, when it comes to preventing the zinnias and sunflowers I started by seed back in early April from being completely skeletonized by a swarm of disgusting brown bugs with PINCERS. (Yeah, I had to look up how to spell that. It looks weird, doesn't it?)

So let me take you on a tour of the garden. First we have little green clusters of cherry tomatoes. I am counting the days until I can harvest these babies, most of which are destined for slow-roasting and freezing so I can taste some sunshine in January.

Here we have the blossom of a Delicata squash plant. If you haven't tried Delicata squash, you must--it tastes a bit like corn on the cob: sweet, fragrant, creamy, and perfect with sage, brown sugar, and butter.

I don't know what the hell is going on in the next photo other than it's completely out of control. I have to lift this shit up with a heavy-duty stick so my husband can mow the 0.5 inches of lawn you see...when he gets to this section he calls, "Stick girl!" and I come running. I think next year I'm ripping up the lawn and replacing it with a creeping groundcover. I retire the stick and the jungle wins.

Below are the two hanging baskets that have been absolutely infested with aphids. I have hosed them off, sprayed them with clove and garlic oil, and hand-squished aphids until my fingers were sticky. I am currently awaiting shipment of a magical product called "Aphid Chaser," which consists of pheromone-treated rubber disks that attach to the plant and send an alarm message that scares the aphids enough that they stop eating and move on. Makes me wish someone would invent "Nacho Chaser," which I could snap onto my wrists like little bracelets so I'd be alarmed into putting the chips down.

Also, in case you think this sounds like magical nonsense, I used them last year and THEY WORKED.

The basil below will be turned into a delightful pesto by next week, after I buy a new food processor because my last one crapped out on me. It's hard to tell in this photo, but the basil bush is two and a half feet tall.

My first Mexican sunflower bloom! In another month this plant will be two feet taller, bushier, and covered in dark orange daisies. It's a bona-fide butterfly magnet.

And last but not least, one of the bunnies from the explosion of rabbits inhabiting my yard. One of them is so small he could fit in the palm of my hand. That little guy lives under my daylilies, and he's become quite fond of my ornamental peppers. I've lost a few plants to these adorable buns, but I can't stay mad at them for long. It's like the universe is laughing at me for the $100 baby bunny I drove to the rehabber two summers ago.

To protect my perennials, I have been sprinkling a disgusting product called "Rabbit Scram" around the perimeter of my beds. This product is made of blood meal, pepper, and ground, dehydrated meat. The last time I sprinkled it some poofed up and I accidentally inhaled it. I have been a vegetarian for nearly ten years, and all it takes is a few adorable but ravenous rabbits threatening my garden and there you have it. I'm snorting meat dust.

I'll have to do some before-and after photos in the next post, because I am completely amazed at the progress things have made in just three weeks. Until then, I'm revising my novel proposal. I hope to ship it off to my agent soon...fingers, toes, and eyes crossed!