How to Train Your X-Men


Two movies, same review:  Loved it.

I rarely go into movies unspoiled.  I like to know what happens, first of all, and I like to be able to decide if a plotline is worth my time.  Also, if I care about a character, I get anxiety–I can’t enjoy the movie for worrying.  However, for both the new X Men movie, and How to Train Your Dragon 2, I went in knowing little-to-nothing.  So, I’m not going to tell you anything other than GO SEE THEM BOTH NOW.  AT THE SAME TIME.  TWICE.  Really.

Okay, I’ll tell you to take Kleenex to Dragon.  Thor said, “You got really upset.  I saw you cover your mouth.”  LOL.  Yes.  I did.  No shame.

I will also tell you that now I understand all the fuss over Michael Fassbender.  I still prefer Loki to Young Magneto, but it’s close.  Very close.

While you are looking up showtimes, why not tab over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Playing All the Angles?  It’s only $2.99 on Kindle.  Also $2.99 on the Nook, if that’s your preference.  Or, pick up a paperback at your favorite bookstore.

 

#bragging #sorry #worththebloodsweatandtears


The only thing I love more than the smell of books, is the smell of my own books.

The only thing I love more than the smell of books, is the smell of my own books.

 

The only thing I love more than a shelf full of books at the bookstore, is my book on a shelf full of books at the bookstore.

The only thing I love more than a shelf full of books at the bookstore, is my book on a shelf full of books at the bookstore.

 

The only thing I love more than a stack of my books, is TWO STACKS OF MY BOOKS!  (And red velvet cake pops--I might love those more.)

The only thing I love more than a stack of my books, is TWO STACKS OF MY BOOKS! (And red velvet cake pops–I might love those more.)

Grab Bag of Thoughts


This is the first time I’ve sat down at my computer in a week. If you’d told me, fifteen years ago, that one day I would be able to use my telephone to do everything I had to wait to get home to do on my PC, I would have just thrown my wallet at you and yelled, “TAKE MY MONEY! I WANT THAT!” Kind of like I do with my phone service provider every month. (Side Note: Thor plays games on my phone. I’ve just had to remind him that if a call comes through while he is playing, he needs to let me know, as that is the primary function of the phone. He looked at me like I was nuts. He probably sees me talk on it once every two months.)

It’s been a good week, ramping up for today’s book signing at Barnes & Noble. I’ll be at the Southlake, Texas location from 2-4pm today. Stop by and say hello. Have a cake pop. I made cake pops. No tiaras this time ;)

So, in 45 minutes I get started on hair and makeup. I seriously considered going to a new makeup shop I heard about, and having them do me up professionally. If they’d had an appointment in the required time frame, I would have. Alas. It’s probably for the best, considering I’ve never walked away from a makeup artist’s chair going, “Wow! I look amazing!” I usually walk away going, “So this is what it would look like if I’d made a truly bad turn in my life.”

Speaking of truly bad turns, I finally started watching Orange is the New Black. It took me a few episodes to get into it and care, but now I’m committed. I’ll be writing about it eventually. I watched episode 10 of Season 1 last night, and I cried like a wounded thing. I saw the pay off coming a mile away, but it was really beautifully done.

How do you help the hopeless?

I worked within the charter program of the Teen Court from the time I was thirteen, until I was twenty-one, and for the last four of those years, I sat on the Board of Directors. That’s a lot of what kept me out of trouble, in that the kids who knew where to find the trouble weren’t inviting me to attend.  And I was never brave, or bored enough to go looking for it beyond the public library, where I would go when I skipped school.

I’m lucky, though. I’ve always had a home, hot water, food, air conditioning, a car, gas for that car, parents who made me go to school (even if they weren’t aware I frequently left after going,) clothes, a bed to sleep in, and people who cared about me. I had first-world, white girl problems, which were very real to me, but which were had in the comfort of my own double bed, and cried out into all the pillows decorating it.

In an early episode of OITNB, Piper’s annoying mother comes to visit. She is complaining to another inmate who has had no visitors, and Nickie tells her she has no place to complain.

Piper: We all have our shit.
Nickie: Yeah, and some of it smells better than others.
Piper: You have no idea what my shit smells like!
Nickie: (leaning in and sniffing) It smells like Shalimar. Must have rubbed off when she hugged you.

It was a great scene, and there’s a lot of truth to it. We do all have our problems, but if you’re reading this, you’re several steps ahead of the woman in Haiti, who is living in a tent, trying to keep her family safe from the elements and physical harm. Or the girls stolen by Boko Haram. Or the family that just moved in to the shelter because they just couldn’t make ends meet.

I think we have to own our problems, and feel our tragedies, but we have to do so in perspective. Yes, I got a painful rejection letter back from an agent. But, I also have an education, the ability to write, and the wherewithal to send a submission in the first place. How many people out there would give an eye tooth just to know how to read? So, I can be sad that I was rejected, but no, I am not allowed to wallow and be depressed about it. I just need to write something better. Work harder.

And help someone else.  Dear lord–just stop thinking about myself for five minutes.

Yeah, these are the deep thoughts I think while watching television. That’s what makes it good television–I’m forced to think.

Right now, I have to think about fixing my first-world, problematic white-girl hair, and hope I can get it to hold shape. If I’m asking people to buy a romance novel, I shouldn’t look like the Winter Soldier.

What I want it to look like:

The perfect Peggy Carter bob.

What humidity does to it:

Versus the Bucky Barnes bob.

25 Years Ago…


I went to two different high schools, so I get to celebrate two 25 year reunions this summer. I went to the first, last night.

29 years ago, in 1985, I started high school at Ursuline Academy. It was the 4th school I’d attended since arriving in Texas in 1981. I distinctly remember being dropped off before the front doors were open, and sitting down on the front steps feeling nervous, afraid, and a little ugly with my boy-short hair, braces, and tea-length uniform skirt. Okay, I felt a lot ugly.

That's me Freshman year.  I'm on the bottom row, second from right.  You'll note how much longer my skirt was than the average, and how much shorter my hair.

That’s me Freshman year. I’m on the bottom row, second from right. You’ll note how much longer my skirt was than the average, and how much shorter my hair.

To my great relief, another Freshman arrived just after me. She also had boy short hair and a way-too-long skirt. We bonded over being a) Not Catholic, Going to Catholic School, b) having short hair, c) being dropped off so early, d) not knowing anyone else starting that year, and e) being terrified. Alas, our last names and class schedules separated us almost immediately, and I only saw my friend now and then at lunch.

Not gonna lie: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

When I was talking to my former classmates last night, that was the grand consensus. We were nervous. We felt awkward. We wanted to be liked, but weren’t sure how to go about it. Some of us asserted ourselves, some of us subverted ourselves, some of us were aggressive, some of us were invisible, nearly all of us were sure we were doing it wrong. I was sure I was doing it wrong. I still feel the need to apologize to everyone who knew me between the ages of 15 and 23. If you knew me in between those ages, I am so sorry! Ha!

I did not graduate from Ursuline, so I missed out on the big, floppy hats that go along with their all-white ceremony. Instead, I graduated in Gopher Blue.

I used to be so young!

I used to be so young!

By the time I graduated, I’d had my braces off for nearly 6 months (5 more days to make my braces off anniversary of January 9, 1989,) grown out my hair, and had a little more control over my hemlines. I was still nervous, awkward, and never really felt entirely comfortable in my skin. That wouldn’t happen for another 10 years. I’ll let you know when I get past feeling nervous and awkward in large groups.

An example of a Senior year hemline.  Although, I don't think I ever wore a skirt that short without some sort of opaque legging.  And a turtleneck.

An example of a Senior year hemline. Although, I don’t think I ever wore a skirt that short without some sort of opaque legging. And a turtleneck.

It’s been 25 years since I walked across the stage to collect my diploma. My strongest memory from the night is of watching a swarm of gnats fly around the head of the girl sitting in front of me. They were running circles on her hat, and zooming in and out of the massive mane of 80s perm she wore. I remember sweating. I remember wishing people would stop talking and just let us be finished with things. I remember relief and regret in equal amount.

I swore when I walked out of that Gopher Bowl, I would never look back.

Five years ago, I went to my 20th reunion and reconnected with some of the people I’d known since 7th grade, and some I’d only met at the end of my high school career. I found out we’d all grown up. I found out we were all pretty decent people. I made new friends out of old ones. It worked out pretty well for me.

25 years later.  Still on the bottom row, this time, third from the right, wearing a hat that is too small, and a watch that is too big.  Maybe one day I'll get the proportions down.  At least it wasn't a fake smile this time!

25 years later. Still on the bottom row, this time, third from the right, wearing a hat that is too small, and a watch that is too big. Maybe one day I’ll get the proportions down. At least it wasn’t a fake smile this time!