Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cuteasaurus Rex

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Interviewing for my Oscar Moment

For those of you who are wondering, I still don't know who won Creative Burlington's illustrious award for literary artist of the year.  I'll find out on February 3rd.  In the meantime, they video interviewed me.  The idea is for them to have a nifty video for each of the finalists so they can be introduced Oscar-style at the fancy awards night. 

So a few days before my interview, I got a tickle in my throat.  Then William got sick too and spent three days on the couch watching tv and refusing to eat anything (he also vomited each day at precisely 6 o'clock).  It's my own fault really.  When a friend of mine (hi Natalie) came to my door and told me her kids were all snotty but could she please bring them in to play anyway, I totally let her come in and spread her germies.  Well I learned my lesson!

Anyway, yesterday I went with my Mom to the Creative Burlington office (a tiny building on Lakeshore) to have our interviews taped.  By this time I had a phlegmy cough, froggy voice, and was feeling slightly nauseous.  The lady who greeted me asked if I was "one of them or just along for the ride."  I thought to myself, if I she doesn't know me, I must not be the winner.  I should have said something witty and clever, but instead I whined "I'm one of them" like a grade-school student being forced to play dodgeball.

My Mom went first.  I watched her being filmed and she answered all the questions and looked and sounded very professional.  Next it was my turn.  My Mom left so I wouldn't be nervous. Sitting in the chair was way different than watching my Mom sit in the chair.  All the lights were on me, and each light was as bright as the sun.  I squinted for a few minutes then one of the video people "Sarah" gave me a mic to put on.  I had to feed a wire up under my shirt, and snap a battery pack to my butt.

I won't repeat the questions and answers because I'm sure you're all going to spend $65 to see the awards show and will see the finished video then. I will say that I managed to get through it all without coughing.  Huzzah! At the end of the interview I read some of my work, so they could splice that in too. We were told to prepare a minute of work, which is not quite a page of text. When you're writing a novel, even one as short as mine, one page is nothing.  But I chose a scene that would knock your socks off.  I hope the end product isn't too embarrassing.

I'm always sick when I have to be on camera.  I had a cold when I did this thing too, but everyone said I was fabulous anyway.

Anyway, I already won something: an Arts Matter T-shirt.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter wonderland

This morning I awoke to a fresh heap of powder all over everything.  Now I try to get up at seven every morning and do a little outdoor exercise, usually walking since my bike was stolen and winter arrived.  But today I decided to be extra productive and shovel the driveway.

Most of the time we just leave the driveway as is and drive our SUVs over whatever hardened mountains of ice result.  A couple of years ago the mail man refused to deliver our mail because our driveway was too treacherous.  Through rain, snow, sleet or hail my butt!  Anyway, me shoveling is such an event that my husband snapped some paparazzi-style photos of me to commemorate the occassion.

Check out my giant he-man shovel!

Anyway, being outside in the snow reminded me that playing in the snow is a part of childhood that we've been doing far too little of this season.  So I put "play in the snow with kids" on my to-do list and after breakfast I got them ready.

William, Jadzia and I had a great time frollicking in the mounds of powder my shoveling created.  Well, William and I had fun anyway.  Jadzia, who can barely stand in her boots and snowpants let alone walk, mostly just sat in the snow and glared and me.

The white stuff was too powdery for a snowman, or even a snow ball fight (though we did try).  Instead I dragged the children in a toboggan to the nearby school (which has a wicked hill, tame enough for my kids but not so slow the adult gets bored).  Jadzia giggled the first time down the hill but shortly after began to get weepy.  I convinced William to go home by promising hot chocolate and declared our winter outting a success.

Except I ran out of milk and had to make the hot chocolates partially with water, blech.  Luckily they had just enough milk in them to be tolerable.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dancing Washing Machines and Productivity

So my Mom took William out tobogganing with my nephew, and Jadzia napped (still is napping), so I had some time to myself.  I had high hopes of being extra productive, but I only had enough time to put in a load of laundry before they came home.  And I'm not one of those people who separates her lights and darks either.  If it all turns out grey, so be it.  Life is too short.

Turns out I forgot that William's comforter was in the washing machine, with puke on it from his bout of illness on Saturday night.  I stuffed an entire load of laundry on top of that, just squished it in over capacity.  Last time I tried this the load was so unbalanced that my washer had its own private dance party.   It's not doing that now, but it might start to boogie down at the spin cycle.  I'm wearing one of my summer shirts today, the one that looks nice the moment I put it on, then starts riding up and showing my stretch-marked belly.  Hence, laundry needed to be done.

I already finished my 500 words today, so I'm feeling pretty good about myself.  I'm a writer, not a housewife after all. 

Spin cycle!  I can hear the dance party starting now.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

500 words a day

So I've been trying to be more productive with writing.  I'm committed to making a career out of being a science fiction author.  The book I'm working on now I wrote a first draft of when I was about nineteen, the one I plan on finishing next I began shortly afterwards.  I did the math, at 500 words a day, I can write 50 000 words (about the length of my novel) in 4 months.  Why has it taken me over a decade?

Oh I did some other stuff in between, finished university, got married, had two kids.  I also logged a lot of hours of Tetris, Wii, Farmville, Farm Frenzy, and whatever else happened to be my game of the week.  Occasionally I did slightly more productive things.  I painted, I made flash cartoons, I blogged, I wrote for Today's Parent Toronto (thank you, mom).  For a while I wanted to work for a magazine, but ideas for articles don't come to me the way ideas for science fiction stories do.  I sent one query, which I wrote in magazine writing class.  It was kindly rejected.

I now have real excuses.  Adorable excuses named William and Jadzia, who demand my attention before I can complete a sentence.  As I was writing this post, William came to me crying because he had somehow put a chair on his toe.  Jadzia is sitting on my lap right now colouring.  There are pen marks all over her arms and mine.  I no longer have long stretches of uninterrupted time to myself.  I squandered those in my youth. I think my mother tried to warn me.  She has 28 books published.  I'd be happy with one or two.

I'm more committed now than I have ever been.  My book will be done by February 4th.  It's good enough to be published and I won't give up until it is.  And I won't stop writing, I will finish this book and the next and the next.  I will outline and plan.  I will sell.  I will be so ambitious and obnoxious that you won't recognize me.  I am talented.  I'm no longer going to sheepishly pretend that I'm not.  I'm no longer going to be so afraid of success that I won't even try.

BTW: To my friends and family: after February 4th, be on my case.  I recognize that selling the book will be the hard part, and I'll need lots of encouragement to stay on track.  Thanks.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year's FAQs

I'd like to take this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions about my Super Happy New Year's.  At least, I think these questions would be frequently asked if I were one of those popular bloggers who got e-mails with questions from time to time.  If you have any other questions that you frequently ask in your head, please comment below.  I will do my best to answer each one individually (but you know, I'm so swamped with comments I may not be able to.

Question #1:  How did you celebrate your New Year's?

Our New Year's usually involves sitting around with my husband possibly watching the ball drop on Global (because for some odd reason we don't get Citytv).  This year (or rather, last year) I decided to have a party instead.  I invited all my Mommy friends and their families, some of whom showed up.  The goal was to relive my party days, when New Year's Eve meant drinking with friends.  And we succeeded, sort of. The last guest left at 11 pm, because over-tired children tend to be less well behaved than well-rested children.  Who knew?  Anyway, William did make it to midnight (he saved his meltdowns for the next day).  We watched the ball drop in Niagara Falls (on Global).  The Barenaked Ladies sang Auld Lang Syne.  Also everyone brought snacks, so we had our New Year's Day breakfast and lunch covered.  Thanks guys.

Question #2:  Have you made any New Year's resolutions?

I actually make resolutions throughout the year, so New Year's isn't special to me in that way.  Normally my resolutions involve writing more and playing computer and video games less.  This is tough because I got Mario Galaxy 2 in my stocking. Also there's literally an infinite amount of online games I can access using the same tool I use to write.  It's like storing your heroine in the same drawer as the stuff that helps you not take heroine (I have no idea what that stuff might be, since I've never been a drug addict, so that analogy didn't work as well as I thought it would).  But I do have ammunition.  This year, my writing group friends and I are taking an online course called Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviours (aka how not to procrastinate 101).  The first lecture had, among other things, some stuff about how sleep is good.  So at 12:30 am I was sitting at my desk, reading about how sleep will help you loose weight, be more productive, etc.  Now I'm trying to go to bed at 11 pm and get up at 7am.  That's been going okay.  I'm still playing lots of games, but I'm sure the second lecture will help me out with that once I get around to reading it.

Question #3: What is your favourite Star Trek movie?

Ever since I was a kid, my favourite Star Trek movie has always been Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  In it, Captain Kirk and his friends have to go back in time to get some humpback whales (they are extinct in the 23rd century).  The result is a ridiculous 80s comedy in which Spock jumps into a tank in a cetacean museum to mind-meld with a whale. Gold! The moral of course is that we should save the whales, because you never know when they are going to stop an alien probe from destroying the planet.  Okay, nobody has asked me this question, but Adam recently bought Star Trek IV on blu-ray for only $7.00!!!!  Score!


Question #3 (From an anonymous comment below): If you found yourself on the sinking Titanic, what would be your Survival strategy?

I probably got to the Titanic using some kind of time machine, in which case I would prepare myself before the trip by appearing to be insanely wealthy.  That way I would be let on the life boats with the first class passengers.  If I had no preparation (ie: I fell through a random time portal, on the way to the grocery store) I would dazzle the captain with whatever futuristic technology I had on me (iPod, digital watch, disposible diaper, etc) so he would believe that I am from the future/an alien and do whatever I say.  Then I would have him turn the ship away from the icebergs and sail safely to a tropical island.  Failing that, I would find a giant piece of floating debris and hang out on it until help arrives.

Question #4 : If you could be the leader of a religion who would you be?

As an atheist, I really have no desire to be the leader of a religion, but if I had to choose one I would have to go with the Pope.  He's got power.  He's got cool hats.  He's got a bulletproof limo (such faith!).  I'd have to be a man, though, which is annoying because I enjoy my breasts and vagina.
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