January 31, 2005

Don't Wait for the Call

How to Meet Cute Boys Posted by Hello

Book Review: How to Meet Cute Boys by Deanna Kizis

Twenty-seven-year-old Benjamina Franklin (and you thought you had identity problems) is the dating scene authority for L.A.'s Filly magazine, dispensing advice on everything from relationship survival tips to tweezing the perfect eyebrow. But Ben's own love life has been on a downhill roll ever since she broke up with her dull, prematurely balding boyfriend. Now her younger sister is getting married -- and since going dateless is a prospect Ben simply can't bear, she has exactly six months to find a boyfriend. At a Filly fashion bash, she meets Max, who's gorgeous, successful, interested ... and may not be quite what he seems.

How to Meet Cute Boys is the most riotous and right-on novel about the singles scene to come out in years. This book is for anyone who's ever turned the pages of a women's magazine, looking for the answer to all that dating madness!

This book had me laughing out loud. It was fresh, extremely funny and had virtually no flowery language. Don't you get sick of books that make descriptions last for two pages? This book does none of that. It's nitty-gritty, get-to-the-point kind of book. For those of you sensitive to strong language, I wouldn't recommend this book. The author makes liberal use of profanity but I have to say, it adds to the characters. Here's one of my favorite excerpts: The main character Ben (short for Benjamina Franklin) is in the bathroom crying because the love her life just passed her by at a party and didn't even acknowledge her.

But then I thought I heard a sniffle.

I sniffled.


Was that my sniffle echoing, I thought, or someone else's sniffle?

I sniffled.


"Who's there?" I said.

No answer.

So I waited, completely silent, dying to sniffle but not letting myself, and then, Sniffle.

"Who is that?"

A little voice: "Nobody."


"Audrey, is that you?"


See what I mean? It's as if you were in one of those stalls in the restroom with Ben and Audrey. The whole book is like this and though I got a little tired of Ben's whining (is he gonna call or isn't he?) the pace was fast and there was always something zany happening in her life.

Reading this book left me feeling very, very thankful - That I don't have to wade through the single's scene anymore. It was hard enough in the 80's, let alone today. There is so much more to be aware of now, I'm not sure I could keep it all straight.

This is definitely a girlie read; I don't think the guys would understand it, let alone appreciate it. No, there's no men-bashing in this book, it simply points how differently men and women think.

The author has a really amusing writing style, sort of a tongue-in-cheek, cynical, yet vulnerable style. The author herself is the West Coast Editor for Elle magazine, so her views about relationships are a bit jaded (read too many of those "Does he love me or is he using me" sort of articles in "women's" magazines and it's bound to mess with your perspective) but I have to admit, her humor is what won me.

Do I recommend this book? Only if you don't mind profanity, though I will admit, it makes the characters more vibrant in a crude way.

It's a good book to read if you're depressed about your real-life relationship and need a funny story to cheer you up.

What did I take away from this book? That keeping flowery description out of prose and inserting realistic observations about life is sometimes the better route.

Moral: Life's too short to wait around for him to call.

January 30, 2005

Do You Have an Appointment?

What is he doing up there? Posted by Hello

I think the biggest reason I don't have short hair anymore is because then I would have to make more trips to the hairdresser. Going to the salon is the equivalent of going to the dentist - it's painful.

I HATE people messing with me.

First of all, I have to remember to make an appointment because nothing is more embarrassing than to walk into a salon, unannounced. Though salons advertise "walk-ins welcome", they aren't. Here's a scenario:

I walk in. Everyone waiting their turn looks up from their magazines, eyebrows raised with silent inquiry. They go back to their reading material silently thanking God that they are in line ahead of me (everyone knows that it takes longer when a woman has long hair).

I tiptoe up to the desk, "Um, excuse me."

The girl behind the desk is usually chewing gum and looks bored out of her mind. "Do you have an appointment?"

This question startles me: don't they have a sign that says, "Walk-ins Welcome?" "Um, no, I'm sorry, I don't."

"Hey Charlie!" The girl shouts over her shoulder to a big hairy, bald man who is ruthlessly jerking a girl's hair straight up with his sausage-like fingers.

The man grunts.

"How long is it gonna be before we can get a walk-in?"

"At least an hour," the man replies between a mouthful bobby of pins.

"Oh, ok. I'll just wait."

The girl shrugs carelessly.

I take a seat and subconsciously tuck my purse in my lap. The other patrons now glance up and give me the once over. I know what they're thinking: if you had made an appointment like the rest of us, we wouldn't be staring at you now.

Oh joy.

So, I've learned my lesson. I now make an appointment or I won't go at all. Problem number one taken care of. Now, when I walk in, they are expecting me and it's my turn to stare at the poor schmucks that took the "walk-ins welcome" sign literally.

Now comes the fun part.

"What do you want done today?"

"Well, just a trim. Well, actually," I dig into the side pocket of my purse and pull out a picture of Terri Hatcher. She's dressed to kill for one of the hundreds of actors awards shows. "I'd like something like her hair."

The hairdresser gives me a sympathetic look. I know she's thinking: "Honey, there is no way you're going to look like Terri Hatcher just because you have hair like hers."

Outloud she says, "Oh. ok. This shouldn't be too hard. Your hair is pretty similar now..." And the process begins. She grasps chunks of my hair and pulls it this way and that. She cocks her head to one side and studies me like I'm a science experiment. (Maybe I am!)

"Let's just get you wetted down."

I grimace but quickly recover with a wry grin. This is the part I hate the absolute worst. Having someone bend over me and wash my hair. The sensations are not bad. In fact, I sometimes get drowsy laying back while a complete stranger massages my scalp (not), but what I worry about the most is - do I have boogers sticking out of my nose? Does my breath smell bad? Do I have a makeup line? Can she see the clumps of mascara forming on the tips of my eyelashes?

Guys, you have it so easy.

Having another woman so close to me makes me uncomfortable. I can smell her deordorant for pete's sake! It's not natural. It's different when Kevin is so close he can see the crow's feet on either side of my eyes because he's not really paying attention to all the imperfections, he's thinking about something totally different.

But when another woman gets that close, you KNOW she notices. Now I feel self-conscious.

Then comes the embarrassing jaunt back through the shop to her workstation. Make way for rat woman! Other customers with wet hair smile at me - they understand the humiliation. But hey, we all have to suffer in the name of beauty, right?

When I sink back into the chair, I glance at the woman whom I am entrusting my biggest asset to. (That would be my hair, in case anyone was confused). She's young. Heck, she could be my daughter. Now comes the awkward silences. I actually prefer the chatty hairdressers to the quiet ones. The quiet ones make me nervous. Is she plotting against me? Is she tempted to sink those scissors into the side of my head? Is she biding her time when she can go "oops" and snip off the end of my ear?

So, I start talking. And talking. And talking. I can't shutup. I just start asking her all sorts of questions and I end up telling her things I've never even told my husband.

Hairdresser: Do you have a busy weekend planned?

Me: Oh, not really. The usual chores, laundry...you know. What about you?

Hairdresser: Oh, well I have to go to my mom's tomorrow and cut and style her hair.

Me: Oh no! That's sort of like my husband being an accountant and everyone asking him if he will do their taxes for them.


Hairdresser: Yeah.

Me: My mom looks really good for her age. No one ever guesses her true age............My mom cuts my dad's hair outside. I bet the neighbors really appreciate that. It's embarrassing. Sort of like one of those Jeff Foxworthy moments, "Yew know yer a redneck when you git yer haircut outside."


Me: I have an aunt who looks super good. She's trim, she has long hair, she keeps it colored.......That's why I have long hair. I think it makes a person look younger and I'll do everything it takes at this point in my life.......I was born and raised here in Springfield....

And on it goes.

When she's done, she asks if I would like her to style it for me. She's not very enthusiastic. I think she just wants to get rid of me by this time.

She is such a quiet, shy, sweet person I start feeling guilty for talking her ear off and tip her generously.

Should I have asked for her card? Would she have given it me?

January 29, 2005

No Autographs, Please

happyendings rock! Posted by Hello

Stand back, no autographs please. Yes, Yes, I knew happyendings when they were a garage band. No, I don't really have anything to DO with them, I'm just the aunt of the niece who is dating the lead singer, but it's fame by association!

A huge shout out and congratulations to the rock group happyendings!! They appeared on the front page of our local paper two days ago and their future is looking bright! Here's an excerpt of the article as printed in the Springfield News-Leader on January 27, 2005.

Local pop-rock band happyendings revealed Wednesday it has landed a major label contract with New York-based J Records, home to acts such as Maroon 5, Alicia Keys and Rod Stewart.

The deal is guaranteed for one album, and the label has an option for six more, the band said. It's been a long time coming for a band that has put more than 50,000 miles on a beat-up 1987 GMC van and claims to have made only $200 each playing music over the past five years. The rest of its earnings have been reinvested in equipment, studio time, gas and merchandise. Sold-out shows, unusually high support from local radio and rumors of label interest have placed happyendings at the top of Springfield's "most likely to succeed" list.

Best of luck guys, we're rootin' for ya! Visit their website and support our "homeboys!"

January 28, 2005

Don't Read This Entry

Lemony Snicket looks morose Posted by Hello

If I were you, I would click the "Next Blog" button right now and move on. There's really no sense in sticking around and reading this entry. You would probably have more fun mopping the floors, solving algebra problems or my personal favorite, scrubbing toilets. This entry will probably bore you - it certainly won't make your day. I'm sure you would rather visit the Merriam Webster website and learn about the word of the day or better yet, visit BoingBoing and learn about all things wonderful.

However, if you're feeling particularly blah and can't decide on whether it will be a good day or a bad day, then stick around, at least this entry will distract you from life's problems.

Lemony Snicket recently made an appearance at my son Blake's school. He selected 50 students at random and graciously hosted a luncheon where he answered their questions. One lucky student was picked to give him an interview. Guess who that lucky student was?

Blake was pretty nervous at first. But Snicket, true to the overall theme of his books, calmly sat and cleaned the dirt from under his fingernails, and acted totally oblivious to my son's shaky voice. He answered his questions and even offered some insights about his feelings on his wildly successful "Series of Unfortunate Events" books as an added bonus.

After obtaining answers to his questions, Blake then proceeded to write an interview. His teacher was so impressed she gave him an A+ and she read it to the class. (He begged her not to mention his name - he hates being the center of attention. I wonder where he gets that trait?)

Maybe I'm raising a future journalist?

P.S. Lemony Snicket didn't really come to their school but it was a cool segway, don't ya think? *grin* But Blake did write this interview and he did get an A+ and class recognition. What can I say? I'm a proud momma. By the way, you need Adobe Reader on your computer to read his interview.

January 27, 2005

Related to a Genius

Brother Jones' Artwork Posted by Hello

And now on to some happy homefront news: My nephew Keegan has won a Favorite Website Award! (FWA).

The people behind these awards can be found at their website,
Favorite Website Awards. They were established in 2000 with the sole intent of recognizing outstanding design and creative aspects of new websites. FWA has been listed as one of the top award programs, "one of the elite." This is quite an honor! Their criteria is listed on their website, but in a nutshell, the site must go through "an initial evaluation in all areas of the criteria." Assuming it passes muster at this level, the site then graduates to the next level where it must end up scoring a 90 or above in order to win the "FWA One Award."

In other words, the selection process is brutal.

The site was judged on:
design - 40%
navigation - 25%
content - 15%
graphics - 15%
personality - 5%

Keegan is almost seventeen years old. Yes, you read correctly. He's smart as a whip and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. This kid has a REAL future ahead of him. And I'm proud to call him nephew!

Check out the winning site,
www.brotherjones.com when you get the chance. Stick around, I'm sure there will be more great sites created by Keegan!

Congratulations Keegan!

January 26, 2005

Paper or Plastic?

I feel absolutely ridiculous! Posted by Hello

Believe it or not, this is a from a REAL Paris fashion show.

How does a person eat with that thing on? What if you had to sneeze or blow your nose (though I suppose you could just casually pat your nose and the material from the bag would take care of the rest). What if you wanted to kiss someone? And let's not forget that little insignificant thing called breathing. (Could a claustrophobic wear one?)

I suppose having a bag over your head would have some advantages; you could go without makeup and no one would be able to tell. You wouldn't have to kiss anyone. And it would definitely take care of those bad hair days.

Would it be a fashion statement? More like a faux pas. Though it wouldn't surprise me to see the "hipper" women on the east and west coast sporting these bags on their bleached blonde heads in the next few years. Crazier things have happened. Us good ole women in the Ozarks? Give us a pair of Levis and hiking boots and we're set.

Women have always had to make sacrifices for fashion. Men want us to look sexy, which is fine, but why do all the sexy clothes have to be so gosh-darn uncomfortable? To be deemed sexy, it must be tight. Wearing tight clothing is NOT comfortable. Not just because it constricts breathing and cuts off circulation but because it shows every little bump and protrusion from our bodies. That, in turn, makes us self-conscious for the whole day and you might as well forget going to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

And why does "sexy" clothing have to be 'dry-clean' only? This doesn't fly for a gal who's idea of ironing is throwing the article of clothing in the dryer for ten minutes.

I vote we start making sweats pants and tunic tops sexy. What do ya say, girls? Girls?

January 25, 2005

Writing Tells A Lot About You

Alphabet soup for the word deficient. Posted by Hello

Sticks and stones may hurt me, but words never will.


Language is actually very powerful. Words have the power to evoke nearly every emotion known. They even have the power to kill.

Physical wounds heal over time; mental wounds leave scars that often times, never fully recover.

The written word is even more powerful. Speaking, the words dissolve, disintegrate from our memories; the spoken word is forgotten to those few who were there to hear it. But the written word will stick around for years, it can't be taken back, many people will interpret the meaning behind the words incorrectly.

So if the written word is so potent, why don't people take more care in what they write? Whether you want to admit it or not, writing is a direct indication of your intelligence and it often tells people a lot about you.

For example: Have you ever read the book reviews on Amazon.com? I get tickled reading them. First off, the tone behind most of the reviews is one of arrogance. *Ahem* "I have read this book and even though I'm no expert, it doesn't appear the author knows what they are talking about." And you do?? Next comes the misspelled words. Most of the people who write the reviews with misspelled words are impulsive, rash, and conceited. The reviews that have a ton of misspelled words are written by passionate people, they felt strongly enough to give their two cents worth and yet they were conceited enough to simply hit the "submit" button without proofreading. If they aren't conceited, then they are certainly lazy.

Why would I trust a person's review/opinion who can't even spell "reveiw" right?

Whether you want to admit it or not, people judge you by the way you write. That's why it's so important to write, revise and PROOF your writing.

Do you see that button in the top right-hand corner of my page? "Next Blog." Do me a favor, hit that button, scan through a few blogs and count the number of misspelled words. What is your opinion of the people who wrote them? I rest my case.

*Disclaimer: I reserve the right to be human and I will say up front, I will make mistakes. But rest assured, they are mistakes due to oversight, not because of arrogance or laziness.

January 24, 2005

Don't Say the "M" Word

Oh my gosh. Good grief. Holy cow. Monkey tails. Innocent sayings in lieu of profanity. It warms my heart to hear my children, playing in the back room (they get one hour of video game time on school nights) to hear them exclaim, "Oh my gosh! He stole my hat AGAIN."

We must be doing something right. In today's society it seems the norm for people/children to simply utter curse words. I can't preach too loudly, I rather have a potty mouth on me - especially when I'm angry. (I have a fierce temper!) It makes me feel proud and guilty all at the same time when the kids are quick to point out, "Mom! You said a bad word." Does it make it okay to say curse words when you're angry?

What's the alternative?

I tell my children, "it's sometimes ok to say bad words when you're angry." Their eyes grow large and you can just tell they are dying to try out a few, just let them roll off the tongue, all in the name of "testing the waters." However, I have yet to hear them. I do hear Blake mumble under his breath from time to time and as long as I don't actually "hear" the words, I let it go. But is it ok to teach them to curse under duress?

I suppose my rationale for that is - it's better than hitting or throwing something. It's better than verbally hurting another individual for their own bad mood/disappointment. It's better than them holding in the anger and turning to drugs or something equally damaging. In my book, it's the lesser of two (or several) evils. Does that make it right?

What exactly is offensive about these "bad" words? After all, they are only words. A series of letters put together in a random order. And have you ever wondered who exactly deemed these words "bad?" My boys ask me that sometimes, I have no clue. Not only is it decided that that particular word will be considered "foul" but what motivates people to agree? I mean, for instance, I could start a rumor that the word "mud" is now a bad word. If you say mud, then you're a bad person and should have your mouth washed out with soap. (Soap: a dirty word for some people, let me tell you).

"But why is mud a bad word?" you might ask. "Because it implies all things dirty, therefore, it's a bad word." I guess if my explanation sounds good, you might go along with it and say, "Okay. From here on out, mud is a dirty word." Now comes the problem of publicizing it. Does one pay the media to start running ads about the newest taboo word? Can a person go to the bank and say, "I'm wanting to borrow some money so I can advertise the newest curse word." Are bad words the product of a domino affect? For instance, have you ever played this game: stand outside in a crowded area, look up and point. Act fascinated. I GUARANTEE you'll have people stopping around you and looking up to see what you're looking at.

Is that how the birth of a bad word happens?

Someone just says, "My pigs were having a heyday in the mud today." *GASP* "Please tell me you did not just say the M word."

"The M word?" your confused friend asks.

"Yes! Haven't you heard?" (This would be a good time to look around for any people who might be listening. Really heighten the suspense). "It's a bad word," you hiss.

Are people so willing to fit into society that they would go along with it? What does that say about our society?

January 23, 2005

24-Hour Job

Hello! Posted by Hello

This is me. :-)

Whew. It's been a long day and I can't believe it's over. Every single minute of my day was taken today. You know what's really tough? Being self-employed. Now that the laundry has been done, folded and put away, the floors have been mopped, my family has been fed and the kids have been put to sleep, it's now time for me to go to "work." Wendy's of Missouri http://www.wendysofmissouri.com runs spots to help make people aware of all the kids in the state of Missouri that need good homes. It's a worthy cause and I'm proud to be a part of it. Anyhoo, they gave me a tape with 13 spots on it that I have to convert from a VHS tape to a Windows Media file. No easy task, let me tell ya. Not to mention, it's time consuming.

I also received a newsletter from the middle school who's website I maintain and I have to update various parts of the site with that information. Another time consuming task. However, it's my "job."

Being self-employed is not all it's cracked up to be. Yes, I feel very fortunate that we're in a situation that I'm able to do that, however, working from home has drawbacks as well - you NEVER get away from your job. Imagine that for a minute.

It's been a long day. Your boss has been breathing down your neck about a project that needs to be completed yesterday. There are grants to write, there are reports to finish, papers to file - the day speeds by. Ahh...time to go home. Grab a quick bite to eat on the way home, kick your feet up and watch TV. Zone time. We all love a little zone time.

But what happens when you're self-employed? Here's my day:

Get up at 5;15 a.m. and work out.
Get home in time to take my oldest son to school. (Yes, I'm still sweaty and nasty)
Come home, jump into the shower.
Just finish drying my hair and it's time to take my youngest to school. (yes, I look really bad. Imagine frizzy bed hair and you have a good picture)
Come home, finish getting ready.
Catch up on emails. (This usually takes WAY longer than it should. I currently maintain four websites and am in the middle of building three).
IF I catch up on emails and website maintenance, I grab my laptop and head to the library to get some writing done. (Yes, it's true. I ACTUALLY DO write).

But alas, it's lunchtime and I'm starving because I forgot to eat breakfast - again. So, I hurriedly pack up my laptop (only 1000 words today? I'll do better tomorrow) come home, heat some soup, catch up on emails (yes, there are generally half a dozen waiting for me by that time).

It's now 1:00 and I have to leave in an hour and 15 minutes to pick up my middle schooler.

The beds haven't been made, the bathrooms are still a mess, and the kitchen has been hit by a tornado. I have just enough time to straighten up the house before I pick up son number one.

I get to the school at 2:15 p.m. I get there early because it's one of those six one way, half a dozen the other way situations. If I don't get there early, then I end up parking on the street as opposed to actually making it into the driveway of the school. This way, getting there early, I get a good "spot" and Blake can find me fast. What do I do for the 30 minutes I'm waiting? I'm usually brainstorming about my writing or I take a break and read. (Every writer MUST read. Am I right, writers?)

Blake gets out. I drop him off at home so he can have 30 minutes of solitude and get his homework done. I immediately head over to my youngest's school. He gets out at 3:25 p.m. It's now 3:00 p.m. Again, I catch up on work or read - depending on what sort of deadline I have coming up. Getting to my youngest's school early is not an option, it's a MUST. I have NEVER seen traffic so jam-packed in all my life. It's a true bottle neck. Couple that with the fact that people are generally inconsiderate and impatient and you have a recipe for disaster. Every parking space is taken, the field across the street (with the "NO PARKING" sign, how ironic is that), is jam-packed with cars. The car line is literally backed up into the street (it got so bad the city finally budgeted a two lane road in front of the school because traffic would be backed up for a mile). If I don't get there early, I won't actually get to pick Brandon up until 3:45 p.m. Yes, it's that bad. It's crazy, the chances people take with their children. You wouldn't believe the number of adults half-dragging their kids across the parking lot, weaving in and out of moving cars just to save a few precious moments. It absolutely boggles my mind.

We get home and the homework questions begin. The schools assign so much homework it's like I'm homeschooling them. This usually lasts until dinner (most times past dinner).

We have to eat.

I fix dinner. The hubby gets home. He's tired and wants to talk about his day. He needs and deserves my attention. We always sit around the dinner table and have dinner together. We rarely eat in front of the TV. After dinner, the kids finish up their homework, hubby cleans up (it's a deal we have - whoever cooks, the other one cleans up). The boys usually have math homework which is a taboo subject for me. I'm absolutely stupid in math. No, really. I'll be honest. Numbers and I...well, we just don't mix. Funny, I use to be a bank teller, (and damn good at it), go figure. (Was that a pun?)

While Kev is working with the boys, I'm usually wrapping things up on the computer and finally, shutting the thing down. (By this time, I'm so sick of looking at the thing I'm seriously thinking about throwing it out the window.

Kids go to bed, and me and Kev spend some time together. By this time it's 8:30 p.m. and I can barely keep my eyes open. I cautiously plan for tomorrow - I'm going to write 2000 words tomorrow! *snort* Yeah right.

The weekends are slower, but only just. There are chores to do, grocery shopping and of course the neighbor kids HAVE to come over and play. Again, today was completely busy because I had to "work." When you're a wife, a mother, and you're self-employed, the work never stops.

So let's see - a 9 to 5 job, or a 24-hour job. Which is better?

For me? The 24-hour job. I wouldn't have it any other way.

January 22, 2005

Let's get this party started!

Good lord, I've done it again. I've made a commitment to yet another writing project. Another, you ask? Visit my creative writing website and you'll see what I mean. http://www.take2max.com/creative.

Let me start this little online adventure by first introducing myself. My name is Karen M. and I'm from the heart of the Ozarks. I've been married for (almost) 15 years to a wonderful man and have two smart, attractive and sensitive boys. I have two life goals: one to graduate from college (which I did in December 2003) and two, to get SOMETHING published. I'm working on the second goal. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't done any creative writing since graduation. What have I been doing for the past year? Visit my professional website and find out. http://take2max.com/karen .

I won't bore you with all the details of my life, at least not in one post, but rest assured, that if you check back and read my contributions, you'll soon have a pretty good idea what makes me tick. I'm a pretty laid back, easy-going sort of woman, though I will say at the onslaught that I do have buttons. Stick around, they're bound to be pushed.

I'll sign off for now. Check back often!