Tuesday, June 26, 2007

If it swims, grill it!

When I worked at a summer camp the year after I finished college, I became good friends with the lifeguard. She and I would take nightly trips into the closest grocery store for ice cream and double dipped chocolate peanuts.
Once, we wandered back to the seafood department where we found and stole a sign that proclaimed, "If It Swims, Grill It!" She kept this sign inside the pool shed. I like to think it was a warning to wayward campers.
It seems appropriate this week, as MB and I have finally become the proud owners of our first grill. It was no easy process, acquiring this grill. We had to go to no less than three stores. We waited at the second for them to tell us that they didn't actually have the grill we wanted in stock. Off to store three, where we obtained the grill in no time flat.
Then the real fun began. I should have taken pictures of what I like to call "Assembly for Humanities Majors." Every instance of confusion was seized upon by MB as both an example for him to share with his classes AND as the epitome of bad technical writing. For us, what the box proclaimed was a grill that "assembles in minutes!" became a one hour plus extravaganza of trying to figure out the difference between a 20 1/4 X something screw and some other screw that looked exactly like it only was thicker and shorter. Whatever. Luckily we had plenty of beer and hard lemonade on hand to assist us.
To christen our grill, we had tuna.
Tonight we had friends who moved away (to Nebraska) and who are back for a short visit over. I took the opportunity to make something new. Lamb burgers with apricot salsa using a recipe from Bon Appetit. I've never made anything from that magazine before, because it usually looks too complicated or has tons of cream or cheese. But I highly recommend this. I made the salsa using apricots from our beloved Farmer's Market. I ate one this morning. It was delicious. The salsa also had red onion, roasted red peppers, pistachios and mint. It was a hit!
Our friends brought over their son who is Son's age. They also have twins who are about 17 months. They are incredibly adorable and surprisingly low maintainence. They just kind of hung out and walked around. Even Gus was good. Big fun all around.
I might post pictures of MB manning the grill eventually. But we expect to eat a good portion of our meals outdoor and straight from the grill.
*As a side note, while looking for a grill we found a stylish outdoor bar complete with bar stools and umbrella. That's going on the wish list.

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's Too Damn Hot Update

First, there have been questions about what, exactly, happened to Gus. We took him to a dog park and he got bit by a dog. It was partly our fault, as we let him play rough, etc. But the other dog got him good: punctured his ear. He seems to be okay, though we are constantly worried that it is infected. We did take him back to the dog park and he played with a nice dog, Baxter.
Currently he is sleeping on his doggy bed in front of the air con.
Oh yes, have I mentioned that it's too damn hot? I know, it's not yet July. Summer just offically started. How can I already be complaining? It's because complaining is an art form I have perfected.
Last night I had to restort to fruity drinks. But I was too hot to make my own delicious fruity drinks (which also might have required a drive to the liquor store in the too hot car), so I bought the bottled kind of fruity drinks that one can purchase in grocery stores here. Yes. A new low. But not quite as low, I might point out, as the time last summer that I purchased Bartles and James margaritas. Did they taste like margaritas? No they did not. Were they fruity? Yes they were.
Last night was spent on the couch with said fruity drinks watching "The Office" marathon which was just a sad excuse to promote "Evan Almighty" (which I will go see, btw). And then I had to watch "Studio 60" imploding on itself. I love this show. I adore it. But even I am beginning to hate it. Gone is the snappy, witty dialogue. Gone the romantic comedy element that we love so well. Gone the brief views of the writers' room with the deadpan headwriter and the witty British Lucy. It's devolved into melodrama. But even so. I love to see Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford and that Harriet. I will cherish the few, final, terrible episodes. I will. Because it's all I have left.
Except for "Entourage." Ari Gold has to be the best character. Ever. I can't even dislike him, because I love him so much. He has the best lines. His wife has some good lines too. As do his assistants. We're on season 2, so don't ruin it for me, those of you who are in the know.
Writing? What writing?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Word Whore Update

Well. Son is in Bug Camp this week, so I'm back to the Word Whoring. I passed the 40,000 word mark (I'm at 41,195) But that's not quite halfway to the 90,000 word goal that I may have to revise, just for my sanity.
But I want some kind of draft by the end of summer. I realize that I will have to do revising, in that I have some ideas about earlier chapters, etc. But it will be nice to finish a draft of something!!
I am here at the downtown library where they are setting up for the summer festival already. It's a bit crazy outside, with the tents and whatnot. MB and I saw a dog swimming in the fountain.
Dog update: Gus is okay. His bite seems to be healing and he hasn't been complaining, so I assume that means he is alright. We're keeping him away from the dog park for the time being. He almost yanked my arm off last night. Geez!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

5K Update

Well, my 5K was okay. It was hotter than I expected at 8:25 when I began the uphill finish. (Uphill finish? Whose idea was that?) On the plus side I passed some people who looked younger than me. On the minus side, many, many, many Masters runners beat me by 10 minutes. And a 79-year-old woman finished right behind me.
Another plus was the pancake breakfast, which MB, Son and Son's Friend also got to indulge in. It was very good. I was also chatted up by a man in the 50-59 age division at the starting line. This made me feel better (wouldn't I make a great second trophy wife?) and worse (so this is my fate, I'm now only attractive to men over 50? And my husband).
We had Son's Friend for a sleepover last night. They went to bed at 10:30 and got up at 5:45. Yes, that's right, 5:45. I had to get up at 6:30 anyway for the race, but still. There will be enforced napping today.
Alright. So here are my stats.
I finished in 28:08, making my pace approximately 9 minutes/mile. Or, as I like to think of it, only slightly faster than an octogenarian. My goal was an 8:30 mile, but I didn't reach that. Maybe next time. I think my first mile was under that, but, as they say, I started too fast.
There was an award ceremony after. I liked watching the young girls get their medals. They were cute. I think I liked to run when I was younger, and then I had my love of running killed by a terrible track coach in junior high, Mr. Bodily. I'm not joking.
I'm getting the love back.
But I still think the running should get easier, shouldn't it?
Today I'm shopping for a swimming suit. I will triumph. I will!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nothing + Nothing = Nothing

Here's an update on what I've been doing: nothing. Well not strictly nothing, but nothing productive. Son was supposed to be in a language camp this week, but there were not enough people signed up, so it was canceled. Which means that we've been holed up, plus MB's computer troubles, so you can probably imagine for yourselves the domestic drama that we've been embroiled in.
What have I been obsessing over this week? Thanks for asking. My current obsessions are
  1. Entourage
  2. The Sopranos
  3. The Office, and all that entails: John Krasinski, Evan Almighty, Toby, etc.
  4. Studio 60: Why does it have to end, sob, sob, etc.
  5. New Music: I need some, I'm getting bored, etc.
  6. I'm not writing
  7. Maybe writing doesn't matter, after all, when I'm dead, I'll be dead, not looking down from above saying "Look how much everyone enjoys my writing!"
  8. Swimming
  9. Running (I'm doing a 5K on Saturday)
  10. Reading shallow things
  11. Disliking successful writers whom I won't name, but who might have some talent, but also get things published in magazines, like The New Yorker, for example, not because they are good, but because of who they are.
So now you're up to date. I hate everyone who's not blogging, by the way. Please blog and save me from my shallow reading and self-loathing.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

ErinAlice + HighTouch = Dr. Write

Borrowing from the inventive genius of ErinAlice and HighTouchMegaStore, I have found inspiration for a new post: A combination of Conversations with Son, and Some of Us.

Son: Bacon comes from pigs.
Son's Friend: Animals are made from meat. Like cows are meat. And we are meat.
Son: No. We're made of water. You're mostly water.
SF: And meat.
Son: Mom, are we meat?
SF: We are meat.

Recent accomplishments from the domestic sphere of Dr. Write and Middlebrow:
  • Some of us have finished the final chapter of our dissertation
  • Some of us have learned how to swim (back float and arm part of crawl)
  • Some of us are still reading Cloudsplitter (9 months and counting)
  • Some of us stayed up late every night watching at least 3 episodes (per evening) of "The Office" Season 2
  • Some of us spent all morning trying to figure out how we could watch Season 3
  • Some of us can't sleep at night because we are secretly worrying that Pam and Jim will/will not get together (if they get together, the show will fall apart/be cancelled)
  • Some of us have started and abandoned several novels we were reading this week
  • Some of us have lost confidence in our ability to finish any writing project longer than 25 pages
  • Some of us need a schedule to get any work done
  • Some of us run because it makes us feel like we have accomplished something, anything, please god, I just want the feeling of having finished something
  • Some of us need some friends to distract us (hint, hint)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

My Five Seconds

Here's my five seconds of local fame: a book review column in City Weekly. Just two things to note: MB helped me with the clever "best read" part. And since writing it (two weeks ago) I have finished Devotion by Howard Norman. Even though he is one of my favorite writers, I did choose not to stalk him at AWP (I saw him at the Starbucks in Atlanta). But having finished the book, I can no longer recommend it. It was thin, like an over-stretched short story. The sad thing is, the characters and set up were good. But he didn't deliver. No delivery! So, skip that one. I stand behind the rest, however.

Also please note Scorpion's Tail has an article on running in the same publication. We're co-published. It's a first!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New Story

As I was writing on the novel, which often feels like slogging through mud, I received inspiration for a new story, which I began working on.
So, I wrote very little today on The Novel, but I wrote 10 pages (4,150 words) on the new story, "Domestic Drama."
I will post a bit, the inspiration for the story, here. I feel like the inspiration was just in time, as I was beginning to feel, because of the slogging, that I am not much of a writer. But the new story was fun. Which leads me to question why the novel isn't. But I've always loved brevity, so there's that. And doing something new always has its appeal too, doesn't it?
I hope to get back to the novel later tonight, or tomorrow. And to finish this story for my writing group at the end of the month.
So here's the first paragraph, which came to me in a burst of inspiration. Thank you, to wherever it came from.

He found me in the bedroom. I had the butcher knife and I was holding it in my right hand and with my left I was looking through a pile of clean laundry I had left on the bed. I was looking for a red handkerchief which I had given him for his last birthday and which would make a good tool for wiping up blood, but that was not why I was looking for it. I was looking for it because it had just sprung to my mind as I was deboning the chops for dinner. I hadn’t seen it in months and I thought that maybe it was missing or, I thought, maybe it was in the pile of clean clothes on the bed. That was the only place it could be.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Back at It

Last week was a wash, all the way around. Monday was a holiday, Wednesday was my last day of co-oping at Son's school, and Thursday was Son's Graduation extravaganza, complete with caps and gowns, The Magic Treehouse plays (in which Son played a guard, a juggler, and, his favorite, a monkey), food madness, and awards (Son got the Future Author award, proving conclusively that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree).
So I wrote a little on Tuesday and Wednesday, but nothing on Thursday or Friday. This weekend was full of madness (doing what? who knows! oh, we did plant two plants and I took Son swimming and I did run for two hours on Sunday).
But now I'm back at it. Never fear. I got up "early" (by my standards), and drank coffee and wrote a bit. I might try to split my writing days between production on the novel and revision of the collection. I'm trying to get it ready to send out in the fall.
But I also want to take Son for a hike, possibly with Dog, and I should be on my summer running schedule, but I'm tired. Oh so tired.
And I'm trying to plan a short vacation for July. Plus Middlebrow had several illness/injuries last week and I had to nurse him back to health (with Excedrin and fudgesicles). And, as I'm sure he'll point out, buying him generic Pepto-Bismol and then going out with the girls.

Word Count total: 27, 958

Saturday, June 02, 2007