Morbid conversation with the husband

_mg_6295Me: When you die, do you want to be cremated or buried?

JD: Cremated. 

Me: And what am I supposed to do, carry you around in an urn?

JD: No, spread my ashes out somewhere cool..like the Okefenokee.

Me: Uh, that doesn’t sound like a very nice place for a honeymoon.

 

Do you think he’s laughing or grimacing in pain?


On second thought…

As I was laying in my hotel bed this weekend, freaked out about my upcoming meeting with an agent and with 42 plot ideas running through my head, a sudden, unrelated thought surfaced –

I AM POISONING MY FAMILY. 

All the couponing I’ve been doing lately has saved me tons of money – tons of money on processed JUNK we shouldn’t be eating. What was I thinking??

THIS is what I bought today.

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Now doesn’t that look healthy? Or this –

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I mean, it was Hand Picked With CARE! Isn’t that sweet? Way better than a box of processed poison. Soooo, I’ve decided to give away all the crappy food in my freezer.

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This is my husband with a load to take to my brother’s house. I have no problem poisoning my brother, he’s the favorite.

JD is THRILLED. First I go coupon crazy and we have to have buy a freezer for our 15 boxes of pizza, 16 tubs of butter, and 12 pints of free, Starbucks ice-cream. NOW we give it all away and buy nothing but non-processed, healthy food. Isn’t he lucky? Living with me must be  a dream come true.

Editors and Authors and Agents, Oh MY!

I’d like to introduce you to my favorite new person – Katie Sulkowski.

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She’s an agent with Creative Trust in Nashville. Doesn’t she look smart? I’d describe her as HIGHLY intelligent, with excellent taste and a deep appreciation for great writing. I spoke with her for all of 15 minutes, but it was obvious. She was the person chosen to evaluate my 1st chapter. Guess how she liked it?

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Yeah, that’s right- I got a “Great”, a “Ha-Ha” and a smiley face all in one margin! She also requested the full manuscript. I think I love her.

Afterwards, I was a little crazy. Here’s me, trying to look sane.

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Uh…I look normal, right? Sane people often go into the bathroom and take self-portraits. It wasn’t like I was taking pictures of OTHER people in the bathroom. That would be creepy.

My roomie, Deborah Osgood got a great review also. Well, if you consider having an agent tell you that you write beautifully and that she wanted to recommend you for an award, a great review. Cay, “that’s-not-a-typo” Drew WOULD have gotten a good review, if she’d submitted anything. Next year I fully expect her to win big.

Have you heard of Jamie Miles or Deborah Mantella? Well, you will. Jamie writes a column every week for the newspaper in Madison.  It’s inspirational humor from a Main Street, USA point of view.   Deborah won an award at the conference last year. She gave me her 3 sentence pitch for her novel and it was GREAT. I liked them so much. Which is saying a lot since they were both really, really, good and beautiful, the type of people  I usually try to avoid.

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You know what this is? No, it’s NOT an out-of-focus photo of Deborah. It’s a photo where I PRETEND to take a photo of Deborah, so I can show you how close I was sitting to the woman on the right side of the frame. That’s an editor from RANDOM HOUSE. One that is accepting submissions! I was elbow to elbow with her, close enough to TOUCH. She was very nice, but not real talkative.

_mg_26953I’m not sure why.

The Writer’s Life

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This blog post is brought to you courtesy of Advil. Thank you, Lord for Advil. Thank you very, very MUCH.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, hanging out in a college town with a bunch of authors, editors and agents is way cool. We do fun, creative exercises.

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I read one of my creative endeavors out loud and a PUBLISHED author, who should KNOW, told me I did very well. Did I mention she should KNOW?

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This is me at the reception making myself available for autographs. People were a little timid. It’s understandable.

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This is me, NOT drinking. Well, technically I am, but it’s just cranberry and sprite. I thought I’d point that out since my posts lately have involved cocktail recipes and bacon flavored vodka.

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See the woman in the brown dress? I’m stalking her.

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Why? Because she’s the woman that evaluated my manuscript. Why isn’t she looking for ME? Shouldn’t she try to sign me before someone else steals me away? What, she’s NOT the evaluator? She’s just another author at the conference? Well that explains it. Never mind.

_mg_2689This is Brandi Bowles. She’s a agent from New York. She looks this way because Deborah just asked if she could submit a story to her. She said yes, so I took the picture as evidence.

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This is Brandi after I said, “you look scared, and she looks crazy.”

If one of the goals of this conference is to be remembered, I’d say we’re a shoo-in.

Out of town blogging

Hello, this is my new friend Kay._mg_2657

I’ve known Kay for about 4 hours, but I’m crazy about her. She’s funny, and smart, holy and irreverent all at the same time.

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I met her through my friend Deborah. Deborah has been my friend for almost TWENTY YEARS. She’s a VERY successful tax accountant, and  writes beautifully. That is her true passion and she is AWESOME at it. Nobody can write a metaphor like Deborah. Her writing is like a deep dip in a cool pool. Okay, I suck at metaphors. She’d never write anything that lame.

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I have no idea why she hangs out with me. But we’ve laughed ourselves silly the last few hours.

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We’re in Athens, for a writer’s conference, where we’re officially the oldest people in town. But we’re still cool. People of all ages want to hang with us.

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Well, a few are intimated by our AWESOMENESS, but we understand. We really are, just that cool.

Procrastination

This is what running around town for a week and NOT filing your coupons looks like –

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This is what shopping, with a great coupon for free milk, on the last day before the sale ends looks like – 

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Guess I’m not the only person that figured out that butter is on sale, buy one get one free. And that there’s a coupon to make the butter even CHEAPER. And  that when you BUY the butter, there’s a coupon for FREE milk.

Good thing I live in a large metropolitan area. I finally found a stock person willing to bring out more milk at my third store.

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Now if I could just find a use for 16 tubs of butter.

Midday update just to mess with you

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Years ago I was on a photo shoot with my friend Rob Nelson. He was shooting for the Star or one of those magazines. Anyway, the subject was this pitiful woman who’d had twins, 2 MONTHS apart. She didn’t know the father, lived in a trailer full of fleas, had hairy legs and was wearing this pathetic pink tank top and a BLACK BRA. I just remember being so shocked at her clothing choice.  Oh, and this is me standing in the street in front of my house, in full view of the neighbors.

Only I’m wearing pj bottoms to cover MY legs.

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Dad is the only one that’s managed to get out of his pj’s so far. Hey, it’s summer, what do you want?

Two percent

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The Moonpie had an eye exam today. Isn’t she cute? Do you think she gets tired of being photographed all of the time?

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Do you think doctors and teachers and anyone else that comes in random contact with her get tired of being photographed all of the time? This particular doctor told us she has astigmatism in her left eye. “Happens all of the time,” he says. “Bring a hundred kids in here, and two of them will have it.”

Wow. How does he keep up?

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So now we’re temporarily the parents of a pirate. She has to patch her good eye for a few weeks to build up the strength of the other one. We had ice-cream while we discussed it. Pirates love ice-cream.

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And High School Musical glasses. It’s what all the fashionable pirates are wearing.

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2 out of 100. We always knew she was special. Arrr!

Moron Test Kitchen – Broccoli Salad

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When I got engaged, my mother-in-law and her bridge friends hosted a shower for me. The ladies brought their favorite recipes  and put them together in this book. It was a very sweet gesture, assuming the guest of honor is remotely comfortable in the kitchen. Unfortunately, in almost 13 years, I’ve only cooked one – an easy breakfast casserole that my mother-in-law contributed. Note the word “easy.” 

This is an example of what they brought –

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If the first instruction is “Clean Squid”, you can pretty much rest assured I’m not cooking it. It’s a testament to my mother-in-law that she didn’t rat me out for the shower. Had she TOLD them the truth about me, I’m guessing the recipes would have gone something like this:

Take 2 slices of bread. Put jelly on one side. Put peanut butter on the other. Put the slices together. NO, not the two empty sides, the ones with the jelly and peanut butter. Geesh.

Anyway, I chose this recipe –

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Because it was short. Thank you Barbara, whoever you are.

So, we need 4 cups of broccoli.

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raisinsNext add 1/4 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of onion.

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1 cup of Mayo. Yeah, yeah, I went with the lite version. Use the real stuff if it offends you, but I want to cut calories anywhere I can.

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1/4 cup of sugar. What can I say? I’m training for a triathlon! I used a little less than 1/4 cup to allow for the Splenda.

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2 T of vinegar. I just took a chance that T means tablespoon, but who knows? It could be anything from a tad to a ton. Write your recipes clearly, people! You can’t tell that this is vinegar from the photo. It could be water for all you know. Or vodka. You have your way, I have mine.

Cook 8 strips of bacon and crumple. I don’t have pictures of this step because I got distracted by the internet and JD cooked them. Which is why there are also no photos of a grease fire.

Now the recipe says combine. A more experienced chef might have combined the mayo, sugar and vinegar together FIRST, then poured it over the broccoli. I didn’t realize that until I was in the middle of stirring, and trying to get the mayo and sugar to coat the broccoli evenly. Do you see how writing clear instructions would help?

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Moron Test Grade – A. Despite my substitutions, this turned out great. In a word -BACON. If I only made recipes where bacon was the main ingredient, there might not be a need for Moron Test Kitchen.

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I think I’m on to something.