Monday, January 31, 2011

What do mean it's not a word? It's in my verifictionary!

Some of you may have seen me around the the blogosphere. I visit--and comment on--a lot of blogs. Many of them use "word verification" to keep the spam bots at bay. A box of random letters pops up, and if you can't copy the sometimes fuzzy, sometimes squiggly and wiggly letters correctly, you don't get to leave a comment.

This makes the whole commenting process longer, which I used to find annoying (in a minor way), but now I've decided I rather enjoy it.

Because I turned it into a game!

It's a simple game, really. I just try to come up with definitions for the "words" that pop up.

Come on. You've done this, too, haven't you? As an avid reader, it's tough to see a random grouping of letters that doesn't signify something. So my brain has to assign it a meaning.

Here are a few recent entries in my Word Verification Dictionary, aka The Verifictionary:

poottiv -- flatulent.  "Pardon me. That bean burrito I ate for lunch has made me rather poottiv."

logion --  a legion of people who regularly log on to the same web site.

doologi -- the science of "doing." 

chesshi -- how chess players greet each other.

copit -- what you do with "a feel."

fortricl -- a small fort. "The kids didn't have enough wood to build a fort, so they settled for a fortricl."

comisse -- what you say when you commiserate with someone. "Yo, dude. I commisse."

cellon -- a close relative of the cello, only melon-shaped.

Have you come across any odd "words" during your blog crawl today? Let me know -- I'll add them to my verifictionary.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday Afternoon with Tawna

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days...

It started out crappy. We had a hard and fast snowstorm Wednesday night, which meant before I could go collect Tawna Fenske from the airport for our Tweetup, I had to SHOVEL SNOW:

Most of you know I can't stand shoveling snow. TG usually handles the bulk of it, but this time he was sick (bronchitis--ugh). And so was our son (also bronchitis--he gave it to TG, after getting it from his girlfriend*). So I got to shovel most of the sloppy, gloppy, HEAVY stuff myself. Oh joy.

*Um, that's Son's girlfriend, not TG's. TG doesn't have a girlfriend. Yeah, I know better than to screw up antecedents like that, but I still do sometimes. If they make me giggle, I leave them.)

Back to my original chain of whining thought:

TG still insisted on coming out and wielding a shovel for little while, too, which was STUPID (yes, sweetie, I just called you stupid on my blog--deal with it) because he had a fever, and should have been resting up for the show.

All that "the show must go on" BS? It's true.

ANYWAY, it was all totally worth it, because it meant I could get my arse to the airport and pick up Tawna! Her plane had been delayed, which is just as well, because the #$%& snowplow blocked our drive again, after I'd already hacked through the icy, hard-packed snow-wall they left the first time they came by, and I probably couldn't have made to the airport any earlier.

You guys! Tawna is just as brilliant as anybody who reads her blog would expect. Plus, she's easily entertained:

[BTW, Tawna says she & Pythagoras (her husband's alias) have the same sofa as we do. Exactly the same. AND we have the same agent. *cue Twilight Zone music* Now, if only we had the same boobs...*sighs* Sorry, TG.]

If you  can't read that label, here's a closeup:

See, Tawna's debut novel, Making Waves (coming this August--I've had the pleasure of reading it, and trust me, you don't want to miss it), is a funny/quirky contemporary romance with modern-day pirates. I saw this bottle of rum in the liquor store, and immediately thought, Wow! Tawna should put on an eyepatch and pose like this for her own cover! 

(Well, what I really thought was, Wow! That gal on the label puts the ho in yo-ho-ho! But I do think my cover idea is worth some thought.)

After a fun lunch at my favorite restaurant, we came back here to hang around until I--much too soon--had to take Tawna back to the airport.

If you ever get the chance to meet Tawna--say, at a future book signing--jump on it. She's totally worth any snow shoveling you might have to do to get to her. :)

Edited to take out an extra "ho." 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The G-Spot Answers Your Burning Questions!

On Monday I started a new segment called "The G-Spot," and opened up the comments to your questions, serious or silly. I got both. Yay!

The real questions--like the one about my writing process--I'll answer later. I'm thinking of actually writing a non-tongue-in-cheek post to answer that one. (Ha! Right. That'll happen. But maybe semi-serious.)

But today I thought I'd address some of the shorter/easier/sillier questions.


Jennifer Shirk asks "What are you reading right now? and/or What are you writing or working on right now?"

Reading: Day One by Bill Cameron; Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers; and Songs of Love & Death, an anthology with stories by several of my favorite authors. I usually have two or three books going at once, so I can pick up whatever strikes my fancy at any given moment. These are all fantastic!

Writing: I'm working on three different projects right now. (Hmm. I'm beginning to think I must have ADD. Plus, three is my favorite number.) One is a funny/quirky urban fantasy, another is a humorous contemporary romance, and the third is a more serious paranormal suspense. (That last one is my "drawer novel." It's flawed, but I still love it. If I can fix it, I might try to do something with it.)

[Whoa. That was a fairly straightforward answer, wasn't it? I must be off my game.]

Kelly B says " I want an example of a question that would be too graphic. Knowing you, I am sure you will get at least one. If not you can make it up, I am not particular."

Let's see...if someone had asked "How big is TG's #$@&?," that would be too graphic. And I couldn't answer it, because it's not polite to brag.*

SM Schmidt says:

"Dear G-Spot,

How can a writer banish the I rolled out of bed half asleep because I stayed up writing till 2am look? Or should a writer just embrace it and claim it's part of suffering for their art.


Clueless with makeup 

Dear "Clueless,"

You worked hard for that look -- embrace it! In fact, you can enhance it by adding Scotch and cigarettes to the late-night writing sessions. Nothing says "I am a hard-working writer" like bloodshot eyes and stinky clothes.

Yours sincerely,

Tawna wants to know: "Why does the Kool Aid packet tell me not to mix it in a metal container?"

It is a little known fact that Kool Aid, when mixed with water in a metal container, results in a nuclear fission reaction. The oil companies have paid off the Kool Aid manufacturers to put that warning on the packages in order to prevent people from taking advantage of a cheap power source.

If the idea of nuclear fission in your kitchen makes you nervous, you can mix your Kool Aid with vodka.

And from Pseudosu: "Why do the Cialis marketing wizards think two clawfoot bathtubs, side by side, outdoors in an unlikely setting, is even a remotely sexy scenario?"

The bathtubs are just the misdirection, meant to keep younger viewers from thinking too closely about old people having sex. Teenagers are all "What the hell is up with the bathtubs?" instead of "Eeeew. Old people do it?"

That's it for this time, kiddies! Thanks for playing. :)

*I may refer back to this in a future post, to be entitled "How to Make Sure Your Husband Likes Your Blog."

Monday, January 24, 2011

The G-Spot

No, that doesn't mean what you think it means. Much. ;)

TG and Son and I were watching something mindless on the boob tube the other night when the phrase "G-Spot" came up in the conversation. (On the show* -- not in our conversation. I don't regularly discuss G-Spots with my son.)

Anyway, I jokingly said, "Too bad I already named my blog 'Visiting Reality,' because 'The G-Spot' would be kind of cool. You know, considering our last name starts with G and all."

Then I got to thinking about it. Maybe I could post an occasional Q&A type post, and call that The G-Spot. Friends and family are always coming to me for advice, so why not provide the same service here on the blog?

So, here you go, folks. Ask me anything, and I will answer it. Whether you need advice on matters of l'amour, problems in the boudoir, difficulties with the PTA, or coping with office politics -- just ask. Or even if you're just inappropriately curious about something. Here's your chance.

Will the answers be helpful and/or honest? Heh-heh. Not likely. But you never know. It could happen.

The best (printable) questions will be highlighted in a future post. Have fun!

WARNING: Questions that look suspiciously like you're trying to get me to do your homework and/or balance your checkbook for you will be summarily ignored. Questions that are just too graphic (yes, even I have my limits) will be deleted.

*Seinfeld. Which is highly entertaining, but still what I consider mindless. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Freakiness

The internet is a weird and wondrous place, full of amazing things. It's an incomparable research tool, and I love most of what I find there. But lately I've seen some things that FREAK ME OUT.

1. Hairless cats. I like fur on my felines. Not to be too indelicate about it, but without the fur it must be like petting a scrotum. (Is it bad to say that? Should I have said "manbag" instead?) Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Except if it meows at you. Also, aren't they cold? (The cats, not the...never mind.) Just looking at this one makes me want to knit it a sweater. Or a cat cozy. Or something. Maybe a really big jockstrap?

2. Horny people. Did you know people can grow horns? Cheese-Louise. I didn't. But looky here. You wouldn't want to bump heads with this lady. Or, uh, man. *Peers closely* Kinda hard to say for sure. You know, if I start growing something like that, I might be tempted to keep it filed down. Like Hellboy.  

3. Gigonzo false eyelashes. A little lash enhancement is one thing, but these? They look like something about to spin a cocoon. How can she even lift her lids? 

On a related note, what's up with mascara that claims to make your eyelashes look false? This is a plus? Boy, am I ever behind the times. I thought the whole idea was to look natural. If you want your eyelashes look false, then why not, you know, just wear the flippin' false eyelashes?

Okay, I'm through freaking out now. How about you? Have you seen anything freaky while surfing...

...the web lately?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Have An Ice Hump Day!

[DISCLAIMER: This post was actually composed yesterday. Yes, you are looking into my past*. Someday soon I hope to figure out how to write posts from tomorrow, and give you a peek into my future.]


I don't like it. 

Not even in my drinks.

It's frigid and slippery,

And driving in it stinks.

There's nothing like a quarter inch of ice coating your driveway to make you appreciate snow. Snow can surely be a pain in the patoot, but for sheer You Do Not Want To Walk On This-iveness, with a dash of You Can't Shovel This Without Hurting Yourself-iveness, you can't beat ice. 

Thankfully, TG took care of the chipping/shoveling-of-shards. I would have helped, but I'm still suffering from Kindle Thumb. (Yeah. I may have been overusing my new toy just a tad.) Gripping the shovel handle was not on my dance card. 

But there is one kind of ice I don't mind so much. Ice sculptures. Here's one in honor of Hump Day:

Here are a few others I like:

And TG is fond of this one:

It just goes to show you -- even something you don't like can have its good points. (Hmm. I might want to remember that when I'm dreaming up my villains. It's hard to see the good side of somebody you hate, but surely it must be there, even if it's hiding beneath the A**-holey-ness.)

Sorry about the brevity of this post, but...yeah. Kindle Thumb. Hmm. (Again.) I wonder how well ice works on Kindle Thumb...

*Well, except for this disclaimer, which was written this morning. Because otherwise it wouldn't make sense, would it? (Whoa. Did I just write a disclaimer disclaimer?)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dreaming up an idea

Yesterday, Jeffe Kennedy. a twitter pal, wrote a really interesting post about dreaming over at the Word Whores group blog. (I know. Great name for a blog, isn't it?)

[Aside: TG just asked me if I had my post up yet. I told him I was working on it right now. He said, "Ha! Just like I used to do in college all the time -- I'd be sitting outside the classroom door, writing my paper right before it was due." Uh, yeah, honey. Only I don't think I can flunk "blog."]

Anyway, back to Jeffe's post. When I was procrastinating over a Manhattan with TG last night, I had a brilliant thought (surprising how often that happens over drinks). If I didn't get a post written (I didn't), maybe an idea would come to me in a dream.

And it did!

(Not that I was terribly worried. If it hadn't, I was just going to claim I was taking the day off in honor of MLK's birthday. It's always good to have a backup plan.)

But here's what I dreamed: I was sitting by a pool in the courtyard of some fancy-schmancy hotel, at a table, my laptop open in front of me. I was writing a blog post about how much I was enjoying the anticipation of getting into the pool. In that post, I speculated that I was enjoying the anticipation even more than I would likely enjoy the actuality. That the idea of swimming in the luxury hotel's fancy-schmancy flower-shaped pool was better than diving in and getting wet.

Frankly, I have a very accommodating imagination, and it tends to skip over stuff like getting chlorinated water in my nose, which I loathe, and that, luxury pool or not, the water is probably colder than I like it (think bathtub temperature). In my imagination, the pool dip is a sublime thing, a sensual experience akin to a full-body massage performed by one of my cabana boys.

(Oh, my God! I'll bet that isn't nearly as good as my imagination, either! What a revolting thought.)

Anyway, when I woke up this morning, I thought, Ah-ha! Jeffe was right. My dream* did provide me with what I needed -- blog fodder. Such as it is.

So, how about you? Do you enjoy anticipation? Or is it all about the real for you?

*Honest to God, I really did have this dream last night. Right before the one where I looked out the window and saw a little girl walking through my front yard with a dark brown deer and miniature horse. Only I couldn't think of a blog post about that one.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ack! It's Friday, and I don't have a blog post written!

I went shopping yesterday.

Hardly worthy of a blog announcement, you might be saying to yourself. With, perhaps, a minuscule smirk on your face. But only a small one, because you like me, and don't want to hurt my feelings. Not that you have to worry about that, because, as we all know, I am a badass, and badasses do not easily get their feelings hurt over smirks. But I digress.

The thing is, I hate shopping. (Except in bookstores, because who could hate a bookstore? I mean, bookstores are a writer's Nirvana...uh-oh. Doing it again. Sorry.)

I can deal with shopping for other people when I have to, but shopping for me is insanely boring. Sadly, my favorite old jeans were getting raggedy, and the sweaters, sweatshirts and other long-sleeved, comfy shirts I live in during the winter months were starting to develop tiny holes along the shoulder seams. (When you get to be my age, that's not a fashion statement. It screams "bag lady.")

I contemplated getting out needle and thread -- for about five seconds -- and then said to myself, "Self, screw it. You are going clothes shopping!"

Self was not thrilled, but understood that every five years or so, the basics must be replaced. So I hauled myself down to the local department store. Not Tarzhay (that's "Target" to people not trying to be ironic), and not Nordstrom (which I adore; Nordstrom is my mom's maiden name, but alas, we are not related, even though a friend of mine who works at Nordstrom introduced me to one of THE Nordstroms, and he looked more like me than my own brothers do...oops. I'm doing it again, aren't I?)

Anyway, after an intense couple of hours trying on everything in my size (they were having an effing sale. Everywhere I looked were bargains too good to pass up. *grumble, groan*), I wound up with two pairs of jeans (dark and light), two sweaters (both green -- my favorite color -- but slightly different greens, and one is a V-neck, the other a turtleneck, so it's really not redundant), five long-sleeve tees (various colors), and a three-quarter sleeve blouse thing I'll be able to wear when the weather gets warmer (see? I can plan ahead. Besides, it was clearance).

Oh, and a sweater for TG. It's green, too. But not in that cute matchy-matchy way. Because we are badass, not "cute."

When I got home, I was so mentally exhausted from the whole experience all I could do was sip tea and read on my Kindle. This morning, my thumb is kind of achy. I think I may have "Kindle thumb." Which doesn't sound nearly as athletic as tennis elbow, but... Crap. I'm doing it again...

So, that's why this post sucks. But at least you can imagine me writing it in better jeans.*

*Not really. I'm actually still in my robe, a really old, navy blue terrycloth thing that has seen better days, but is so comfortable I can't bear the thought of replacing it. But that's not symmetrical, like the jeans line is. Writers are not above sacrificing a piddling thing like the truth for the sake of symmetry.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hump Day Hunger

First of all, Happy (Snowy) Hump Day!

No, I didn't make this snow camel. Thankfully, it didn't snow that much here. Only about an inch and a half. But it's cold (22 F), so it probably won't melt before it has to be shoveled.

Boo, hiss! Shoveling sucks.

Now that I have that out of my system, let's get down to the burning question:

YOU: Okay, Linda, what did you think of The Hunger Games? Be honest, now.

ME: Mixed reaction. I liked it, but I can't say I enjoyed it. It was a satisfying read, and if I were a bit more masochistic, it would have thrilled me. It was superbly written. The characters, the tension, plot and setting -- all pretty darn perfect, in my opinion.

YOU: So, what's not to enjoy? Aren't you just spitting hairs? Are you really that picky? 

ME: Hey, no need to get all accusatory and personal!

YOU: *rolling eyes* Sorry. So, Linda, would you care to explain why didn't "enjoy" a book you obviously recognize as good?

ME: Well, since you ask so nicely...*rolling eyes back*...I blame it on being a mother. While I could, to a certain extent, identify with Katniss, I found myself too often "watching" the Hunger Games in my head from, say, her mother's perspective. Or any of the tributes' mothers. How utterly awful to watch your children in that position! It was all too easy to imagine what it would have felt like to see one of my children participating in such a horrific undertaking. More than once, I not only fought tears, but actually felt my gorge rise. Not that Collins was what I'd term "pornographically" descriptive of the violence she portrayed. But what she wrote was all too easy to visualize, and it wasn't pretty.

See, it's much easier for me to read about (or watch) adults going through hell than children. With adults, I'm better able to share the struggle. When the characters are young, it just makes me feel helpless, and I hate feeling helpless.

YOU: But isn't that the mark of a great writer? That Collins could make you feel so strongly?

ME: Yes. Certainly. But it doesn't mean I enjoy feeling that way.

But before you get your knickers totally in a twist, let me explain that I don't always enjoy the long, get-your-heart-pumping walks I take for the sake of keeping in shape, either. I like them, because they make me feel better in the long run, but if I said I loved the sweating and twitching muscles that often ensue when I push hard, I'd be lying. If I had my druthers, a perfect physique* and a healthy heart would be the natural by-products of sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book. But alas...

YOU: (grudgingly) All right. I guess I understand that. So, are you going to read Catching Fire and Mockingjay?

ME: Honestly? I don't know yet. Not right away, anyway. I'm not quite ready to watch Katniss be tortured again just yet.

So, there you have it. For all you Hunger Games lovers out there: don't hate me! Really, it's me, not you. We can still be friends, right?

*Not that I by any stretch have a perfect physique. Remember, I'm talking druthers.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I can't blog straight--I'm still hungry!

Short post today. I'm blaming Kelly Breakey. She's the one who slyly sent a copy of this: my Kindle. She's sneaky like that.

I am co-blaming Karla Nellenbach and Abby Mumford, because they participated in the Twitter exchange wherein I was bullied into reading, um, convinced I needed to read this book. 

So that's what I'm doing. Finally reading The Hunger Games. And enjoying the heck out of it, despite the fact that I have no fondness for dystopian novels. But don't tell Kelly, Karla, or Abby. They might get big heads.

I'll let you know the final verdict when I'm done. I've already cried once (yeah, there). If this ends badly, heads are gonna roll. I mean, I still haven't recovered from what happened to Beth in Little Women, and I read that when I was ten. (Yes, I realize Little Women isn't dystopian. But still.) I'm sensitive, people.

(Yeah, badasses can be sensitive. Because we're complex.)

While I'm reading, tell me -- is there any type of book you tend to avoid? Have you ever read something you thought you wouldn't like and wound up enjoying it?

P.S. If you can't see the comments, try clicking on the title of this post. Apparently the comments section only shows up when you're looking at the individual posts rather than the whole blog.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting intense with the comments

This is a test. This is only a test...

Okay, I saw this "IntenseDebate" comment system on a few blogs recently, so I thought I'd give it a try. Theoretically, it will allow replies to specific comments, and will notify commenters of those replies. In case they, you know, wanna come back and debate intensely about something, I guess.

Let me know if you like this, all right? Or if it just annoys you.  Because (again, theoretically -- with me and technology, you never know) I can always remove it.

Oh, and can you please leave a comment on this lame post, just so I can see if it's working? Tell me something special, like what color your eyes are. Or, if you had to choose between pink hair and blue hair, which would it be? Or even, do you brush your teeth first thing in the morning or wait until after breakfast?

Or you could just go with "Testing, one, two, three..." I do appreciate the classics. ;)


Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Fantasies, or why you may sometimes catch me looking like a blithering idiot

Everybody does it. Come on, you know what I mean.

(No, not that. Though my guess is everybody does that, too.)

I'm talking about fantasizing. You know, the "What if I win the Mega-Millions lottery?" type of fantasy.

Aaaahhhh...$$$$Mega-Million$$$$. What I wouldn't do with mega-millions! *blissful, blithering-idiot look* (<--See what I mean?)

Gosh, I could...I mean, I would...or I could always... Oh, hell. I'd still do pretty much the same thing I'm doing now.

I'd write novels.

ONLY, I'd probably do it in more exotic surroundings. Like:

Pretend that's me, walking along the beach next to my cozy, island-getaway mansion. (It helps if you squint.) And imagine those are my horses, which are taken care of by somebody else while I, you know, write my novels. Because who has time to shovel horse manure? Hello? Busy writing. (Which, granted, some may consider the same thing, but that's a topic for another day.) 

Naturally, I would have cabana boys waiting on me hand and foot while I gaze ocean-ward and plot out my books. Cabana boys like these:

Mmm, mmm, mmm. I'll bet they could serve up some, umbrella drinks.

Oh, and lest  you think I'm a selfish spouse, I would, of course, allow TG to have cabana girls serve him drinks. Fair is fair. Let's's a good one:

And here are a few more. (Note how generous I am. TG gets THREE cabana girls while I only get two cabana boys. Yup, that's just the kind of loving wife I am):

(What? TG LIKES guns and cigars. *blink*)

So, what are your Friday Fantasies? Do share. Especially if they're fun. Or naughty. ;)

Having trouble coming up with something? Here, this might help:

Cheers! (If you can't read the label, it says "Blithering Idiot." Of course.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy First Hump Day of 2011!

If you're wondering how to celebrate, I found this helpful suggestion while prowling the interwebz:

If you can't read the smaller word at the top of the picture, it's "AHEAD."

(Now, if that's not a good reason to keep your eyes on what's in front of you, I don't know what is.)

Enjoy traveling toward your future, and enjoy the scenery along the way. Oh, and don't forget to follow the directions. The fun ones, anyway. ;)

Monday, January 3, 2011

30 (OMG!!) Years of Wedded Hilarity

So, here's the card I got from the LOML* this morning:

And the inside:

You can see why I married him. I laughed until the tears rolled down my face. Even after thirty (!!!) years, he can still crack me up. Anyone who's been reading this blog for long knows how important that is to me.

(Okay, so he also got me a sappy-sweet card--he's the King of Getting Me Two Cards for Every Occasion--but that one's just for me.)

It was the second time I lost it laughing over this anniversary. First of all, 30 FREAKIN' YEARS? Seriously, how'd that happen? Sure, we were mere babies when we tied the knot, but that's still an awfully long time. Makes us officially Old People, or something. Which is odd, because we don't feel old**.

Anyway, the other day, in the middle of all the crazy Christmas/Birthday (son-in-law was born on Christmas Day)/New-Year's partying, it occurred to me that thirty was kind of a big anniversary, and I wanted to plan something other than our usual we're-both-homebodies-and-worn-out-from-the-holidays-so-let's-just-have-a-quiet-evening-at-home celebration.

Not really knowing where to begin, I did what I always do -- I googled it. Came upon a web page full of suggestions for how to celebrate a thirtieth anniversary, ranging from dinner and a show to trips to Australia. (A trip to Australia is a little rich for our blood, and a show? Come on. TG works well over a hundred shows a year. No way will I subject him to that.)

But the part that looked really interesting was the "romantic" suggestion. The article recommended donning something sexy and meeting hubs in the bedroom. And (this is the part that had me rolling) it cautioned "Don't forget to dim the lights!)

Ganted, I probably do look better in dim lights these days, but really, TG doesn't seem to mind.

So, what I think we'll do is go out to our favorite restaurant. I'll have a Manhattan and TG will have a martini. We'll order the prime rib, and we'll laugh together over what fun ride our marriage has been. We'll make a few plans for how we'll spend our next thirty years together, and then we'll come home early.

And we'll leave the lights on, thank you very much. Because we still look damn fine to each other. :)

*Love of my Life

**Most of the time. There are the odd creaky mornings here and there, but since that happened even when we were in our twenties, I don't count it so much.

P.S. The 30th is traditionally the Pearl Anniversary, so if you have any pearls of wisdom to offer, feel free.