Sunday, March 27, 2011

Operation Auction!

To support one of the romance writing community's biggest supporters, Fatin A. Soufan, I teamed up with my local RWA chapter to donate a critique and entry to our writing contest. There's lots of other good stuff too!
Golden Rose Writing Contest entry + critique

To learn more about Fatin and her husband's murder, see Operation Auction.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Broke!

After squabbling about whether or not to take the kiddos to Disneyland for Spring Break, we compromised by taking them to Seattle. Our theory was, if BabyGirl truly decides to not sleep, we could always throw in the towel and drive home.

We researched the city online and asked friends who live there and who've visited and came up with a rough outline of our itenerary. Nothing is set in stone when traveling with a two-year-old. The dog got shipped off to Grandma's and we headed north.

Things started well, we managed to get the kids to Rainforest Cafe in time for lunch. They'd never been, so we knew it would be a treat. What we didn't know was that BabyGirl would be skerred of the thunderstorms and animals, the very things that make the place special.

We spirited her out of there and caught the next tour of Ride the Ducks. All the kids were thrilled by the land and water ride in the WW2 replica amphibious vehicle. I think BabyGirl was doubly happy since she didn't have to ride in a car seat!

The next day we headed down to the waterfront and explored Pike's Place Market. We didn't get to see anyone throw fish (they only do that when someone buys something) but we loved it just the same. After the market, we went to the Seattle Aquarium. I think the highlight was the seal feeding, but the boys would probably only recall the self-pleasuring otter.

After a crab boil lunch at The Crab Pot, we took a short harbor cruise. I took more pictures than anyone would ever care to see, while the kids enjoyed the wind and the rocking of the boat. I think they win.

With daylight still left, we headed up to the Fremont neighborhood to check out the Fremont Troll which lives under a bridge and explore Gasworks Park. The kids really liked the chance to climb and play freely. TallBoy said it was the best part of the trip, and considering we saw Star Wars stuff the next day, that's saying something!

The next day we opted to go to the Seattle Center, starting our day with a trip up the Space Needle. Then it was on to the Star Wars exhibit and butterfly gardens at the Pacific Science Center. After lunch we decided to check out the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. This was our let down of the trip, since over half the place is closed due to construction. Don't bother with it until they reopen everyting in the summer.

Every evening we took the kids swimming and they all think of it is a highlight of the trip. HubbaBubba got to see what a good swimmer TallBoy has become and what a fish BabyGirl has turned into. Excuse me, mermaid. She'll correct you. Which is funny considering all her swimming happens while someone else glides her through the water!

Our final day in Seattle we spent the morning at the zoo. Our zoo is faboo, so we have high expectations. Thankfully, Woodland Park is a great zoo with lots of ways for the kids to explore. SmallBoy says it was the highlight of his trip.

After lunch we headed south to the Museum of Flight. We were really impressed with the collection, as well as the kids exploration area. I think TallBoy could have stood there and landed the lunar module all day. But, I do think Grace was a bit bothered that the planes she got to sit in didn't actually fly!

The Seattle trip was more of an adventure than a vacation. We learned the diva likes to be cuddled to sleep, but wants her own space once she is actually asleep. The second night was OK, but the last night she decided she wanted to sleep in my bed. Just not with me in it. Grrreat!

Even with her non-sleeping issues, we had a great time. Maybe we'll do a similar excursion to Boise or Vancouver.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Movie Monday :: The Ugly Truth

Morning show TV producer in a ratings slump must take on a chauvenistic public access star to please the network execs. He's as slick as oil, she's as tart as vinegar...together they wind up making a great dressing.

OK, lame example. But this was lots of fun, especially since at the end, neitther of them could put their finger on what or why they fell in love. Which is reality.

I loved how together and driven she was, yet completely insecure in relationships. I think more women feel that way than not. I liked how he could separate the good parts of himself for his nephew and the not for child viewing parts too. I think lots of men compartmentalize that way.

Plus, this movie has the same soundtrack as my bootcamp class.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Snowshoes and Waterfalls

When Jeff & I Grouponed a Snowshoe Tour from Evergreen Escapes we expected a a drive up the moutain, snowshoe 101 lessons, and a box lunch. Thank goodness Evergreen Escapes has higher standards than we do! We had such a lovely day, a total escape from the typical.

After loading up downtown around 8, our guide gave gave us the highlights of our day and our expectations rose. We'd get to see Mutnomah Falls, Columbia Gorge Hotel & Timberline Lodge. Instead of taking the usual Portlander route to the Falls, we got off the interstate and took the historic Columbia River Highway, which meant we were also treated to views of Wahkeena Falls & Horsetail Falls - plus a bit of history, geography and ecology of the region.

Multnomah Falls was so different than the crowded experience we've always had on hot summer days. Plus, our guide treated us to freshly brewed tea and our choice of quick breads provided by a local bakery. He shared a few stories about the falls before we loaded up and headed for the mountain.

Along the drive he was able to explain a bit about Beacon Rock, Bonneville Dam, and the ever changing Columbia River. The drive up the mountain was very smooth, and we were able to park right at the door of the beautiful Timberline Lodge.

The Lodge is amazing, more so because of all we learned about the history of the building. (The Shining used outdoor shots of the Lodge, but nothing from the interior.) The craftsmanship is worth seeing, regardless of whether you're interested in the activities of the area. The ironwork and wood carvings are spectacular.

At the Lodge we indulged in a buffet lunch. Buffet can be a scary word, but this was delicious and well done. When our guide told us we could burn up to 2,000 calories snowshoeing that afternoon, no one felt guilty about helping themselves to a serving oft he Swedish cream dessert!

After donning our gear, we were given the tips and tricks of snowshoeing. Our group of nine took to it quickly. Ranging from a middle-schooler to a great-grandmother we all enjoyed tromping through the woods. The first half was a lot of downhill, and as we got more comfortable on the snowshoes, some tried fancy footwork like running down the steeper parts and blazing their own 'shortcuts'.

The way back was obviously uphill. It was moderate for the most part, and peaceful because we got to trek along for longer periods. But then...the aproach to Timberline was very steep. We were huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf  as we summited the Lodge.

As a reward for our efforts, we were treated to hot cocoa and the gorgeous views from the bar atop the lodge. We even splurged on a few adult hot drinks (the BFK, Chocolate Irishman & Hot Buttered Jack are all reccomended). Once we were warmed up, we loaded back in our comfy seats and our guide passed out cookies (a treat from the same local bakery). We headed back to Portland along a different route, and delivered one of our tourmates at McMenamin's Edgefield, where we got to learn a bit about the property and the McMenamin's empire.

We made it back to our car before 7, and enjoyed a fun drive home laughing about the highlights of our trip. The Groupon made the trip a steal, but we'll be taking another Evergreen Escape soon. No doubt it will be worth every penny.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Well, That Wasn't

I wanted to get done a lot more than actually got done this week. The foot decided to act up on Tuesday, so most of my time was preoccupied with ice. Lots of ice. Plus there was the science fair...and the kids had 2 days off from school.

Suffice it to say, I have lots to do next week!
  • I exercised once (Cardio Jam)
  • Snowshoeing will be attempted, in spite of the cranky foot
  • I am writing around the wild horse scene and it hasn't started yet. Quite annoying!
  • I made cake balls (chocolate & red velvet)
  • a years worth of pictures printed @ Costco & put into photo albums
  • Lived through Joanne', WinCo, Costco, Albertson's, Dollar Tree, Rec Center, Gas Station, Lowe's

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Workout Wednesday : Cardioke

Kareoke combined with cardio dance moves? It sounded more fun that it actually turned out to be. I think I'm spoiled by the fresh music in my Cardio Jam class (we get a new song the first Monday of every month) and the up-to-date songs on Just Dance 2. Dancing to the oldies isn't my thing.

I liked the concept, and the idea that singing while dancing can burn twice the calories. No clue is this is actually true, but I'm going to start singing while doing Just Dance 2. And maybe quietly singing in Cardio Jam.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

After The Booksigning...

So one fine morning, I traveled from Portland to Seattle with three respectable looking authors to do a signing at the University Book Store. We arrived early, had lunch at a gourmet deli, and then had a signing highlighted by meeting Estella & Patrick.

And got even more fun.

Someone suggested we go to the naughty bakery. Part sex shoppe, part bakery. They even sold Delilah's famous penis candy!

But the penii didn't stop there. They had penis a variety of sizes and colors. Oh, the laughter. We were like middle schoolers. All maturity drained from us. And of course, what is a penis cupcake without a vagina cupcake?

Hmmm...all the vagina's were the same size, shape, and color. I wonder if we just caught them on an unimaginative day?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Movie Monday :: Confessions of a Shopaholic

I have been trying to see this movie for years! (Not to mention planning on reading the series of books!) I have set reminders on my cable box dozens of times, and yet never actually managed to see it. This week it wasn't convenient either, but I just decided to watch and put the baby down late for her nap.

I loved this one from the beginning. I love to shop, not that I take it to the extreme that Becks does, but I can definitely relate to the draw, the thrill, and how it makes you feel better, if only for a moment. In a light, funny movie, the emotional struggle with shopping addiction was extremely well handled.

And then the is the cuteness that is Hugh Dancy, at his most adorable as Beck's editor at a financial magazine. Le sigh.

I think my favorite roles were becks parents, played by John Goodman and Joan Cusack. Maybe because I have parents who spent my childhood looking for every sale and deal and dressing me as such.
I really should ahve watched it sooner :)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Promises To Myself

Computer issues ate my weekend writing time, and there is a busy week ahead - including the big ones having 2 days off school. Still, I am going to rock the week. Because I can.
  • Write wild horses, Trent's mom, sex museum, mirror part deux in Driven
  • Go snowshoeing on Saturday!
  • Plan activities for Seattle vacation.
  • Exercise 5 times.
  • Make an appointment @ the shoe place.
  • Bloodwork.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Done List

I had a good week. I didn't accomplish as much as I planned, but then, I dream big :D And I have small people around who like to throw challenges in my path.
  • Write scenes for Driven - pictures, mirror, family vacation, Trent's mom, sex museum...
  • Workout 5 times - Cardio jam x 2, Bootcamp x 2, Yoga
  • Scheduled a snowshoeing trip with Hubba Bubba
  • Volunteered @ the boys school. 2nd graders writing biographies = good stuff!
  • Signed a contract to re-release For Kicks with Samhain (WINNING! OMG, can you belive the Charlie Sheen train wreck? And yet...we're all saying winning!)
  • Registered for April's RCRW Spring Intensive
  • coat hooks for the laundry room, wall mounted jewelry box for diaper accoutrement storage in the girl's room (a must after she Desitin-ed her rocking horse), emergency clean up of purple nail polish from the wood floors (PrincessGirl again)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Workout Wednesday :: Just Dance 2

Santa delivered this Wii game to SmallBoy, who wants to be a rock star. Actually, he wants to join the Disney band Big Time Rush. He's quite specific - apparently, they need a blond and he already knows all of their songs. Until they come knocking, Santa thought he could practice his dancing skillz.

And then I fell in love with the game. It's hilarious. Somehow, my boy is a whiz at Viva Las Vegas and Monster Mash, while I am unbeatable at Firework, well, at least within my own home. It's fun to watch and fun to play. In fact, I've arm twisted two of my girlfriends into buying it for their families, and turned a normal baby girl playdate into a dancing mama frenzy!

I think it's a great cardio workout too. After the fourth song, I'm glistening, and if I do more than ten I'll need a shower. So, hey, it counts. And I don't even have to go to the gym :)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Follow me...

...over to The Pink Heart Society: Crafty Corner : Layered Up!: "Is there anything better than layer cakes? Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke doesn't think so. Others can ride the cupcake craze,..."