Sunday, August 29, 2010

My cookies bring all the boys to the table...

And they're like, it's the best cookie ever.

I have an epic cookie recipe. I made it up myself when I was about 16, and every person I've ever served them to goes crazy. One guy, in all the seriousness he could possibly muster said, "This is the best cookie I've ever had in my life." He looked like he was about to cry. I make them regularly to bribe my Dad and Husband. So I've been wondering......

How can I make that work for me? Here I am facing no income in October and so far neither hubby or myself have been able to find employment. And yeah, that's getting really annoying, discouraging and frustrating. I can't even count how many resumes we've submitted, and only one bite each so far. He was not selected for the position he interviewed for, but at least he was informed of this so he could move on. My one interview so far has resulted in a, "We'll be in contact this week.", with no more contact. And yes it's been over a week. I'll take that as a no, because I have no time to waste waiting for your said no. I've got three kids to support.

We're facing the choice of either moving in with my parents, who live about 15 minutes away, so not too far from our kids' schools so I can still drive them. My son is on special assignment at his school so as long as we stay in the county it doesn't matter where we live. My daughter is going to a private preschool (VPK) so again, no big deal about moving in the county. My parents have a 4 bedroom house with plenty of space and they both do well financially so their offer of living quarters is well within their means. But I am afraid after the novelty of having three of their grandkids living with them wears off, we'll only get on their nerves. They're used to living alone and have been for about 10 years now since they got rid of the last of us kids. Plus, we will lose a certain amount of privacy, which seems whiny but when you've been living on your own for 11 years, feels like a big deal. Oh, and my Dad hates cats, so I couldn't take my kitties. My oldest we've had since he was a baby, and he's 10 now so I really have no intention of leaving him high and dry. He is so sweet and meows like a baby, and is B-E-A-utiful. He's also quite good at killing vermin. Which leads me to...

Option #2. Hubby's Dad's family up in North Carolina has a farm up there, and although not a farm used for their living or big, it's still pretty much a farm. They have chickens, cows and grow vegetables. In the past year or so some of the older relatives have passed, and his Great Aunt's house is unused at the moment, and we have a good chance of being able to move in there and start fresh in a new state. Hubby has a genetic green thumb and he's always wanted to live in such a setting and I think he could do quite well with encouraging vegetables to grow. He spent summers on that farm as a kid and it holds a lot of happy memories for him. I've visited quite a few times and it's really very nice up there, and the people are all so kind. In this city, not so much. In fact as time goes by, I'm becoming more and more tired of this city and the crappy politicians and violence and what not. We've always wanted to move to a new state and have our own "adventure". Is this the window to do it? It's not how we envisioned it to happen; we always thought it would be when we were ready to go, with a big wad of cash. But life can be tricky like that. Plus the kids would have a much bigger adjustment, although much more land to roam free and get dirty like we did back in the day.

Which brings me back to my cookies. I've been thinking maybe I could sell them to make some money for the family, but seeing as how I live in a state that prohibits home bakeries, I'm not sure how I could make that fly. I could rent kitchen time somewhere, but I can't afford it. Catch 22. I know North Carolina allows home bakeries. And I know my cookies could sell, I just need some deli owner to sample them and agree to buy stock for their store. Or maybe open my own at some point. Also, I make super yummy toasty sandwiches, lasagna, shepard's pie, beef stew and lots of other yummy stuff. Yes I cook country. I was raised in the South, so I didn't have much of a choice as far as that goes!

I think I need to sit down and make a pro and con list. You see, we do still have some time, but I don't want to wait til that time is up and then have nothing. I feel like we need to decide something before the feed bucket is empty, you know what I'm saying?

If anyone has some suggestions/advice I would love to hear it. Until then, the #greatjobhunt2010 continues here at our current home. Who knows, maybe he'll land a job that pays good like his last one. Anyone need an IT guy? ;)

*jumps up and down on resume in exasperation*


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Franzenfreude, gender and I perchance get booted from teamvagina...

Alrighty then. I've been following this "Franzenfreude" craze that seems to be hitting Twitter lately, and I have to say that after some time of silent observation, article reading and reflection, I have now formed an opinion. That being said, it's probably not going to be a popular one among my own sex. But I really don't care about being on #teamvagina just because I have one. I care about going with my gut. And so: here I go.

Jonathan Franzen, author of the upcoming novel, Freedom, got reviewed in the New York Times, and for some reason (and the only I can pinpoint right now is 1.) a seeming lack of equal coverage for female authors in the Times and 2.) plain old green eyed monster) Jennifer Weiner decided to start telling the Twitterverse and NPR about how women authors don't get adequate coverage in the Times, and also insulted Franzen on a personal level in her tweets.

*notices strange bitter taste in mouth, frowns*

In all fairness Jennifer's works have had nods in the Times. She's published eight books and had one made into a major motion picture. Franzen is now publishing number 4, his last one being 8 years ago. So who gets more attention to their works? Well as a newb to the arena, I've heard a lot more about her works than his. (Let it be said here, that I've read neither author. My wandering mind takes me all over the place as far as my book choices, and I haven't stumbled upon either of them yet. But typically I don't go for stories purely about modern relationships and dynamics and so on. I'm more of a fantasy/mystery/thriller/historical fiction/MG/YA/classics kind of reader. The so called "chick lit" category doesn't tickle my fancy.)

Neither does Oprah. Despite popular stereotypes, not all women like to watch Oprah, or any talk show or soap opera for that matter, and so we don't. Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I'd much rather watch reruns of Star Trek and the Science Channel before I watch outlandish drama or talky talkerton shows. It's just not my thing. Maybe I'm a tomboy, but I could care less what category others would put me in because I am who I am, and I like me. For example, I think high heels suck and avoid them as much as possible. I hate girly catfight drama, especially when it involves women I know. Why? Because I always get stuck in the middle pulling their claws out of each other; and the only one to use the logical part of my brain to repair said feline damage. I also don't enjoy bon bons, and I can't stand going to the mall. I do however hate beer, and the seemingly innate ability all men have to listen selectively. The point is, not all women are the same or necessarily like girly stuff.

And so Jennifer, and also Jodi Picoult, make a case for "chick lit" not being taken seriously, and fiction written by men on the other hand, is, simply because of their own plumbing. Doesn't it all come down to your fans and who your agent/publicist knows? And what genre of books people like to read? If they like stories about modern relationships and drama and such with a strong female lead, then they shall read those so called "chick lit" books. And that's cool. If they like dystopian thrillers or horror, then they shall seek out books by authors who write such stories. I mean do we need to create a sub-genre of fiction for books written by men about relationships and call it "dick lit"? I think not, although that's pretty funny. The term chick lit is pretty apathetic as well and I'm not too sure why it's used so frequently.

What I'm saying, and my perspective on this, is why does it matter?? Write to write, and get your stories out there. Share with the world what you've got inside you, and if we likey, we readey. No likey, no readey. Simple as that, and I frankly am tired of the ultra feminist stand against men, who get bashed into the corner cowering, wondering what the hell they did and if it requires the purchase of flowers to correct. C'mon, can we show a little love to our guys? Can we stop taking every opportunity to scold them into the naughty chair for simply having a penis? Because really it goes both ways, if you claim sexism for a dude's work getting more attention than yours because you're a chick, then you are in effect, playing the "sexist" card as well. So put that in your pipe and smoke on it for a minute. Once reflectively stoned on the thought, think about how each other, regardless of gender, is a fellow author and human, and each deserves his or her chance at publication if they've written their hineys off. I call that "buttless lit".

My point, dear readers, is that what the heck does it matter what gender one is when publishing their book? Why come down on another author because their book got more attention pre-release than yours? Shouldn't that equate to your agent/publicist getting you in the press, or not, more than what's between your legs? It is after all, all about who you know. Trust me, the #greatjobhunt2010 has taught me a lot about that. Network, people, network. And you know if you've written something great, your work will speak for itself. Enough said.

And thus I am done and have now been disqualified from #teamvagina.

*takes birthing trophies, storms out the door*

C'est la vie, #teamhumanFTW


Monday, August 16, 2010

In which I received my first rejection: on Friday the 13th

On this past Friday the 13th, I received my first rejection letter from an agent. It was a courteous (albeit form) rejection, and to be honest I appreciated getting a response at all. It's better than wondering if you were just lost in the slush pile for all of eternity.

And it's all good. I had a twinge of disappointment, but all together, I didn't feel discouraged as I expected to be. It's ok! I will keep writing, revising and making an effort. After all, a call to write is in the blood and can't hardly be ignored for any reason, especially a frivolous one. And so I trudge on, with carpal tunnel as my constant companion! ;)

On a personal note, I am happy to report my husband as a second interview with a local hospital this coming Wednesday. It's a great position and we're hoping said interview results in an offer! *fingers are crossed*

My niece is stil pregnant and ready to do just about anything to get that baby out. I am getting anxious to meet my little great niece as well! I took advantage of tax free weekend and got all the kids' school supplies and clothes for the upcoming year. One more week to go!

I've been on a reading binge lately and along with job searching, have been neglecting my writing more than I would like to admit. But I just did so the cat's out of the bag! But I am happy to announce that I completed Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and I was blown away by it. I've always loved tragic stories and this one was beautiful, haunting and poignant. Well done, Ms. Brontë, well done.

I'm nursing a bit of a migraine today so I've got to keep it short. Until next time, my friends.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Money Mucks Up Everything

So today I learned a valuable albeit crappy lesson. Never get in the middle of two people about a money issue. Especially if they're family.

Basically what happened is this. My sister got married a couple weeks ago. One of my brothers sent a check as a gift for her, but mailed it to me. So I endorsed it, mailed it to her. No big deal. Today she called me and said his check bounced and asked me to let him know (since I talk to him more often). Ok no big deal again. So I did. And he came back with the craziest stuff.

He basically accused her and possibly myself of just trying to finagle more money out of him. Wow. Paranoia is a word that comes to mind. Of course I got my feathers ruffled because I had no such intention; I was only playing messenger. So I shot back some of my classic sarcastic harshness that tends to come out of me when I'm angry. And what did he say? Oh I was expecting a fight, but he folded his hand.

He wrote me off. Over a measly $50 check that wasn't even mine. Basically said he doesn't want anything to do with me. Now that's some serious cowardice right there if I ever saw any. Can't take the heat? He doesn't just run outta the kitchen, he demolishes it on his way out the door. What siblings don't have a good fight now and then? I've had plenty with my other ones and we're all just dandy and know each other the better for it.

It's sad but interesting too, and gives me some insight to all kinds of issues in someone's personality that I can use for my writing.

Live and learn.

Oh and by the way, still no great niece yet. She's still stewing, for now.