Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wine a Bit. You'll Feel Better.

The RemembeRED memoir prompt at Write on Edge this week is to write about wine, coffee, or chocolate.

One of the best vacations my husband and I have ever taken was in the wine country. Are you surprised? I didn’t think so.

We talk about it all the time like it is part of an era gone by. Vacations are a whole lot different nowadays with a child.

We had been to Sonoma before this trip. This particular trip was more off-the-beaten-path, north of Sonoma/Napa, north of Santa Rosa. We were in the Dry Creek and Russian River Valley around Healdsburg and Windsor. We stayed an entire week at a small resort and mostly did biking tours of the surrounding wineries. (It helps that I have experience with biking and drinking as I explained here.)

Although I would never call myself an athletic-type, I can kick ass physically sometimes. I just typically keep my prowess on the down low.

The hazy memories I can recollect include the fact that a majority of the pourers at the wineries were intoxicated at some level. Rarely, did we pay for a tasting, and the pours were typically generous.

The most memorable winery was Christopher Creek. We happened upon it by accident down a gravel road. The pourer was a warm, friendly man with a generous spirit. The grounds were simple, but the views amazing, so we bought a bottle and picnicked there.

Armida was interesting as well. The vineyard dog greeted us at the entrance and walked us up to the tasting room. Once inside, he passed out at our feet. The pourer inside was blasting Pearl Jam and seemed to be quite intoxicated. He sold us on a special vintage called “Poizin” – a Zinfandel.

We biked over this bridge a few times on our journeys over the Russian River.

We took two days off from biking while we were there to enjoy the resort pool. So, if we were not drinking and biking, we were drinking and swimming.

We had no child at the time. We would roll up to the pool with our cooler and plastic cups. When laying in the sun, I listened to my iPod. At the time, I listened a lot to Gorillaz, specifically Clint Eastwood:

"I ain't happy but, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag
I'm useless, but not for long
The future is coming on...

Finally someone let me out of my cage!
Now, time for me is nothing 'cause I'm counting no age."

I could barely hear Richard laughing at me as I sang and rapped along to the tune no one could hear but me.

I am now totally lost in reverie, hoping for warmer weather and moments of lying like broccoli with ENTIRE VINEYARDS of wine nearby. Sigh. Summer?? Vacation?? I need you now…

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I've been tagged by Kara at Nest Candy for 11 Random Things!

I'm a playful type, and I don't mind the occasional tag, so here goes.

Here's how it works:

-Post these rules
-Post 11 random things about yourself
-Answer the questions set for you in their post.
-Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
-Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.

My 11 Random Things:
1. I just updated my "Best of" page up above there. Go ahead. Check out some of the best of Pampers and Pinot!

2. I really like cheese.

3. I long for the ocean.

4. My least favorite time of day is 3-5 pm. Every day, I'd prefer to just skip it and get right to dinner.

5. I don't really have a sweet tooth. I did when I was pregnant.

6. I'm going to go to Target later to get some things and stuff.

7. I love listening to my music in the car really really loud. I have a problem with blowing out speakers. I'm totally that lady rolling up to the grocery store blasting my def tunes.

8. I have really vivid dreams every night. I have a few different homes around the world that I revisit in my dreams here and there. I try to play games with my dreams and think about what I want to dream about before I go to bed, and then I see if I dream about it. Most of the time I do. Sometimes I don't.

9. I'm afraid of the novel I'm writing. It's very ambitious. I don't know if I have it in me. But, I actually take that as a good sign that I'm on the right track.

10. My favorite game on my smart phone is Ant Smashers. I find it very satisfying.

11. I love to laugh, and I love trying to find the humor in almost everything.

My answers to Kara's questions:
1. If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

I cannot decide between two things.

I would want to go back to a day with my grandma when I was young. We had been at the beach all day. After getting clean in the shower and having that sun-kissed, tired feeling, I would enjoy the smell of her home and the fresh air outside. She had big bird cages, a tree swing, a pool, and strawberry plants. I would curl up with her and enjoy just being with her.

Another time would be a weekend I lived in Iowa on a not-too-hot summer evening. My husband and I lived in the country. We would have friends come over, have a bonfire, watch the lightning bugs (man, I miss lightning bugs), and then laze about together the rest of the weekend. I would take long walks by myself down to Wolf Creek on a gravel road.

How many books do you think you have read (just for fun)?

There is absolutely no way I could determine a guess - thousands upon thousands!!! I have always been a big reader from an early age and am NEVER not in the middle of a book.

Are you a Mac or PC person?

PC, but it is not something I am passionate about. I don't really care. Just give me something to use, and I'll freaking use it.

Have you ever ridden a train?


Dark or milk chocolate?

Milk, I guess. Not really a chocolate crazy person. I know, I know, I'm a freak.

Running - Love it? or Hate it?

I WISH I could. Honestly. I enjoy exercising and do so regularly, but whenever I try to run, I have horrible, splitting pain throughout my calves. The idea of it appeals to me, but I stick to walking, dancing, strength training and Jillian Michael's type stuff.

What three foods could you never give up?

Cheese, bread products, and wine. Absolutely, wine is a food group. In my world.

What's a food you've never tried but would like to?

I'm adventurous with food and can't likely think of anything that I haven't tried that I would want to try. I was most disappointed by oysters. Thought I would like that, but just remembering the experience makes me want to throw up.

What length of socks do you prefer?

Ankle socks for working out; otherwise, I like socks up to my knees. So comfortable. But, I would NEVER wear them like that with exposed legs. There's a trend I do not like.

What was your favorite class in Jr. High or High School?

Nerd alert! Honors English classes. Always my fave.

Do you know a foreign language?

Double nerd alert! I took Japanese in high school because I was always up for a challenge and really enjoyed it! Of course, I don't remember much of it now, only a little.

My questions for the next group:

What do you think is the funniest movie of all time?
What is your most frequent, daily worry?
Best travel destination?
Name one big adventure you would like to still accomplish.
What is your favorite weekend activity?
What could be a song on the soundtrack of your life?
When do you feel most energetic?
What book are you currently reading?
What would be your luxury item if you went on Survivor?
Biggest turn on in the opposite sex?
Biggest turn off in the opposite sex?

Tag, you're it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

I am linking up with Write on Edge for the Red Writing Hood prompt this week. The focus is on conflict, inspired by this quote:

"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence."
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

I am bravely sharing an excerpt from my novel. You can read more about Kate and Marisa here, here, and here.


Kate locked eyes with one of the men on the couch. Sure enough, he motioned for her to come over. Coke was lined up on the table. She kneeled at the coffee table, took a straw, and snorted a line. She sat back to drink, to wash the drug down her throat. She lit a cigarette because it was a drug’s best companion. Now she just wanted to get the hell out of there.

She did not know these men. She did not need to know these men. She hated them. They were friends of her boss. Her boss, who was in the other room with Marisa. Her boss was a disgusting man. He was short and fat with thinning dark hair. He was mean. The only time she ever heard him was when he was yelling at the girls. “Get on the floor, you lazy bitches! Let’s go!” Otherwise, he stood in the corners and watched. Sometimes he spoke with other men.

Kate and Marisa did their motherfucking jobs and hoped to have no interaction with the man.

Which was why Kate could not understand, even through the haze of her thoughts, why Marisa went to a bedroom with him. Probably, fear took Marisa to the bedroom with him, and fear kept Kate right where she was.

She dared not ask any questions and instead watched the smoke swirl through the fluorescent lights of the kitchen. The music was loud, drowning out the conversation of the men around her. She never seemed privy to the conversation of men around her.

Kate started to hear sounds coming from the hallway. Her body instantly perked up, on alert.

“Get the fuck out of here! You fucking slut!”

Kate licked her finger, reached over and dipped into the coke on the table, sucked it off and rubbed her gums in a split second. She jumped up, ready to go. Before she could see anything, she heard scuffling in the hallway, then a thud. Kate rushed over and saw Marisa face down on the carpet, but she was quickly getting herself up.

Without saying a word, Marisa looked up at Kate with a face that said, Let’s get the fuck out of here. Her lip was bleeding.

Down the hall, Kate could only see the shadow of him. “You’re fucking fired! I never want to see your skinny ass again!”

Without ever saying a word, they both walked out of the house. On their way through the kitchen, Marisa grabbed the half empty bottle of whiskey.

Kate never asked what happened in that bedroom. From the look on Marisa’s face, the topic was off-limits. She only drove them away as swiftly as she could, away from a situation that could have been a whole hell of a lot worse.

(I deeply apologize for going over the word limit for the prompt this week.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

You Gotta Laugh

Let's laugh! It's always a good time.

I'm linking up with Kristi at Live and Love Out Loud for Wordless Wednesday!

Live and Love...Out Loud

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Who Do You Love, Baby?

This week's Write on Edge Red Writing Hood prompt is to tell a story with this picture as a prompt:

I am revisiting my fictional character, Kate and Marisa. You can read more about them here and here.


“Yes, I absolutely want real mayonnaise. It wouldn’t be a BLT without it,” Kate said.

“Just checking,” the waitress said, giving a smile and collecting the menus off the table.

“Mayonnaise is gross,” said Marisa, giving Kate a face.

“I was waiting for you to say that,” Kate said. “The fact you don’t eat mayonnaise or bacon is downright prissy and stuck-up.”

“No, it’s healthy. And you’re a bitch.”

“Smoke much?” Kate asked Marisa.

“Bitch,” answered Marisa.

“Well, maybe I’ll feel a little better once I hear from fuck face.”

“I always know you’re really into someone when you use terms of endearments like ‘fuck face,’” Marisa said. “Is he the reason we’re here anyway, stuffing ourselves with fried food and Long Island Ice Teas?”

“You can thank him later,” Kate said.

“I thought so.” Marisa looked at her friend for a moment, considering how to choose her words. “Kate, when are you going to figure out that this guy really is a…fuck face and move on? I want Kate back! You know, the free spirited girl who doesn’t care what anybody thinks of her, much less a total idiot who can’t see the fucking hot, amazing woman in front of him.”

Kate only stared blankly back at Marisa.

“I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. Right now, I only love mayonnaise. And bacon,” Kate said.

Marisa sighed. “I’m gonna go smoke a cigarette.”

Kate took the opportunity to text Fuck Face.

Hey, Marisa’s talking bad about you. Like you always say she does. I think I agree with her. Fuck off.

The waitress approached the table. “Your food is almost ready. Do you need anything while you wait?”

“Yes, we’ll take another round, thanks.”

Kate went outside to share the cigarette with Marisa.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Highlights and Lowlights

Who loves to go get their hair done?

This girl does!

With that theme in mind, here are some "highlights" and "low lights" from the last few days.


-Made it to LEVEL 3 of Jillian Michaels on Saturday, and I didn't die!

-Went on a date night. (Gasp! Date night hasn't occurred since October or November. We couldn't remember!)

-Went to one of our favorite restaurants for date night.

Blue Star, Colorado Springs, photo from flickr.com

-Danced, danced, danced the night away to one of my favorite singers/bands. Once the music started, I never stopped. It was glorious. When it was over, I went upstage and hugged the singer. I love him so much.

Arch Hooks
He said, "Thanks for coming tonight! You really brought a lot of energy!" (Yes, we'll call it "energy." Not Sprocket lunacy.)

-Got to go to my boy's Valentine's party at preschool today. Watching your kid on stage and with his preschool buddies never gets old!


-Level 3 Jillian Michaels + 3 hours of nonstop dancing = very sore muscles. Ack, my back!

-Wine at dinner + a martini after-dinner drink + a few cranberry vodkas at the bar =
a "slight" hangover the next day.

-Feel like I'm so behind on blogging (and, always, writing), so hope you enjoyed this quick attempt at a post.

By the way, Parker loves hockey.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Crude Humor and Judging Other Parents

I got to watch a movie – a real rated-R adult movie with no animation or singing by chipmunks! I had to watch said movie in three parts.

First during naptime, but then it was interrupted half-way through when my son was discovered awake, wandering the upstairs.

Then, I watched a little of it after work in my office because I refuse to return it to the damn Redbox unwatched. This is the second time I have rented this particular movie from a Redbox. The first time, I never got to see any of it before I returned it.

Renting a movie is a crap shoot. In our house, you never know if you’re going to get to watch it. I finally finished the movie while watching on my laptop at home with ear buds in my ears. But, hot damn, I finished it!

It was The Change-Up, and it was insanely, inappropriately hilarious! Have you seen it? Do you love crude humor as much as I do?

I was extremely grateful for all of the true and hearty LOLs it gave me.

There is this one line about parenting from the movie, and it goes something like this:

“If your children are ever misbehaving, they must be tired or hungry. If other people’s children are misbehaving, it’s because of negligent parenting or an inherent character flaw in the child.”

Ha! Isn’t it true how people tend to jump to those kind of judgments when it is not their own children? Of course, I find myself to be a highly-evolved and open-minded person and always try to reserve judgment in these cases – “Oh, I just feel sorry for the mom…” But, even I can admit that these thoughts have flashed in my mind sometimes.

What do you think of the quote from the movie? How often are you able to watch movies? Is it a god-forsaken miracle if you can ever watch an adult movie in one sitting and without falling asleep?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I'm Easy Like Sunday Morning

I am so very grateful for the positive reactions to my novel excerpt last week. Glen, in particular, from Glen's Life wrote a most heartfelt comment, and I cannot tell you how much it meant to me! Here is what he said:

"Nearly three years of blogging, it has become clear to me that any idiot can blog.

Anyone can say - 'Hey guess what my kids today?'

Within that there is never any real obvious link between writing talent and success. Some people do well because they can write, others because they are funny, and others for no obvious reason that I can see at all. While others can write amazingly well but don't get anywhere.

While being a blogger is relatively easy, writing actual fiction - now that is hard.
Writing actual fiction well?

What you have done there is shown the difference between blogging and writing.
You are good.
Finish that book."

Thank you, Glen! If you have not done so already, pop over to Glen's site as he is a disarmingly funny bloke in the UK who also enjoys sharing some carefully crafted fiction.


Now, I will simply post about what my kid did this weekend! Because I like to take it easy like Sunday morning sometimes. One cannot be brilliant every day, for crying out loud.


Parker had finished in the bathroom. "Daddy! Come look at my poop! It looks like a chicken!"

I could not resist. I had to look. It looked like a chicken! It did! It was a little piece of poop that was kind of shaped like a chicken.

I know. You are probably horrified right now, but you'll be ok.


In the downstairs bathroom, I saw a bunch of stickers floating in the toilet.

"Parker!" I yelled. "Why are there stickers in the toilet?"

Instead of answering, Parker just sighed and said, "Ah, call a plumber then."


And now, I give you a picture of the most precious thing that Parker gave me on Friday. A pet rock.

Is this not totally adorable?

Have a good week, everyone!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What if God was one of us?

“You still seem so…numb.”

“Well, maybe it’s the medication, doc. I don’t really understand how I’m supposed to ‘fix’ my head when I’m taking all the shit you give out here.”

“Excellent, a little hostility. Perhaps we’re starting to feel something?”

“Isn’t it a little unproductive to use sarcasm with your patient, doctor?”

They sat there looking at each other with polite smiles.

“Listen, Kate. I’m not trying to bullshit you. I’m just saying that you’re here for a reason. Let’s not waste our time.”

“Fine, then. I’ll try to be a little more exciting. For the sake of progress.”

The doctor only gestured. Begin, her hand invited.

Kate sighed. “Well, if you can't tell, I’m a little angry. I don’t see the point in anything. I fucking trust no one, and when I’m really at my worst? I think, I should be dead, and Marisa should be here. As if it couldn’t get any worse, I remember, why would I want Marisa to suffer through any more shit? Maybe I should just join her.”

The doctor held Kate’s eyes for a moment. “I can’t imagine the pain you’ve gone through. I simply want you to have hope that hope exists. I don’t expect you to have that right now. I expect you to believe that others have that hope for you. That is all. And I hope it is enough.”

Kate had been ready to retort, to build one more layer of brick through the wall of anger she had created, but something about the words the doctor had chosen caused her to pause.

What was it that Marisa had always said? We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Kate thought of that then.

The doctor smiled, seeing the shift on Kate’s face. “I think I’d like you to think about that for today.”


“I’ll see you tomorrow, Kate.”

“See ya, doc.”

Kate walked out into the hall toward the common area, unsure of what she wanted to do, unsure of what she felt. Then a soft melody coming from the TV pierced straight through her and unleashed a torrent of memories.

A female singer was plainly singing to the screen, soulful and pure. What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger all of us trying to make our way home.

Kate walked quickly to her room, shut the door and stood on the other side. The sobs came fast and hard. The bricks fell fast and hard. The wall she so carefully kept was crumbling all around her as she slid to the floor and gave in to the grief.


The Red Writing Hood prompt at Write on Edge this week was to write a story in which your character is inspired by music.

I have chosen to write a new scene for my book and share it here. I have written of Kate and Marisa previously here.