Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"This is gonna suck."
"Where the hell is this place?"
"We're never going to be able to get out of here."
"Who's going anyway?"
We ended up at a farm house, complete with horses, in the middle of nowhere. We rolled our eyes at each other, and on the count of three, jumped out of his Jeep and ran inside.
Cheers greeted us. Every Jersey friend I had was in that house. Homemade food covered the kitchen countertops. Jersey bands blasted through the stereo system and people danced in the living room. We drank way too much, sang way too loud and slept four to a bed, sofa or chair.
It was one of the best New Year's Eves I've ever had. And to think I'd been so pessimistic.
But that's the thing about New Year's Eve. All that build up. The "biggest night of the year." Even when you plan something special, it usually entails long lines, high prices and a battle to get home safely.
And when you think it's going to be a great one, it usually disappoints. Then when you think it's going to suck, like that Jersey party, it just might rock.
The trick is to keep it simple. And to not get wrapped up in crazy expectations. So this year, my friend J is hosting a party at H's. She threw it out wide, just a few days ago. So who knows who will or won't come. But it doesn't really matter. At this point, we could have a fun in a cardboard box.
So...what are your plans for the big night?
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
There's got to be a better way to deal. What do you do when you can't sleep?
Monday, December 29, 2008
No matter where I am, it's a yearly ritual to forgo the TiVo and pay homage to one of my favorite things.
What movie will you watch on TV - commericals and all?
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Like no matter where my cousin Michael stood, the wind would shift and the fire would blow sparks in his direction.
Which got me thinking, what's following you?
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Snow falls softly
On this mountain
Mom’s singing floats up from the kitchen
Upstairs, I wrap homemade memories
And wait for Santa and his wife to arrive
We stoke the fire, master puzzles and eat more cookies
Leaving last night’s shrieking winds behind
Along with palm trees and cross continental worries
Because right here
At 1800 feet
Surrounded by green mountains
Everyone is safe
How's your day?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Unlike the other idyllic families, before we joined the other carolers, we scoured the attic and delved into closets to find the ugliest hats we could. Cowboy hats, hideous wide brimmed 80's fashion statement gone awry hats, orange hunting caps complete with ear flaps - whatever we could find. Then we'd head down to the event, a little noggy, and sing very loudly.
Our favorite song was "We Three Kings," thanks to Ruthie. One year, after a wee bit of wine, she approached the upswing of "ohOHHH star of wonder, star of night" with such gusto, that we mad hatted hooligans could only join her in uproar. Which in turn, caused the sober town natives to turn around and glare at us.
Therefore creating a tradition within a tradition.
Now, since my parents have retired to Vermont, we've created another tradition in an even more idyllic town. Every Christmas Eve we attend services at a tiny church. (We're talking eight pews here.) My sister and I elbow each other. Giggle over the choir singers. And once mortified our parents by stuffing $2 (We were broke!) in an envelope and writing "From the Pruiksma Children" on it, as if we were 3 and 4 year old girls - not 33 and 34 year old women.
And of course, we still sing very loudly.
So, whatever holiday you might be celebrating, what are some traditions you have?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Bar like areas dotted with flat screen monitors pop up every gate or two. I had no idea what they were, so I touched the screen and discovered that this is where I should order breakfast. After selecting granola and yogurt and swiping a card, I turned on my laptop and discovered free Wifi, which sounds like a given, but it's not. At Burbank you have to pay for it. And at LAX, (at least in United's terminal) they don't even have it. They have little kiosks where you can access emails, but no way to use your own computer to go online and let's say, blog.
Last night, as I boarded the plane, I was handed a "Snooze Pack," including an eye mask and ear plugs. I already had my own, but what a nice treat that would be for a lesser prepared traveler, right?
Anyway, all this got me wondering about what it is that makes holiday travel bearable for other people. Wifi? Earplugs? Ipods? Granola in a flash?
What does it for you?
Monday, December 22, 2008
We told ghost stories, talked writing, ate mounds of mac and cheese, drank wine, welcomed warm neighbors who just happened to stop by and laughed until we cried.
It was my favorite event this season so far. What's yours?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We went to Sunset Foot Massage where they do crazy reflexology on your feet. It's amazing how tapping the end of your toes can increase cognizance. (Supposedly. I have no proof.) But we're not just talking about tapping here. We're talking about rubbing knuckles into the bottom of your feet so hard that there are moments when if you could only loosen your leg from the man's evil grasp, you would.
But 40 minutes of hardcore foot pummeling is worth the pain. I mean, knowing that my feet are free of toxins and super relaxed is serious peace of mind, isn't it?
But because we're "why not go for it all" kind of girls, we went for the "Nirvana" experience. Forty minutes of foot massage and an hour full body massage. Idiots.
So after our feet were flimsied, we followed two men upstairs into a little room and lay down on massage tables. That's when the real pain began.
These men jabbed us with elbows. In our shoulder blades, backs, and butts. I tried to breathe through it and huffed heavily as this man poked, rubbed and prodded my left shoulder blade. I drooled through the face doughnut and prayed.
I yelled, "Ow!"
The man pressed hard on a superball sized knot in my back. My leg flew up in the air. He sat on it. Then he attacked my left arm. My fingers went numb in response. I huffed and puffed. He pressed on.
"Too hard!" I yelled.
The men kept on beating us. I stared at the carpet, tried to think happy thoughts and breathed like an obscene caller. The man shoved his elbow into my butt cheek.
"Uhhh!" I moaned.
He rubbed my tailbone. I don't think anybody has EVER rubbed my tailbone.
I felt violated. Yet I giggled at the insanity. Was this really happening?
He told me to roll over. I thought about running out of the room, but I obediently flipped over. And as that strange man massaged my inner thighs (WHAT?!?!) I wondered if this was legal. Just as I was about object, he shifted to my stomach and began to rearrange my organs. (At least that's what it felt like.)
When it was finally over, H looked like she'd been run over. My hair Chaka Kahned in every direction as we stumbled onto Sunset Boulevard.
We burst out laughing.
"All I could think that whole time was, 'when is this man going to stop hurting me?'" H said.
"I seriously feel like I've been beaten." I moved gingerly toward my car.
"But can you move your head?"
I slowly turned my head, all the way from right to left.
"Why yes, yes I can," I said.
"So was it worth it?"
That's debatable. My right butt cheek is bruised. There are small thumb prints around my left shoulder blade and the toes on my right foot are numb. But, I can move my head.
So people, we want to know, when is the pain worth it?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
So last night, H and I threw a margarita party at Brian's - because he said we could.
He's got this cool loft, a margarita machine and mad mixology skills, plus, he's charismatic. See? That's him, the "Beautiful Burnout" on the right. And a couple weeks ago, while consuming margaritas elsewhere, I asked when we were going to have them at his place and he said, "Any time you want."
And the idea of throwing parties at other people's places was born. It was great. Our friends met his friends. His friends met our friends, everybody contributed something to the cause and we all enjoyed a little fiesta.
It was so successful, we've planned another party for New Years Eve where S & P will invite their friends over to H's pad.
So, if you were to incorporate this new party trend into your life, whose house would you throw a party at and why?
Friday, December 19, 2008
You're invited to a party. Everyone's bringing something. You bring _____________.
I bring mac and cheese. It's yummy, although it's not my most impressive culinary creation. But the people always ask for it. In fact, this weekend, I'm making it twice, one batch for tonight and another on Sunday. I suppose it's my duty to give the people what they want.
So, once again, you're invited to a party. Everyone's bringing something. What do you bring?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Now, my definition of a dealbreaker is way more serious than theirs. Like one person doesn't want to have children or one person doesn't want to get married or one person won't get married with a prenup and the other refuses to do otherwise.
Their dealbreakers were a little more simplistic, like E's boyfriend doesn't believe he could be with someone who repeatedly replaced the toilet paper so it dispenses from under. Apparently, he's an over kind of guy.
I get that this could be annoying. I once went out with a guy who was peeved because I never choose over or under, I just put the darn toilet paper on the holder.
"But to actually end a relationship because someone's toilet paper replacement process doesn't please you seems irrational, doesn't it?" I asked.
"I don't know, I guess it just depends on what drives you crazy. Like if I was totally into a guy and then one night he just started clipping his toenails all willy-nilly in the living room, I'd have to dump him," said H.
"Eww," I said. "But I get what you mean, I could never be with someone who has to sleep with the TV on. I'd never sleep again."
And there we had it, the birth of the "Irrational Dealbreaker." What's yours?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Of course, all we talked about was men and women and how we'll never even remotely understand each other. Then someone asked, "What's your type?"
"I don't have a type," I said.
"You have to have a type," Ryan said.
"Helen, do I have a type?" I pointed my Tecate Light at her.
"No, she doesn't have a type."
Brian and Ryan rolled their eyes.
"No, seriously, none of my exes look remotely alike. If you lined them all up you'd think I'm a very confused person."
And this is true. My tall, young, handsome dark haired last ex had NOTHING in common with the short, slightly rotund, spectacle wearing divorcee ex that came before him.
"It's all about their brains. And whether or not we connect."
Brian cleared his throat. Loudly.
"Okay, think Terminator. You've got the goggles on. You're scanning the room for the right target. You zoom in and boom! There it is. What are you focusing on?"
"Huh?" I said with a mouth full of taco.
"Let's do it now. Everybody look around this room. The gun's to your head. If you had to go home with someone, who would it be?"
All four of us scan the bar.
I glaze over the tall blond guy in the baseball hat. Barely notice Dude and Dude-r, the goatee twins, staring up at the basketball game. Then I lock in on the bald guy with the nice eyes and perfect teeth.
So much for connecting.
So, what's your type?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Yes, you remember.
Well, it got me thinking about happy endings and how Hollywood has created an entire genre of romantic comedies with happy endings.
As novelists, we try hard not too wrap things up too nicely. God forbid we pull a Stephenie Meyer and evoke thousands of book returns from customers who are irate that everything turned out so peachy.
But with movies, we love happy endings. Reality Bites does not stand alone. There's Love Actually, The Holiday, Knotting Hill, and a zillion others. Even a bumbling klutz like Bridget Jones gets to find true love in Hollywood.
And we, as viewers, cheer for her, cry for her and maybe for a second even wish to be like her.
So, I ask, what's your favorite happy ending?
Monday, December 15, 2008
I often discover little pieces of paper crumpled up in my purse and pockets. On them, I find quotes, ideas and questions. Today, I smoothed out a piece of pub bar tab feed on which I'd scrawled, "What is your irrational fear?"
Mine is that I will never have money again. What's yours?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I shiver even though it’s warmer than the 106 mile per hour winds I’m scheduled for
Flecks of last night appear
I see the band
And a 4:00 AM Muppet Show
I wake wrapped up in arms
But not the right ones
My wing girl and I recap the scenes over eggs
I pack up my belongings
And head home
To prepare for something
So many things
Which looms more than merries
For it all
What are you wishing for?
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I did not make my caesar salad. Who wants to eat salad when they're sick? Instead, I started my garlic attack with spinach sauteed with two garlic cloves mid afternoon.
Then for dinner I made some spaghetti, sauteed five garlic cloves in olive oil with a tin of anchovies, a splash of wine, some lemon and red hot pepper flakes. I sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and enjoyed.
I'm aware that some people might read that and gag. But I happen to love anchovies and garlic. So, the question is, what foods do you love that other people might think are completely disgusting?
Friday, December 12, 2008
My usual path to porcupine eviction entails tons and tons of vitamin C. I mean like 2,000 milligrams every couple hours. It almost always works. Unfortunately, I am out of vitamin C. And since I'm still in pajamas, going to the store seems extremely ambitious.
I am in need of aternative strategies. What you do when you have a cold?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We went to Will Rogers park. It was 72 degrees and sunny. A peaceful, sunny So Cal day. Perfect for catching up. That is, until we caught up with the field trip.
But when the kids took a break, we ran past them, earning this amazing view. Appropriately, this overlook is called "Inspiration Point."
And it was, at the very least, inspiring. Enough to evoke this question - what inspired you today?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I head north
But the on-ramp is closed
Just like the next one
The next one
And the next one
So I revise
Searching for back roads
But the connection is down
And I feel stranded
And a little slighted
But I start over
In hopes that this time
I’ll get what I want
That about covers how I'm feeling today. How are YOU feeling?
Monday, December 8, 2008
First, you need one of the following accounts:
So, let's say you want to use a google account.
1. Go to www.google.com
2. Click on "sign in" in the upper right hand corner
3. Click on "create one for free"
4. Type in your email address and a password
5. After you confirm your google account, go back to http://suzannecasamento.blogspot.com
6. Click "sign in" at the top of the page
7. Sign in with your email address and password
8. When you see a post you'd like to comment on, click on "5 comments" or however many comments there are at the bottom of my post
9. Write your fabulous comment in the box
10. Select "google account" as what you're commenting as
11. Click post comment
Hopefully, that should do it.
Meanwhile, I'd like to thank Margie for reminding me to post a question. I FORGOT. Completely. I got all into critiquing manuscripts for tonight's meeting and completely forgot that the world is waiting for the Question of the Day. Please accept my apology.
So, thanks to Margie, the question is, what did you forget to do today?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
(I know I'm being vague, but there are family eyes all over this blog and I don't want to spoil any surprises.)
But here are a couple ideas I saw on an Oprahsode that I am not using:
1. Create memory boxes for your kids. Find or decorate a cool box and fill it with school projects, drawings, pictures, awards, and keepsakes for your kids to keep forever. Now that I think about it, this could probably also be a great gift for a mate. Then keep it out somewhere, on a shelf or mantel, so it's easily accessible.
2. Have a toy swap with friends. It's amazing how much stuff we have that's barely used. Bring toys to a friend's house and then trade. Get cool gifts for free!
3. Place a small box in front of each guest's dinner plate. Then as your family or guests arrive, hand out notecards. Have each person write down one thing they love about everyone else. Fill each person's box with notecards to take home and enjoy forever.
Anyway, I know we are not the only family in the financially pinched boat. So, I'm thinking that this is a great forum for everyone to brainstorm. What are your super cheap great gift ideas?
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I met these guys when Michael Jackson was cool, pegged jeans were a must and I slaved to feather my curly hair. (Not pretty.) And yesterday, 20 years later, after receiving a text about a little martini party, I slid into the car, hit the 5 and headed to San Diego to see my Jersey Boys.
We talked about sneaking out when were kids, throwing parties when our parents were away, playing questions in the middle of the night. We talked about why I consider myself a recovering Catholic, starting new businesses, and Hanson. Yes, Hanson.
We played air guitar, sang our guts out, got reprimanded by the security in Jimmy's apartment complex and giggled as we shut the door in their faces.
We were, for a Friday night, 16 again.
They're solid. Ridiculously funny. Insanely loyal and pretty darn smart. When I lost my job, I drove straight to San Diego. When I got dumped, I cried on them. When I need advice or think I might have a genius idea, I call them to find out what they think.
So the question is, who do you go to when you need a friend? (Or a martini.)
Friday, December 5, 2008
So, might as well leap - what was your most embarrassing teenage moment?
Mine occured during Freshman year in my Core Algebra class. (Yes, that's Algebra for dummies. If I were a math genius, I'd have serious doubts about whether or not I could truly write.) I sat in the back row, between K.V., my crush since 5th grade, and E.M., my newly discovered, hot, older crush. (Scary, because if I was in "core" Algebra as a Freshman and he was in "core" Algebra as a junior, well, you do the math.)
Something whizzed by my head. Not a bug. A white zippy thing. I turned to older hot crush guy and saw him rubbing paper between his lips. I looked towards 5th grade crush guy as he pulled a massive wad of paper from his mouth.
K.V. was about to launch the motherlode spitball at E.M. and I sat right in it's path.
Panicked, I pushed back my chair/desk combo. The legs snagged in the rug and I flipped up on my back, feet in the air, desk in my lap, book smacked in the face.
Laughter thundered as I lay there, wishing I could disappear rather than having to stand and brush myself off after the first of many "smooth moves."
Mortifying. And you?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I was at a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's (SCBWI) conference a while back, when the speaker asked, "Who hated high school?"
Picture a GIANT room, filled with about 1,000 writers and Illustrators. About 75% of them waved their hands in the air.
And I sat there thinking, "Huh? If you hated high school that much, why would you want to write about it?"
Maybe for a second chance? Maybe to rewrite what really happened? To undergo self therapy? Who knows. But the point is, even though they hated it, they were going to face it.
And you, you flock of YA writers (and normal people too) who were too scared to answer yesterday's post, I dare you to name one thing you loved about high school.
Dig down deep. You don't need to get all philosophical and explain how it affected you. (Perhaps I bit off more suckage than we could chew with my first question.) Just name one thing you loved. Because whoever you are, you know it's there somewhere.
You can't convince me that those 750 SCBWI members had 100% horror 100% of the whole time. Just like you can't convince me that your entire teenage experience was 100% suckage.
I'll go first.
I loved playing Questions in Margie's room by candlelight and then sneaking out her window to meet boys.
What about you?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
We got to talking about why I write for teenagers and I said it's because almost everything that happens during that time somehow impacts the person you become. Because emotions and wants and needs are magnified during that period. And the smallest occurance can mean the biggest thing.
For example, in eighth grade, I got kicked out of my clique. That might seem trivial, but when your world is only as big as the people around you, and suddenly they ignore you at the lunch table and you have no idea why, it's heartbreaking. My self esteem plummeted. But worse than that, I lost trust. Because if my best friends could hurt me like that, what could my enemies do?
Now, not all teenage incidents breed sadness and insecurity. And I am by no means one of those people who hated high school and is still mad about it. Once I got past the clique dumping, I actually loved high school. Stealing the mic at the prom and belting out Pat Benatar to the screaming crowd felt better than anything I'd ever felt. Getting roses from the hottest guy in my class gave me ultra-confidence during senior year. And crazy late nights with friends gave me experiences and highs that I still sometimes long for now.
It's those moments who make up who I am. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Smart and not-so-smart.
What are some moments that helped mold who you are today?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
It's probably like that in any business. Imagine sitting in a conference room full of co-workers, offering up an idea only to get shot down by the boss. Or what about musicians who are told their songs are contrite? Floral designers whose clients say their work is ugly?
Or there's the moment you go to hug a spouse and they brush you off. That pang in your belly rises. Then there's the hurt of pursuing a romantic interest who's just clearly not interested in return.
How do you realign yourself in the face of rejection?
Monday, December 1, 2008
The first of which I am seriously sucked into. BECOMING CHLOE by Catherine Ryan Hyde is like a like journey to "Beautiful" with Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl. Sort of. Anyway, I'm about halfway through and I can't wait to get on the plane and burn through the rest. (I'll probably finish before we fly over Texas.)
The second half of my trip will be dedicated to BURNED by the fabulous Ellen Hopkins. Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend the Big Sur Children's Writing Workshop and I had a one on one with Ellen Hopkins. She had read and written out comments on the first 15 pages of my novel and I have to admit, I was a bit starstruck. Simply amazed that I was sitting there, chatting with this amazing storyteller. Plus, she taught me a lot.
So that's what's on my reading list for today. What are you reading? And must all good things really come to an end?