Sunday, December 28, 2008

Aren't Vacations Great?

Aren't Vacations Great?
OK, so this is a no-brainer. Of course they are. Although, this trip to the Mile High City is to visit family, and so, for some, might be considered the opposite of a vacation. Fortunately for us, we get along great with my family and love spending time with them. Like last night, for example. Me, Chuck, my mom, dad, sister Sharon and brother-in-law David went downtown for dinner at the Oceanaire, a fabulous sea-food place with an art-deco, 1920's vibe. Our server, Tyler, a Lance Armstrong look-alike, could very well be nominated for best waiter in the country. His service, along with the food, were impeccable. We started with cocktails. Chuck and I had the smoothest Tanqueray and tonics we've ever had. And thought I don't like to brag, we can practically be considered experts. To start the meal, some of us had caesar salad and some had clam chowder. For dinner, Chuck and I split the crab cakes, my mom, dad, sister and bro-in-law ordered the Mahi Mahi, and we all shared fried green beans, creamed corn, and hashbrown potatoes. And, to compliment this memorable meal were two bottles of 2006 WillaKenzie Pinot Noir. Yum, yum! To further prove my theory of Tyler being the best waiter in the universe, he treated us to dessert. And, by dessert I mean a baked Alaska, key lime pie, and vanilla bean creme brulee. If you want Tyler's number, I can provide it for a small fee.

The most amazing part of the evening was that the food and service were not the most amazing parts of the evening. The most amazing part was the toasting. My sister, Sharon, started off by toasting me and Chuck's long, and drawn out, I mean adventurous and wonderful marriage. Then my dad made a toast to my mom's health. Then I made a toast to Chuckie and to how much I love his cute ass. Then Chuckie made a toast to me for what a dedicated writer I am. Then David made a toast to Sharon for being the woman of his dreams. And on and on and on. I know this all sounds terribly sappy, but I swear, it's the truth.

Before we left for dinner, my dad was feeling a bit down in the dumps and didn't want to go. After some sweet talk from his favorite oldest daughter (yep, that's me), he acquiesced. At the end of the night he hugged me and said, "Thanks for making sure I went. This was one of the best nights of my life."

Correction: This was the most amazing part of the evening.

How are your holidays going?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Politics Rears Its Ugly Head...AGAIN!


Politics Rears Its Ugly Head... AGAIN!
I just got in a fight with my best friend. And I'm not talking a polite difference of opinion. This was a knock down, drag out fight. Thank goodness it was over the phone, or there would be bruises and broken bones. This is the first fight we've ever had in our nearly four years of friendship. We go to dinner together, drink wine together, cruise together, we even went to Denver for my sister's wedding last year together. We've had nothing but fun together. Until now.

She believes it was just as necessary for America to go into Iraq as it was for us to enter WWII, that Bill Clinton was too much of a wuss to take out Sadam, that al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden trained in Iraq, that Bill Clinton was "hobnobbed" (her word) under his desk in the oval office and therefore was a horrendous leader, that Bruce Springsteen bribed ignorant kids to register as Democrats with free concert tickets, that Obama has no idea what he is doing, that he coerced people into using their welfare and social security checks to buy his way into office, that Sarah Palin is just as qualified as anyone to be VP, and that W's lack of being able to put a cohesive sentence together just means he's human.

I told her Iraq was not remotely like WWII, that George's own father believed going after Sadam and invading Iraq was wrong (see link below), that Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and one of the most brilliant leaders we've ever had (and yeah, the hobnobbing part sucked in more ways than one), that Bruce invited folks to register to vote not to necessarily vote Democratic, that Obama is brilliant and thoughtful as opposed to average-minded and arrogant, that people dug as deep as they could to get him into office because that's how much they're disgusted by the politics of the last eight years, that Sarah Palin could no sooner be VP than I could, and that any president we elect will most likely be human and should definitely be able to speak so people understand instead of laugh. Unless he or she is actually telling a joke.

I was shaking when I got off the phone with her. What's interesting is that socially, she's liberal - pro-choice; pro-stem cell research; pro-gay rights. That's what makes it so hard for me to understand. I know this is America and we each have our rights to free speech and our own opinions. But I get frustrated when she presents her ideas as facts and doesn't have anything but her opinions to back them up with. When I try to direct her to links or stories on line, she says she doesn't trust the liberal media.

Did I mention she's an amazing wife, mom and grandmom (even though she's only 43) and that we've had nothing but good times together until now? I'm not sure how to go on with our friendship with this gigantic rhinoceros head on the table.

I need some coaching here, people. Please. Bring it on. I can take it. (As long as it's not in person so no one gets hurt.)

Here's the link to what George Sr. said about Iraq:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/gulfwar.asp

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Flying Along


Flying Along
I've been kicking ass and taking names on my writing lately. My deeply spiritual prose about life as a rock star turned domestic goddess with a bit of adultery and a dash of country club thrown in for good measure, is quite the ride. My characters are starting to get a little bit out of control, and I'm not sure whether to reign them in or let them make a mess out of life for themselves. I'm trying to stay out of it as much as possible, and let them do what they would naturally do. Like a friend of mine once said, "Life would be so much better if could just get my brilliant ass out of the way!" How true!

Young Love
I've been struck by the level of passion, excitement, and drama that is the definition of young love. My son, Ethan, who is a junior and will be 17 next month, and his girlfriend, Paige, who is 17 and a senior, are so adorable together it's borderline ridiculous. (Here's the proof!)

Paige couldn't wait to get her Christmas presents from Ethan, so they exchanged gifts early. She scored. Big time. She got a beautiful silver necklace with a heart, a bracelet from Brighton (one of my favorite stores) and a big, white, cuddly teddy bear with a red bow. I thought she might explode with joy. Ethan didn't do too badly, either. He got a few shirts, a couple of belts, and a hat. Since Ethan has grown up celebrating Chanukah and Paige is a nice Italian Catholic girl, it was interesting watching their reactions to gift-giving. Chanukah is fairly low-key in that area, and for Paige, anyway, Christmas is not. She said she's got 27 gifts under the tree with her name on them. Holy Mary Mother of God. Eight is the most gifts our kids ever got for Chanukah, one per night, and that's when they were little. These days, our celebration consists of lighting the candles together and reflecting on the wonder of life. What better gift is there than spending time with family and friends and being present to the miracle that life is?

Chuck and I got together when we were only 18 and 19. Back then, we couldn't keep our hands off of each other and we thought we were the only two people on earth.

Damn, I miss those days...

So, how do you celebrate the holidays and what do you remember about young love?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Birthday Princess!
I swear to God you'd think I was two years old. I am such a big, fat, spoiled baby on my birthday! Try though I may not, I just can't help myself! The universe chose this special day to bring me into this world, so I feel I owe the universe a big thank you in the form of complete self-gratification. I realize this is a completely un-transformed point of view, but what the hell. It's my birthday! I'll get all Zen again tomorrow. For now, I will eat sugar all day, write to my heart's content, drink wine later with my friend, Cindy, who shares my birthday (how cool is that?!), and then have a wonderful dinner out with my family. And, woo-hoo, I'll open my presents at dinner - I can hardly wait! Although, Chuck and I decided to skip gift-giving this year, I thankfully have presents from my sisters to open and, shockingly enough, even from my sons! (Will wonders never cease?) My parents graciously bought us two of the four plane tickets we're using next week to spend the week in Denver, and the gift of family is indeed the greatest gift of all. (Even a two-year old knows that.)

So, please join me in song as we wish me a Happy Birthday:

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday dear, Debbie

Happy birthday to me
(And many more!)

Special thanks to the blog Crochet*d*Lane for the wonderful picture of baby Zella above. I was not nearly as cute and here's the proof:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bush's Last Days



This will be quick. I just had to post this for all to see! Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B4y5sZKdI4

Monday, December 15, 2008

Countdown to Zero


Zero Words by New Years
Okey dokey. I'm on a roll. I'm done slicing and dicing, and it's a good thing. A few days ago, I said to my dear on-line friend (I hate the word "bloggy") Amy Nathan that if I keep chopping at this rate, I should be down to zero words by New Year's. Maybe as the ball goes down in Times Square (10 - 9 - 8 , etc...) I could be counting down my last ten words. That would give so much more meaning to the New Year! Amy suggested I use this marketing ploy to my advantage, since it would be much cheaper to publish books with no words. Good point. I'll add it to my query.

Birthday Spoiler Alert
Meantime, hubby just left for LA for four days. He hates to travel for work more than I hate him being gone. (Hate. That's such a strong word.) The bad news is, his birthday is Tuesday and we won't be together to celebrate. The good news is he gets back on Thursday, which just happens to be... my birthday! (Yay!) So, dinner is on for my special day. (Presents, unfortunately, are out this year. Hopefully, next year things will turn around for us, and by "us" I mean the world.)

Celebrating the Festival of Lights
In case you're wondering, I never got ripped off because my birthday is one week before Christmas. That's because we didn't celebrate Christmas. In my house, birthdays are birthdays, and Chanukah is Chanukah. Besides, you never know when Chanukah will show up. It could be the beginning of December, end of December, or maybe even sometime in the middle. Perhaps even late November. It's very fickle.

Much to my mother's dismay, my modern-day family and I are as far from religious as Sarah Palin is from smart. We do, however, celebrate by turning the lights off, lighting the candles (often on several menorahs - the more candles the more beautiful), and taking turns saying what we're grateful for. Then we sit quietly and watch the candles burn down. It's pretty Zen.

Well, kids, I'd better get back to throwing nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives on my dwindling word count pile. I'm at an interesting juncture where my mc's are at a country club dinner being pursued by rich, attractive members of the opposite sex. I'm dying to see how it turns out!

What are you up to in your WIP (without giving away any trade secrets)? And, how do you celebrate the holidays?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Peel Back the Onion Layers


Onions!
Chop, chop, cut, cut, sweep, sweep. With all this cutting and sweeping, I may as well be at the beauty parlor. At least that way, there would be a little less gray and a lot more laughs. (Georgia, my hair stylist, is a stand-up comic disguised as a hairdresser.) I went from 72,000 words down to 30,000. Now I'm at about 40,000. It's hard to not let the word count bring me down since I'm writing like a maniac. I'm deeply engaged in a classic peel back the layers of the onion exercise. There's no question the story is getting clearer and stronger, but still, there's that darn word count! Last night Chuck said, "you're doing exactly what you should be doing, honey. Don't sweat the word count!" For a doctor, he's pretty smart.

Just thought I'd vent. Does anyone else out there have tears in their eyes from a related onion?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Am I on The Truman Show?

Strange Call
Monday morning I answered the phone.
"Is Tracey there?" I heard a middle-aged sounding man ask.
"No. I'm afraid you must have the wrong number."
"Sorry!" click.
About ten minutes later, the phone rang again.
"Hello?" I answered.
"Is Tracey there?"
"No. You still have the wrong number."
"I can't believe it. She must have deliberately given me the wrong number."
Like an idiot I asked, "Who?"
"Tracey, or whatever her name is - a woman I met at a bar last night."
"Bummer" I said.
"Maybe you can help me. What is it with women these days? Why would they be so cruel as to give some poor guy a wrong number? And, of course, after I'd bought her and her girlfriend drinks all night."
That's how I got into a 45 minute with a complete stranger. We discussed male vs. female, what it's like "out there" after a divorce (it turns out Mike, yeah I asked his name, who's in his 50's was married for 26 years and has been divorced for two), and how do you know if someone is "interested" vs. "lying through their teeth for drinks." And, why are all the beautiful women 'high maintenance?'
"I don't know, Mike," I said, "I run with a pretty good looking crowd, and they're not high maintenance. They're really great gals. I think that's too much of a generalization, like all Jews are this way or all blacks are that way. People are people. Everyone's different."
"Yes," he said, "but it seems like the beautiful ones are the least trustworthy."
"Then, don't go after the beautiful ones," I said.
"But I don't want to lower my standards."
"Look, Mike, you can't have it both ways. You need to figure out who you are, what you want, and go find it. You're way over-analyzing this."
He couldn't believe I judge a guy on things other than his looks. Like sense of humor, views on politics and religion, how interesting he is.
"You mean to tell me a guy gets better looking to you if he has a good sense of humor?"
"Are you kidding? Hell, yeah! In my eyes, Jerry Seinfeld's almost as good looking as Ashton Kutcher!" Not really, but I was trying to make a point.
"I can't believe you're spending this much time talking to a stranger on the phone about his love life, or lack thereof."
"Me neither. I guess you just caught me in a good mood."
"Can I call you back if I have more questions?"
"Sure, I guess."
"When would be a good time."
"There's no such thing. I'm in and out." This was getting tedious. "Look, Mike, I gotta go. I've got a potentially life-changing submission to an agent I've got to get in the mail. Good luck with the girl thing. My best advice? Lighten up a little."
"Thanks. You're amazing. Too bad your married."
"Yeah, my husband says the same thing. Take it easy, buddy, and don't dwell on the bad stuff."

Then I checked my e-mail. My daily Kabbalah greeting that some crazy friend of Madonna's keeps sending me arrived. (Kidding - I don't know how I got on their list, but they send daily words of wisdom that sometimes blow my mind) It read:

Monday, December 8

What were you doing before you opened this email? How was that action helping another person? Heavy question. But if you truly understood what Kabbalah is about – accepting the responsibility of being a channel of the Light – then you’d be thinking only of how to share and care for others.

I looked up at the ceiling and asked out loud, "Am I on The Truman Show?"

Has anything like this happened to you? Or, am I the only idiot who spends 45 minutes of precious writing time on the phone with a complete stranger?

Monday, December 8, 2008

28 Years Later...













28 Years Later...

Today is 28 years since John Lennon was killed. It is also 28 years since my husband and I got together.

We were living in southern California, and we spent the day together. It was the first time I heard my vocals on tape. Chuck recorded me on a reel to reel performing a song I wrote the year before called, "Frozen Fields."

When I got home that night, my roommate asked if I'd heard the news. "What news?" I asked. "John Lennon was shot in New York City." I ran to my room, shut the door, and turned on the radio. Sure enough, it was true. When it was announced that he had died, the tears came hard and fast. Chuck came over, we held a candlelight vigil, played Beatles music all night, and have been together ever since. Happy Anniversary to us, and to John: thank you for your music, your spirit, your inspiration. May you rest forever in peace...

Today is also my baby sister's birthday. (I won't say which one, but think Jack Benny.) Happy birthday, Michelle. I love you!

The picture above on the left is Chuck & I shortly after we got together, and on the right, in Cancun on June 27th of this year celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary!

Frozen Fields
I ran through the night with you
Counting the clouds that block my view

Finding out the light is you
And feeling the warmth that pulls me through

Have I known this song before?
In the frozen fields I walk alone

Hoping in time to free myself
In a land where love can conquer all


Sacred dreams I can't let go unless my dreams come true
Soaring through my heart and soul is the love I feel for you

And I know what this love must mean to you
As your eyes light the fire that burns into

The freedom that flows through everyone
And is altered upon the wind of song


Grazing on the frosted plains and laughing at the night
Are clear cut signs of lost remains that prove that love is right, love is right

And I know what this love must mean to you
As your eyes light the fire that burns into

The freedom that flows through everyone
And is altered upon the wind of song

Have I known this song before?
In the frozen fields I've walked alone

Hoping in time to free myself in a land where love can conquer all
Love can conquer all, oh, yes it can...

Words & Music by DLSchubert 11.3.79


The Check is in the Mail
Well, the submission anyway. I'd have sent a check, but I don't think agents are accepting bribes these days. However, with the economy and all...

My first three chapters, synopsis, and cover letter are signed, sealed, and soon to be delivered via USPS (return receipt requested.) Now, I get to sit and wait for 2-3 months. What will I do with all that time?

Oh, yeah. Edit my manuscript...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Continuous Tread Mill

Post Nibble
Ever since I got my nibble, I've been on a continuous treadmill working non-stop on my novel, paying special attention to the first three chapters. As you creative types know, once those juices get flowing, it's pretty damn hard to shut them down. So, at 11PM-ish every night I take a Lunesta in order to fall asleep and stay asleep for a few hours. (Note to Family and Cats: My laptop is not a fourth appendage.)

Shout Out
Although I hate to use the word "I" in the same sentence with "Sarah Palin"...
Like Sarah Palin, I feel a "shout out" is in order to some of the folks who've been extremely helpful these past couple of weeks. (I beg for eternal forgiveness if I've left you off this esteemed list.)

First of all, to those of you who read my blog and comment. Thanks! Your words are fabulous, you make me laugh, and you're brilliant.

To my husband, Chuck. Thanks for enthusiastically reading and re-reading my words, and for your great suggestions on ways to tighten up the story. Also, for the kisses.

Next, to Karen Carter and Amy Nathan. As Chelsea Handler would say, "What... A pleasure!" These two have assisted me with some pretty in-depth copy editing, and made suggestions I never would have thought of. (BTW: Karen is available for copy editing services at http://www.kccommunications.blogspot.com/ Check her out!)

To Carolyn P. - You say you're not a critic, but your support means so much. I hope you enjoy your inside scoop on all the "fiction" I write.

To Tom S. - If there's a funnier guy in this world, I haven't met him. Lewis Black has nothing on you - you're a comic genius. And don't think I don't take every tiny, little suggestion you make to heart.

Adam and Ethan - You guys are amazing! Giving me your support and telling me you're proud of me beats any publishing deal out there. (Well, maybe not any publishing deal, but you get the picture.)

Sharon, Laurie & Michelle - No one has my back like you three. I'm sorry for the times I was mean to you when we were little. If I had any idea how fabulous you'd turn out to be, I might not have behaved so badly. Your editing suggestions are ENORMOUSLY helpful. Plus, you're beautiful!

Mom and Dad - I love you, you're the reason I'm living and able to put two words together. I hope I make you proud.

I realize this post could easily be mistaken for a cheesy end-of-the-year high school yearbook romp or perhaps a suicide note. Sorry about that. My brain's a little fuzzy right now since I haven't been anywhere outside my study in days. (And by "study" I mean bed with notebook on lap.)

I'll post again after my nibble's in the mail!

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