I’ve gone Primal! Documenting my new Paleo/Primal Lifestyle

ImageI’m keeping this blog purely as my writer’s blog, but I thought I’d do a post to share what’s going on with me writing-wise and health-wise and give you a link to where I’ll be microblogging about my Primal lifestyle in case you’re interested.

I thought October I’d be using to brainstorm and plot a new novel for NaNoWriMo, but my agent nixed that. She doesn’t want me scattering my focus. Since I sent STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY out to my trusty Beta readers in the beginning of the month, it means I have nothing writing-wise to work on until that feedback comes in (next week for the last of it) and I can start revising it again. Luckily, this corresponded with my commitment to change my unhealthy eating habits. Since I’d reached a certain age, I’d started carrying an extra twenty pounds, but in this last year I added another ten, and my eating habits were getting horrible (sometimes having mini chocolate donuts, diet soda and popcorn for lunch).

After seeing pictures of myself at Dragoncon I finally had enough (it also didn’t help that none of my summer clothes fit me anymore), so I did a Master Cleanse diet. I’ve done them three times before in the past, and they always helped me kick my unhealthy eating and also drop 8-12 pounds. Also I normally only did it for 10 days. This time I did it for 18 days. I lost 12 pounds and about 5 inches off my waist! But normally you gain about half of it back, but I immediately switched to eating Primal/Paleo and I haven’t gained any of it back. I’ve now ended my third week eating Primal/Paleo.

Not having writing obligations has meant that I’ve been able to put my obsessive personality on learning the intricacies of eating and living this way, and use the time to learn and develop habits and shortcuts so that hopefully when I pick up writing again, it’ll integrate smoothly back into my life.

What is Primal?

primalIt’s a version of the Paleo Diet/Lifestyle, coined by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. Paleo is eating clean foods that don’t have any chemicals, preservatives or even additives like corn or soy. It also cuts out all grains. Primal is a little laxer, in that if you’ve done a 30-day strict elimination Paleo diet and then slowly add back some things like cheese or milk and it doesn’t bother you, then you can eat it (in moderation, i.e. it belongs in the tippy top of the eating pyramid). But it still needs to be clean, so my cheese is made from raw milk, as I have no problem with it. However, when I tried to add beer back into my diet (I love beer!) boy did it mess with my innards! So I’m going to have to learn to like red wine. Or try some gluten-free beer…

Anyway, if you’re interested in any of this, I started a tumblr blog, Primal FTW, so you can follow me there as I won’t be posting about it anymore on this blog.

What’s up with y’all? Have you started any new good habits?

The Sudden Loss of a Pet and a Warning: Beware of Thread

wpid-0901110900f.jpgDarcy and Bingley (Darcy’s on the left)

I thought I’d take a moment to eulogize Darcy, who had to be put down yesterday. By my calculations, he was probably born around now two years ago. The above photo I just pulled from my blog’s archive, and it was the very first photo in it. I guess I must have set my author bio page up first. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on it too much in this post because anyone who’s had a pet knows what it’s like and there’s no need for me to go into it here (and how wonderful he was), but it felt wrong not to mark it in some way on the blog, because he is a part of my bio, and just deleting him felt wrong. I still don’t know if Bingley will remain there or not. I’d also posted a blog post about him once, about his new-found skill in turning on a floor lamp in Kitteh Too Smart, and they’re both integral to Ack! I’m One of THOSE Now–How I Trained Myself to be a Morning Person…

This photo I also used with an agent I pitched to at RWA Nationals as my ice breaker because I knew she’d love it (and she did) and that agent later tweeted about it and was one of the ones who offered me representation.

Since my bio will change, I’m posting that paragraph here, so that it won’t just disappear into the ether:

I hate to admit it, but I do match the stereotype of a Romance writer by having cats. They are Darcy and Bingley, and they are two perfectly matched grays, how appropriate is that? Unlike their namesakes, they are brothers—a visiting cousin rescued them from a parking lot and I couldn’t resist keeping them. You actually can tell them apart–Darcy is slightly darker and hardly talks, and Bingley is a talker. Both are sweet and loving. Aptly named, no?

But this post isn’t completely self-indulgent. If you have string or thread laying around, beware! What killed Darcy was him swallowing a long length of sewing thread. Being ignorant of the dangers, when I saw it coming out of his butt, I snipped it off and waited to see if the rest passed. It didn’t. I brought him in yesterday, and when they opened him up, the thread had already wreaked havoc on his insides. The thread went from his tongue, out all the way through, and the swallowing action, plus the bowels trying to pass it, made it pull through his intestines. So the poor little guy had perforations through his intestines and colon.

New Year’s Blog Hop

Happy New Year - champagne and party decorationHappy New Year! One of the ways I’m celebrating the New Year is by participating in the New Year’s Blog Hop wherein other authors and bloggers are sharing memories, books and giving away tons of prizes. Each stop on the hop has a chance to win a prize (including me) and there’s an overall grand prize.

I thought I’d share one of my more memorable ‘goofs’–I’m a reasonably intelligent person but I can also be ditzy at times (that is possible). It usually has to do with me saying something without completely being aware of my surroundings or who I’m with.

This particular instance was when I was an exchange student in Finland. I’m a senior in high school, and my host father is a member of the Finnish government, so he brings me along with his family to the New Year’s Eve party at the British Embassy which he’d been invited to.

So here I am, completely out of my element at this fancy New Year’s Eve party at a freaking embassy (LOL) and lo and behold, the son of the ambassador is around my age and cute. We start talking and I’m thinking how cool and romantic this is and what a great story this would make (you know, how you do when you’re a teenager) etc, etc. We’re staring out of these huge windows out into the embassy grounds and there’s fireworks going off. Back where I grew up, we didn’t do fireworks on New Year’s Eve, so this was new to me. Anyway, all quite atmospheric and I’m probably nervous as hell talking to this guy.

So what do I say to this cute son of the British ambassador to Finland? “Doesn’t this remind you of The Fourth of July?”

Yep.

In my memory, and mind you this is almost thirty years ago, he looks at me, doesn’t say anything, and walks away. I’m sure it wasn’t quite that abrupt, but the reality is, he took me for an idiot and left shortly after I said that. And if he didn’t take me for an idiot, then he was assuming I was a smartass. Whatever it was, cool moment. Blown by me.

This might be why I like to write romantic comedies with intelligent women being goofy sometimes. My new release is an erotic geek romantic comedy called BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS.

Here’s the scoop:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Buy it now on:

Amazon | B&N | ARe

More ways to interact:

trailer | goodreads | shelfari

Prizes!!

So, I’m giving away a $5 Amazon Gift card to one commenter drawn at random. Just make sure to leave your email address in the comment box (not just in the box that asks for email) so that you’ll also be eligible for the grand prizes as well! 

Make sure to visit everyone else in the hop, as we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that’s not all….

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

  • 1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet (US & International)
  • 2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or B&N Gift Card (US & International)
  • 3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more! (US only)

To visit the other participants, visit the blog hop host and start hopping!

Blog hop winners will be picked on January 7th. 

Do you also have a memorable New Year’s Eve story you’d like to share?

Getting Around on the Webz: Links to Interviews

downloadContinuing with promotion week for BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS, here’s where I’ll be today!

Donna Cummings

Where we chat about geekdom, writing and tea!

Babette James

Where I share some inside scoops on writing, fave food, and an excerpt from the opening

Jessica Kong

Where I share my writing journey and aspects of my writing life

And word is, it will be available on Monday, Dec 24 on Amazon!

Secret Santa Blog Hop

tabiysnocturnanightsWelcome to my stop on the Secret Santa Blog Hop! We have lots of fabulous prizes for you, with several chances to win. I thought I’d share a true Christmas story from my life.

Have You Ever Been Desperate for a Christmas Tree?

We are notorious procrastinators in my family and we’ve been known to wait until the last minute to get a tree for Christmas. One year in particular was quite interesting. My parents were living in Brooklyn at the time (they moved up there from Florida–we also do everything backwards) and my brother and I arrived Christmas Eve I think. Anyway, it was pretty dang late to be getting a tree. We set out from their brownstone in Greenpoint and couldn’t find a single lot still selling trees. And remember, this is Brooklyn, so we were walking and I’m sure it was cold too!

We’d quite despaired of finding a tree until we were walking back home and, I kid you not, found one in a dumpster! We looked up and down the street and rustled that sucker out of the bin! It wasn’t in too bad shape, and still had some tinsel clinging to it–we figured someone had left to go out of town and disposed of it before they left.

We took our Charlie Brown tree home, put the squished side against the wall, and decorated it. It was beautiful! You couldn’t tell it had been in a dumpster… I swear!

Now, onto the prizes!

From me, you could win a PDF copy of my upcoming release BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS. You have three ways to get more entries. One for following my blog. One for leaving a comment and another for answering the question at the end.

Our Grand prize will be a Kindle Fire HD 7″, plus books to put on your Kindle. Here is a list of the books you will get:

Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage By Missy Martine
Anna Doubles Down By Missy Martine
Bait By Annie Nicholas
BB Dalton By Cat Johnson
A Cowboy For Christmas By Cat Johnson
Starved For Love By Annie Nicholas
Thoroughbreds and Tailer Trash By Bev Pettersen
Wolf’s Haven By Ambrielle Kirk
Lights Camera…Monsters By Lila Dubois
Logan’s Redemption By Cara Marsi
Samason’s Lovely Mortal By Tina Folsom
Eternity Embraced By Larissa Ione
Snow Bound By Larissa Ione
Deceptive Nights By Sylvia Hubbard
Parallel Visions By Cheryl Rainfield
Stones Revenge By Sylvia Hubbard
A Hidden Magic By Angela Benedetti
Big Trouble In China By CC MacKenzie
Dancing In Circles By Victoria Adams
Love’s Prophecy By Brenda Dyer
All In The Mind By Jenny Twist
Away With The Fairies By Jenny Twist
The Big Bad…Riding Hood Tale By Nina S. Gooden
Warm Christmas Wishes By Jenny Twist
Betrayed By The Incubus By Nicole Graysen
How to Woo A Reluctant Bride By Lyndi Lamont
Whisper Privileges By Dianne Venetta
Kill A Painted Pony By Kelsy George
Rapture Of The Deep By Kelsy George
Holiday Jinx By Abbey MacInnis

For instructions and more chances to win the grand prize, visit the hop host and keep hopping! For each stop, you increase your chances of winning the grand prize!

Here’s my question: Have you ever gotten your tree from a dumpster?

bigstock-Romantic-Santa-10536773

^^^
I think I know his answer ;)

_______________

Upcoming release, Beer and Groping in Las Vegas:

BEER cover smallContemporary Romantic Comedy
Secret Cravings Publishing
Release Date: December 19, 2012
Length: Novelette (13,500 words)
Price: 3.99
Content advisory: Adult language, explicit sex

Official blurb:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Available for pre-order

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop

Floral Background in Black and Gold ColorsWelcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love blog hop sponsored by Carrie Ann Ryan Blog Hops!

What is it about the holidays that makes us so giddy? Why is it that so many romances are set around the holidays? What’s your favorite holiday book? Your fave holiday romance? Tell us! We’re blog hopping to celebrate the holidays and our love of romance!

I thought I’d share what makes it special for me. I live in an historic house in Mobile, and I’m the 5th generation to live here. But before I moved here, I came for Christmas along with all my other kith and kin to celebrate. Of course food and drink were a big part of it. I learned how to make Old-Fashioneds from my uncle. Cousins Night was Christmas Eve, when my cousins and I would gather in one of the bedrooms and party and catch up on what we’d been up to the past year.

But of course, coming from an old Southern family, we have some traditional foods, and I’m going to give you the recipes!  My great grandmother (whom I knew as she lived until 96) we called Grandy, and this is her Charlotte Russe recipe, which we have two gorgeous bowls designated specifically and only for this dish:

Grandy’s Charlotte Russe

2 pints cream
1 pkg lady fingers
6 tbsp sugar
2 envelopes gelatin
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 cups milk

Separate eggs. Heat milk in double boiler. Beat egg yolks and 2 tbsp sugar. Add to milk when hot. Wet gelatin, then dissolve in boiling water. Add some of egg  mixture then add gelatin to milk and cook until mixture begins to thicken, cool. Whip cream in bowl set in ice, use cold beaters. When stiff add 2 tbsp sugar. Add cool egg mixture to this. Beat egg whites, when stiff add 2 tbsp sugar. Fold into cream, add vanilla and almond. Pour into bowl lined with lady fingers. Chill.

Whew! This is our traditional Christmas dessert and Grandy made it this way unless she ran out of time, then she made it the following way. No one knew the difference until she later told my aunts and shared the recipe. Of course, this is how we make it now:

Grandy’s Easy Charlotte Russe

1 pint whipping cream
1 envelope gelatin
6 tbsp sugar
3 egg whites
2 tbsp sherry, amaretto or vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water
1 pkg lady fingers

Whip cream, when stiff, add 3 tbsp of sugar. Moisten gelatin in cold water, add 1/2 cup boiling water, stir to dissolve. Stir constantly to avoid lumps. Whip eggs, when stiff add rest of sugar. gently fold egg whites into cream. Strain cooled gelatin into mixture gradually, stirring constantly. Add sherry. Pour in bowl lined with lady fingers and decorate with cherries. Chill until set.

Another traditional Southern Christmas dessert is rum balls, and this is my other great grandmother’s recipe (whom I also knew because she lived into her 90s!). We called her Grandmère (this is in Mobile, original capital of French Louisiana and we’re from some old Creole families)

Grandmère’s Rum Balls

1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 cup rum

Crush wafers, finely chop nuts, mix all together well and form into balls. Store btween wax paper in a jar and let sit for several days.

Inspired? Hope you enjoy them!

As part of the hop, we’re giving away prizes!

I’m giving a $5 Amazon gift card to one commenter, just make sure you include your email address in your comment.

By commenting you also get a chance at THREE grand prizes. You can go to EACH blog in the hop and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

  • 1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
  • 2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
  • 3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

Be sure to visit the main host site to hop over to other participants and win more goodies!

BEER cover smallMy upcoming release:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

pre-order - trailer - goodreads - shelfari

What about you?  What’s your favorite holiday book? Your fave holiday romance? Do you have some traditions that make it special?

EDIT: Clarification on commenting. If you only leave your email in the space provided for comments, you’ll only be eligible for my prize, as I’m the only one who can see it. If you want to win one of the grand prizes, you need to put your email address in the comment box too, so that the hop organizers that visit each stop can tally up and pick winners….

Ack! I’m One of THOSE Now–How I Trained Myself to be a Morning Person…

funny pictures - mornings

Today I’m going to share a little personal journey and how it affected my writing in case it might inspire you to become… GASP… a morning person!

I’m in my mid-40s now, and I only share that so that you understand how long I’ve NOT been a morning person. In fact, I was one of those that stared at those chipper morning people with a curl of the lip and total incomprehension (you mean you choose to wake up earlier than you have to??). I was notorious for missing morning classes in college and I usually tried to escape that fate by never even scheduling one before noon, if I could manage it. In fact, at one point, in order to make sure I stopped hitting snooze until it gave up, I had to place the alarm clock clear across the room. I was the Snooze Queen all the way up until a year ago. It wasn’t unknown for me to set it for one hour earlier than need be just so I could have time to hit the snooze button. I know, that doesn’t make any sense, but there it is.

I can’t stress enough how much I hated mornings and wanted to squeeze out just ten more minutes of blissful sleep. But it used to annoy me when morning people would get pissed at me as if I were lazy. I mean, I was up far later than them doing stuff and I’m not talking about the occasional hangover type I-hate-mornings because I was up too late partying, I mean like reading, creating, brainstorming, what have you. I was more productive in the evenings, it seemed, and I just wanted my eight hours of sleep, dangit, just like they got because they went to bed early. Jeez.

Anyway, that all changed a year ago today when this happened, courtesy of a visiting cousin who found them abandoned:

The irony is, I started waking up early and became a morning person precisely because I wanted to avoid this:

advice animals memes  - Animal Memes: The Most Interesting Cat in the World: Maybe He's Got Something Important to Say

I absolutely did NOT want to have Alarm Clock Kittehs, because, you know, I valued my sleep so highly. So I trained them not to be and the result: WIN for my writing! Basically I figured that if they learned that I awoke only when my alarm rang and not because of paws in faces, meows or anything else, they’d eventually get it. I also didn’t feed them when I first got up. And remember when I said I already had my clock set an hour early to give me time to hit snooze for an hour? Well, I didn’t change it from 8 a.m. for some reason that I don’t rightly remember. So I pretended to sleep from about 6 (or whatever ungodly time the kittehs had to play roller derby on my person) until the alarm rang and I’d bound up like nobody’s business, trying to give off vibes that THIS is what gets me up, that noise you just heard, evil kittehs. And believe it or not, it worked. They might still accidentally wake me up on occasion because they decided to play, but they don’t do it with intention like I’ve heard of other cats doing so they can be fed and petted. Yay!

Anyway, I started using that extra time to do things and it was a revelation for me that I could enjoy a leisurely cup of tea and get things done before I had to go to work. Weird. Also that scratchy/fuzzy-eye feeling which made me think I had to hit snooze to appease it? It goes away! Who knew. One thing you need to know is that I don’t drink coffee, so I have to wake up naturally.

Later in the summer, I got really involved in critiquecircle.com and started using that extra time critting on that site. I then decided to set my alarm for GASP 7:30 to give me more time to crit. This came in handy when I started to blog and tweet in September. I devoted that free time to my writing career and haven’t looked back.

Recently, I took Candace Havens Fast Draft class and used that time to knock out a chunk of my daily quota. I blogged about the FastDraft experience a couple of weeks ago. On day 2 I realized that 7:30 wasn’t enough time, so I set my clock for 7:00 and that extra half hour really helped. I also discovered something shocking–I came up with more creative stuff in the morning than I did at night! And I always had believed I was at my most creative in the evenings!

Class has been over since the end of May, and I’m still waking up at 7 and devoting that time to my writing career, be it writing, querying, reading blogs, revising, critting, what have you.

Not too long ago, I was on the receiving end of the lip curl/stare of incomprehension when I told someone about this new behavior of mine. They looked at me and cut me off to impart that, No, they really liked their sleep, they couldn’t possibly do this. They then went on to explain how much and I’m nodding, thinking, yes yes, I used to be that way too, but the person didn’t believe me. She really thinks she somehow likes her sleep more than I do. I never did get a chance to explain. Oh well.

I’ve also discovered some other side effects. Twice my alarm hasn’t gone off, and now when I wake up in a panic it’s not 10 minutes before I have to be at work. I still have TIME. It also came in handy at my first writer’s conference when I was assigned 9 am slots for pitching. I didn’t bat an eye. For RWA, I actually CHOSE morning slots! Whoah.

What about you? Have you converted? Do you have a set time you devote to writing?

It’s Carnival Time!

Unless you’ve had reason to be in Mobile at some point in your life, or have ever met a Mobilian, you probably don’t know that Mobile is home to the original Mardi Gras celebration in America, fifteen years before New Orleans was even a twinkle in some founder’s eye.

You see, we were the first capital of French Louisiana and we also still retain some of our French heritage. In fact, I’m a descendant of an old Creole family.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, mainly to let you know that I will not be posting a Weekend Grab Bag on Saturday, or a Monday Hunk Who Reads. I will, however, be posting my Six Sentence Sunday (got it queued and tweet scheduled) but I might not be able to return comments until after Tuesday, cuz, you know, IT’S CARNIVAL TIME!

Some differences compared to New Orleans

  • Our parading and ball societies are not called Krewes, but Mystic Societies
  • Our colors are purple and gold, not purple, green and gold. However, since New Orleans eclipses ours, it’s hard to find decorations to buy that don’t have green in it.
  • Our king is King Felix III, not King Rex. Last year I was at the coronation of the Queen, and for the first time, an emissary from King Rex came and paid obeisance to our king, acknowledging (finally) that our Mardi Gras is older.
  • No flashing of boobies for beads (yay!)
  • We keep the MoonPie makers in Tennessee in business, as that’s one of our traditional throws, unique to Mobile. I remember being at my first Mardi Gras in high school (we’d come to Mobile for a visit) and everyone around me screaming “MoonPie!MoonPie!MoonPie!” as the floats rolled by.
  • And like any folkway, we have different traditions that have evolved, just like they have. Here we have Joe Cain Day on Sunday, and his Merry Widows (all twenty!) hand out black roses. The oldest parading society here, OOMs, have as their emblem float Folly chasing Death around a broken column (picture at top of blog post), and many other customs.

New Orleans also incorporates their debutante season into Carnival season, but not sure if it’s as extended as ours. The official start of The Season here is the Camellia Ball after Thanksgiving, then the debutantes and their escorts attend parties from that time forward (just like you read in Regency romances!) until they are presented in elaborate court dress on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday to the King and Queen.

Balls!

Are a lot of fun, though this will be the first year since I moved here in 2009, that I will not be attending one (I don’t think– have received last minute invites before. I’ve learned to get dressed in floor-length ball gowns in 15 minutes!) There are only a few for which you can purchase tickets, the rest are invitation only. Many have their own King and Queen and they put on elaborate tableaus before the dancing starts.

Women must wear full-length gowns and men white tie and black tails, known as costume de rigueur. My heroine in MUST LOVE BREECHES, was a debutante in Mobile and so I do have some flashbacks chronicling this little bit of Mobile history.

Here’s some pictures of me during past pre-ball parties:

So, laissez les bon temps rouler! See ya on the flip side…

What’s your most dorktastic moment? I’ll tell ya some of mine!

Hmm, actually not sure what qualifies…. which to choose? I was thinking about the comments people left on last Sunday’s post, and about how my main character Isabelle’s assessment of her situation seemed to strike a chord with some folks (not in an earth-shattering, clouds-part-and-light-beams-sear-downwards kind of way, but you know, they-could-relate kind of way).

I haven’t had that exact experience she relates, I don’t think (Listen to me! Jeez, I only caught this on the third read that this makes it sound like Isabelle actually exists and related this experience). Anyway, I have a weird memory that glosses over or forgets unpleasant things. But I felt like I’d been there. I know I have definitely dressed up in some awesome Halloween outfits with no thought to sex appeal and been out-gunned at parties with guys not even noticing me. I’ve also taken things really seriously and shown up to events super excited and been let down big time. So I wanted to tap that for her time at the ball. I was also the kid that totally loved school supplies. Still love wandering the aisles of Office Depot.

Anyway, so I thought I’d share some dorky things I’ve done and open the comments for your stories. It’s honestly hard to pick things out because I’m pretty much a geek-dork all the time and it’s hard to look from a stranger’s or friend’s perspective to say “no, THIS was the most dorktastic.” In college my friends called it “pulling an Angie.”

So let’s see what I can remember (arguably some of these might be more geeky than dorky):

Playing dress-up for a really weird reason

I’ve never told anyone this story because I cringe thinking about how utterly dorky this is, but when I was around 8 or 10  or so (God, I hope it wasn’t later than that), I remember that we (the family) went to eat at a Longhorn Steakhouse and I felt like I had to absolutely be in character for it and so I dressed up in my best cowboy outfit a Florida girl could muster and sauntered in with my thumbs hooked in my belt loops. I probably even said “howdy, pardner,” to the waitress, but you know, the glossed-over memory thing. Sigh.

Needing to keep a record of things

In college in the late 80s we had a pretty awesome music scene in Atlanta and Athens. Never told this to anyone either, but I used to keep index cards of every band I saw, with notes, and marked down each time I saw them. I kept them hidden away. Actually, I think it was also of bands I hadn’t seen, too. Kind of like a cheat sheet/flash card kind of thing. Christmas break of my sophomore year, however, my roommate and I sublet our apartment to two punk rock dudes, one of whom was British, and I was so worried they’d find that stash (and how embarrassing that would be) and so I threw them out! I still think about that every once in a while and regret that I did that, as it would be an awesome trip down the ole memory lane.

My first fan girl experience

Had a huge crush on Shaun Cassidy in the late 70s. I had it so bad, I used to use his album cover as a make-shift lap table/plate and eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches off of it while listening to Da-Doo-Run-Run and staring at his dreamy face, etc. Anyway, my love could not be contained and I wrote him to let him know and asking for an autographed photo. I enclosed an autographed photo of myself in exchange. (I still giggle at this, but at the time I was completely serious).

As a side note to this: I was kinda crushed I never got a letter back with photo. Years later when my parents were packing up to move to NYC, my mom called me and said, “Guess what I found! Your letter to Shaun Cassidy!”  Turns out she’d gone out to the mailbox and retrieved it (hey Mom, that was a federal offense), thinking I’d love to see it when I grew up. She didn’t quite get the reaction she’d expected, as I was kinda miffed. I actually never did see it as I was in college in Atlanta at the time. Mom, you still have it?

Body betrayals for that oh-so-wacky fun time

This one is called the Toe Spasm Story by my friends and is kind of a cross-over with Embarrassing Moments In High School.

At my Catholic high school, we had a Sadie Hawkins dance and I’d screwed up the nerve to ask a cute, popular guy I had a crush on. He said yes, much to the shock of my teammates on the volleyball team. I was riding high for a bit until rumors reached me that he really didn’t want to go with me, but with Tiffany (not real name) and so I let him off the hook. I was pretty crushed, but still determined, and so I asked this guy on my track team who was nice. He said yes.

Fast forward to a couple of days later and we’re all at a party at my best friend’s house, and being in Florida, it was also a pool party and she lived on the bay with a dock, etc. So here I am in the pool, testing my flirting skills (I SUCK at flirting) by splashing water at the guy I’d asked (let’s call him Toby). He’s splashing back. There’s some giggling. All going good. Yeah, me! Then my big toe cramps up Big Time. I scramble out of the pool and sit on a deck lounger while my big toe hurts like freakin’ hell. Everyone, and it seemed like friggin’ everyone, gathers around my big toe and watches. As. It. Spasms.

Needless to say, it was all rather embarrassing. After my toe quit making a spectacle of itself, I looked around for Toby and he was nowhere in sight. I wandered outside and who do I see at the end of the dock holding hands with Tiffany’s best friend? Yep, Toby. After all this, that damn dance didn’t even take place.

Anyway, I think I’ll stop there as I’m not really sure that anyone would find this remotely interesting. And these might not even be the dorkiest. I just don’t know.  Looking back I wonder if this is one of the reasons I’ve been single most of my life. I don’t appear to be particularly geeky or dorky on the outside, so when my dork side (get it? Star Wars pun?) appears, it throws a guy off. Not what he was expecting. And the geeky guys are just too dang shy.

Anyway, I know y’all must have some good stories to share!

What’s your most dorktastic moment? And I know I’m conflating dorks and geeks, but I’m kinda both…

Kitteh Too Smart.

Darcy and Bingley

One of the kittehs (I suspect Darcy) learned a new skill at 6:15 in the friggin morning. Turn on the standing lamp!

*bang*bang*

Something metallic is hitting metal. I get up to investigate. The light is on. I move a nearby perch, thinking that was how the little sh- (nice kitty) was getting to the pull chain. Crawl back under warm covers. Ah. Two seconds later:

*bang*bang*snick* light pops back on. I flop over to that side of the bed, open a bleary eye and one of them is hanging by a claw to the pull cord like an NBA star after a slam dunk.

Really kittehs?

Last week it had been bang-the-really-heavy-rope-mouse-hard-enough-against-the-bathroom-door-over-and-over-until-the-door-opened. For the last five months, it had been just a neglected scratching device hanging from the door knob. After the third night of this I removed it. They’re really good about using their regular scratching post, so if this is only used for opening the door and waking me up, forget it kitteh.

For some reason, I feel really guilty taking these new discoveries away from them. For the pull cord, I just plopped the ball up into the brim of the hat (the shade is like an old-fashioned ladies’ hat). But as I crawled back into bed, I wondered if during the evening, when I’m not at home, maybe they’d just like the light on and I’m taking that away? Maybe I’ll just put it away at night… Maybe I’m thinking about this too much. *Going to make some more hot tea to wake up*

Got any smart kittehs in your house? What have they figured out?