On vacay

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

James is doing well, or as well as someone who has had a heart transplant can be, so I can now uncross my toes. And that's a very good thing since I'm going to be trying on all kinds of shoes as Michelle and I shop our way through New York City!

So forgive me for not visiting your blogs and sharing in the online fun for the rest of the week.

To help you find ways to avoid doing what you're supposed to be doing, here are a few links to posts of old:

You had me at "hell no"
How I started writing
Writing Posse Member Application


posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:56 PM 4 comments

You're so...James

Monday, May 28, 2007

It's with trepidation that I'm writing this post, as my dear friend James underwent a heart transplant yesterday. Everyone is looking kind of odd with all of their fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed until we receive word that things are going to be perfectly wonderful.

Yeah, it's going to be a long couple of hours, days, months...and hopefully years.

James was one of the first people I met at a groovy communications company who "got me" immediately. Despite our obvious differences (he preferred wine, I preferred to whine), we shared control-freak attention to detail on projects, which made us glad to have each other around to double-check to make sure everything had been checked at least a gazillion times.

I wrote him a song parody of You're So Vain titled You're So James. I'd post it but it's riddled with inside jokes and some of the people named might sue me for slander.

We also laughed. A lot. Then the company we worked at went down the tubes and we both ventured off looking for new companies to control. Fast-forward six years, and we still gather to share laughter, odd stories and compare notes on how stupid we were to work that hard.

When James sent out the notice that he was on the waiting list for a heart, I asked for his blood type so I could make some "arrangements." Oddly enough, some of the names on our "suggested donor" lists were the same. ;)

So before I get all weepy or righteous, can everyone just do a me little favour and sign your organ donor card? Someone really cool might need a part of you in order to stick around for a while.

Peace out

posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:02 PM 4 comments

Tormented by children

Saturday, May 26, 2007

People under the age of ten are out to get me, I swear.

First, there are those cool shoes with wheels in them that only come in kids' sizes. Even Charla on the Amazing Race had them. It would be nice to at least have the opportunity to not buy a pair. Or share one pair with a friend who has the same shoe size so I don't injure myself on some two-shoe'd double-wheelie maneuver.

Then, there are some restaurants that only allow kids to purchase kiddie meals. Who needs lobster bisque? Sometimes all you want is a simple grilled cheese sandwich or a hot dog when you've had to deal with freaky people all day. And the toys are nice too.

And when the subway is crowded with people and there's an elbow in your ear and a briefcase getting a little too personal, kids can start wailing and people give them a little space. If I tried doing that they'd call for transit security and whisk me off in handcuffs. Or a straightjacket.

I think it might be that kids remind me of how cool it is to be a kid. They have no idea (I hope, at least) of what mortgages, fibre and bosses from hell are all about.

Sure, they have their problems, but hopefully they live in a home or environment where they are loved and cared for, and maybe their big sister can help them figure out how to get Sally to stop sending them secret admirer notes, since they're not really a secret anymore.

And when parents use their children to torment me, I must applaud them for their creativity. Remember how much I don't love cottage cheese? Check out this post at BeAGoodDad to see how much Mike's son likes it.

You know I have to say this: "He likes it! Hey Mikey!"

posted by Bonnie Staring at 6:15 PM 0 comments

It's June next week

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It just occurred to me that I've almost let the month of May roll on by without giving it a word of thanks or even encouragement so that it will return again next year.

Of course, May brought some situations and moments I can't wait to forget , but the scars will eventually fade and a lesson may finally sink into my head. Well, maybe.

Ode to May

Thanks for the all glorious sun
And the occasional downpour
When the hail banged on the roof
I couldn't hear the DH's snore

And the elderly neighbour's cat
Enjoyed one wild last hurrah
Scaring the blessed bejesus
Out of two holy mamas

A Latina drag queen won ANTM
Jack Bauer is again on the run
And American Idol proved
You don't need good pitch to have fun

The muse has been more than fickle
And my writer's block, a curse
But thankfully my mum-in-law
Is a fully trained nurse

Hat's off to the month of May!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:53 PM 0 comments

One word meme

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Borrowed this from Amy because it was so darn cool. I promise not to tag anyone at the end. Steal it if you wanna.

Answer all the questions using only one word.

2. RELATIONSHIP?: Fabulous
3. YOUR HAIR?: Francesco-ed
4. WORK?: Necessary
5. YOUR SISTER?: Imaginary
9. YOUR DREAM CAR?: Beetle
10. THE ROOM YOU'RE IN?: Office
11. YOUR SHOES?: New
12. YOUR FEARS?: Failure
15. WHAT ARE YOU NOT GOOD AT?: Delegating
16. MUFFIN?: Pass
18. WHERE YOU GREW UP? Calgary
22. YOUR PET?: Gone
23. YOUR COMPUTER?: Lovely
24. YOUR LIFE?: Biz-ay
25. YOUR MOOD?: Overwhelmed
26. MISSING?: Patience
28. YOUR CAR?: None
29. YOUR KITCHEN?: Yellow
30. YOUR SUMMER?: Awesome
34. SCHOOL?: Life
35. LOVE?: Necessary

Enjoy your Wednesday!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:09 PM 3 comments

Driving Miss Crazy

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I've come to realize that, while my knowledge of the gazillion rules of English grammar pales in comparison to others, it can be hard to turn off the editor within. That's why my novel is still on my dreaded "Get It Done Already" list.

Currently I'm working on a project with three other editors. We all have varying skills and specialties, yet the expectation is that we will all be able to agree on a standard. Or at least pretend to. (And yes, I ended the sentence that way on purpose. Sue me.)

This has resulted in rather lengthy conversations that meander around any real decisions being made regarding word placement, split infinitives and dangling modifiers.

Sometimes I can even sort of understand what they're talking about. ;)

I guess what drives me crazy is that, at the end of the day, we all know that three committees and a group of other esteemed experts will be reviewing these documents and...wait for it...changing them. Or, as was the case the last time around, ignoring most of the recommended revisions. (We don't get red pens, only red pencils.)

It's more than that though. It also makes me kind of uncomfortable to admit that I don't know what the heck they're talking about sometimes. And what's even more embarrassing is trying to look something up in Chicago when I don't even know how to describe it in conversational terms, let alone GrammarSpeak.

Shoot, was that my inside voice?

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:47 PM 0 comments

Lessons learned offline

Monday, May 21, 2007

This weekend away from the online universe has turned out to be an educational adventure. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned:

You're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore
Okay, I have that chorus from one of the songs on The School of Rock playing in my head. And it really helps when you're pulling up weeds with only one hand. It's waay hardcore.

Hard decisions are still hard
One of my reasons for staying offline was to make some decisions without being influenced by all the great blogs I read and websites like the Mystical Smoking Head of Bob that keep me from trying to find ways to make certain situations win-win instead of whine-whine.

The printed word still rocks
I've been devouring two month's worth of magazines (I subscribe to too many, it's an addiction) and a collection of poetry by Toronto writer Lorette C. Luzajic. It's delightful to fall in love with reading again and not feel guilty about taking the time to let the words soak in and hang out for a while.

I don't like Johnny Depp
While Michelle chastised me for not being hot after the master pirate himself, I must hold my head high in my belief that it's hard to be attracted to a man who wears eyeliner better than I do. But then that would rule out my feelings for Simon Le Bon (in the 80s. puh-leeeze) and Marty Casey of the Lovehammers. Oh, and maybe even Clay Aiken. :::ignores snickers:::

Freestyle dancing and wrist weights don't mix
Not that I'm a dance major or aerobics junkie, but I thought that shaking what my mama gave me to vintage Madonna could be made into an even better workout with the addition of wrist weights. That was until Vogue started playing. What are you looking at? Ow! My left temple!

All I can say is that I'm glad to be back, it's a scary world out there.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 5:14 PM 2 comments

It's up to me

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's been...a week. From finger chopping to watching ANTM's finale to planning my way around upcoming trips and events, I'm beat. Mentally and physically.

Forget about celebrating the little things; my inner child was having a kicking-and-screaming, beating-arms-and-legs-on-the-floor tantrum. Why? Because in order to succeed, you actually have to work at it.

Can you believe it? To be a writer, you actually have to write. And write well. Oh, and to get published you might want to send out a query letter or two. Or two hundred. And even after all that, you might have to send out even more queries, or revise like mad so that someone will want to publish your masterpiece.

Despite all this hard work crap, I love what I do. I think I've just spent so much time with my words lately that, like a house guest who stays for a month instead of a weekend, we need to take a little break from each other. You know, the way people with other jobs do: leave it at the office and have relaxing evenings and weekends.

Seems that working all the time can slow you down. The ideas don't have a chance to develop and dance around in the garden before they're forced onto the page. Deadlines hang like long shadows over the desktop, blocking out thoughts of dinner or going over to the park to check out the swings.

It hit me last night that my muse doesn't have a chance if she's on call 24/7. In fact, I think she's hiding just beyond the neighbour's fence, playing with the spirit of Noah (he was put down last week, may he rest in peace).

So I'm declaring this beautiful Canadian long weekend as downtime. And I plan on enjoying it despite the anticipated twitching and nervous glances at the dark computer screen.

See ya Tuesday.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:15 AM 5 comments

New Uniforms Ruin Guests’ Appetites

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In an effort to reduce my need to type, I'm being lazy and sharing one of my submissions to a website that no longer seems to be in business. Enjoy.

New Uniforms Ruin Guests' Appetites
Orville, Nebraska—After a fresh coat of paint and new menu additions, the tables at The Whispering Pines Diner are still mostly vacant. Eric, a disgruntled busboy, places all the blame on the new yellowish-green uniforms.

While all restaurant employees were given the opportunity to vote on the color, the 17 year-old says that’s how the real problem started. “I’d never even heard of chartreuse before. So when we had to choose from purple, teal or chartreuse, I went for Door #3,” he explains.

Owner Bob Nebkin decided to save $3.98 in photocopying charges by printing the ballots in black and white. Apparently Eric wasn't the only Whispering Pines’ employee who wasn't able to put a color to a name. Out of the 37 votes, 22 were for chartreuse. Teal came in second with eight votes, leaving purple with seven.

Nebkin claims that if his staff were truly interested in seeing the colors, they could look at paint chips at Lowe’s. “Everyone’s happy when I’m spending money,” says Nebkin. “Then they start hollerin' when it’s time to work.”

But many staff members have come forward stating that it’s the uniforms—and not their poor service skills—that are turning away clientele. Lunch service, which used to average around 36 tables, has sunk to 11. After numerous requests, the split pea soup was removed from the menu.

“I don’t think I’ll be back,” said Gladys, a Wednesday regular. “Maybe they could turn down the lights or something.”

Even the new menu items of Ciao For Now Chicken and Puckering Pork Chops aren't attracting new faces. “Now our regulars are a small group of high school kids who order sodas and heckle the wait staff,” says Eric. “At least they leave a tip.”

Despite the drop in sales and the upcoming layoffs, one staff member has found a chartreuse uniform benefit. “Now I can burp my babies without worry,” claims server Lou Ann, a ten-year Whispering Pines veteran. “But this colour makes me look so bad, people on the bus ask me how my chemo is going.”

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:36 PM 0 comments

Celery is no friend of mine

Monday, May 14, 2007

Let this be a warning to you all: if you have a craving for a salad at 11:00 p.m., ignore it. Eat a chocolate bar instead; it's much safer.

After an excellent Mother's Day (Mom received her treats way in advance, while Mum came by for a nice lunch), I settled down at the computer to get to work on a magazine article. And the never-ending WIP.

After a few hours, I was starting to feel that I could actually write something that wasn't absolute crap. This is a major bonus at this stage of the game, as I usually hate everything until the night before it's due. So I wanted to celebrate. With a salad.

Never mind that I'd already had dinner hours before or that I'd have to chop and peel my way through the produce to get just what I craved. As a woman who had just created well over 6,000 words between her article and the WIP, I felt I deserved it.

Then I had to go and grab the celery.

Celery is one of those vegetables that everyone leaves for last on the veggies and dip platter. While it holds peanut butter or spray cheese exceptionally well, at the end of the day it still tastes like...celery.

But I wanted that bit of somewhat tasteless crunch in my late-night snack. So, suddenly feeling like this was a lot more work than grabbing a chocolate bar, I held up the celery and tried to cut a small piece off.

It was right then when I realized that I should have placed the stalks on a cutting board instead of holding the green crap in the air while cutting toward my other hand when the knife sliced through the top of the lot. Including a bit at the top of my left index finger.

You know, the part that comes in really handy when...doing anything.

To say I handled the situation well would be an outright lie. I freaked out completely. Luckily the DH comes from a medical family and he applied pressure and did all the stuff you're supposed to do, despite the finger in question being attached to a banshee.

So here I sit with a bandage the size of Ohio on one hand, trying not to rewrite the lyrics of "Blood on the Saddle" to create the new country hit "Blood on the Salad." My typing speed has been reduced to one-third if I can't count the misspelled words. ;)

The thing that bugs me the most is that I'm leaving for New York City at the end of the month, and you know airport security is going to think my index finger, if it still has a bandage, is a weapon of mass destruction.

And they call this healthy eating.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:14 AM 9 comments

Loving the schlump

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's only 11:00 and I'm starving. No meals have been skipped and I even added a mid-morning snack to my routine so that I wouldn't chew off my own arm (that would make it hard for me to type). So what gives?

I think my body is trying to sabotage my need for some new summer wardrobe items.

It longs to be in those schlumpy yoga pants and big baggy t-shirts from tropical destinations until Labour Day. Heck, make that Christmas. Now I'd be a total liar if I didn't admit that I adore the schlump, but it doesn't travel to client offices (or out in public at all) that well.

The desire to let it all hang out can result in some heinous photo opportunities that reveal to the world that I can spill paint, gravy, ketchup or just about anything that stains on my favourite schlump duds. And wearing dark colours just makes the dust bunnies and white cheddar more noticeable.

So what's a girl to do? Create schlump days.

By arranging one's schedule, it is possible to set aside one day a week where public appearances aren't necessary. If your immediate family sees you, that's okay. They'll still love you even though you've wearing hot pink and orange at the same time.

On schlump days, it's imperative that you stay inside. Unless you live on a ten-acre ranch just south of Nowhere, keep the blinds drawn and the doors locked. Walking to the corner store counts as going out. No matter what you've heard, running errands does not make you invisible; learn from celebrities' mistakes -- you see them in People all the time.

And don't even think about answering the door. The Jehovah's Witnesses could be back now that the neighbour's cat has been locked in the house. Using a webcam for conversations is not recommended either.

A schlump day is our way to wallow in bad yet comfortable taste. Why not make the most of it and watch some horrible B-movies or read one of those novels you tell your friends you refuse to even talk about? Yeah, you know the ones I'm talking about.

Now I just have to find my rainbow toe socks and my outfit is complete.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:54 AM 3 comments

Meme of Eight

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Amy was tagged three times with this meme and she has passed the love on to me! I know, I'm a lucky girl since I didn't want to post another rant about writing or creepy people. Here's the deal:

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their 8 things and post these rules.

3. At the end choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and to read your blog.


1. I've never seen Old Yeller. I can watch movies in which people get murdered, fall to their deaths or succumb to an illness, but if a dog bites the big one, I can't take it.

2. I enjoy salted licorice. It's an acquired taste, and totally my Dutch mother's fault.

3. I can wiggle my nose. Not side to side like Samantha in Bewitched, but up and down like...a freak.

4. I'm the woman telemarketers fear: the angry white female.

5. I try to save at least 10% off my grocery bill with coupons. I've even called companies who make the products I love to see if they'll send me some. (It works!)

6. I co-own a VHS copy of The Boy in the Plastic Bubble with my friend Joanne. The guy at the video store suggested we save $3.99 by purchasing one copy and sharing it. We gather for an annual viewing. Sad, I know, but we can't help ourselves. It's so tacky!

7. I enter a lot of contests. I'm even the co-chair of a contesting club that meets monthly to talk about...wait for it...contests!

8. I own two Clay Aiken CDs. Oh, and a copy of his autobiography. And you thought Amy liking the holographic doctor on Star Trek Voyager was bad.

Now it's time for tagging, hooray! Eight people? Okay then, I'm gonna tag:


posted by Bonnie Staring at 5:58 PM 4 comments

Decisions, decisions

Monday, May 7, 2007

The month of May has been filled with choices. Some are exactly the same as the ones I faced last month (what to eat, what to wear, what to watch), which is totally cool, but others have me weighing the pros and cons so many times that I've broken my mental scale.

Then I started reading the copy of Blink I purchased last month when I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more books. ;)

It turns out that our snap decisions aren't that far off the ones we make after spending a significant amount of time studying a situation. Our subconscious is a very powerful thing and picks up on external clues that we don't register until long after they started.

In the introduction author Malcolm Gladwell gives a brilliant example of what the curators at the Getty Museum went through to ensure that a piece they intended to add to their collection was not a fake. Core-sample tests were done by specialists, documents were checked and the statue was shipped across the Atlantic so that experts in that particular field could give their opinion.

Despite the "proof" that the tests provided, more than one expert felt a "significant negative emotion" upon looking at the statue for the first time. They couldn't explain why, but in their hearts they knew the piece was a fake.

Further investigation proved that the documents didn't add up and, despite the results of the scientific tests confiming the age and composition of the materials, the statue was declared a fake. While some experts made up their mind in 1.4 seconds, it took the Getty 14 months to reach the same conclusion.

Can you afford to spend 14 months on the wrong end of a decision? Neither can I.

So, I'm taking this lesson to heart so that I can focus my energies on the stuff I need to do, as opposed to the stuff I "should" do. There is a huge difference between the two, and one has a less cranky ending.

Hey, at least I'm being honest.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:49 AM 3 comments

Carnival of Humor Issue 6

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Need a good laugh? Or another way to procrastinate? Then check out bobbarama's current issue of the Carnival of Humor. Hilarity is a mere click away...

posted by Bonnie Staring at 3:22 PM 0 comments

Slumpy Middle

Friday, May 4, 2007

No, that's not the name of my new rock band. Although our first single, Gastric Bypass, would be destined for the Billboard Top 100 chart, for sure.

This post is about that novel I'm almost, almost done. Turns out the middle is...slumpy.

Was it taking out the extra 128 characters that caused the slumpage? Probably not. And the elimination of 15 scenes that involved eating should have keep the pace...skinny.

It appears that my main characters stopped and said: "Motivation? What motivation?" and then took a dance break. For three chapters. Oh, and when I say "dance break," I'm referring to dancing around the urgent matters in the novel—not the foxtrot or rumba.

So I had a little heart-to-heart with my heroine. She told me to stop messing with her life. She was starving and missed her 128 friends.

Despite my assurances that she didn't really need these people in her life and she could stand to lose the 225 pounds she gained in Draft 1, she threatened to end up with the WRONG MAN at the end of the novel.

I responded with a threat to change her name. To Rasputin.

Luckily we've called a truce. And she's promised to stop encouraging me to write about fast food when I work through the revisions. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:19 PM 4 comments

The cat scared the Jehovah's Witnesses

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

First I must preface this blog post to state that it is not my intent to poke fun at a group of people that have chosen a different religious path than mine. As my path is a tad faded and hard to follow, I appreciate their ability to stick to it.

And they also offer publishing opportunities for writers through The Watchtower magazine. I just wish they didn't go after subscribers door-to-door. ;)

This afternoon I was in full writing swing. The muse was camped out on my right shoulder, giving me the odd thumbs-up as I briskly worked through some pesky edits on the WIP. When the doorbell rang, it totally blew chunks. Talk about bad timing.

To open the door and spot two bible-bearing, smiling women was the absolute last thing I needed, but I tried my best to be polite.

"Get the hell off my porch, you zealots!"

Okay, maybe it was more like: "Uh, thanks, but I'm not a religious person. Have a nice day."

Before I could shut the screen door, the younger woman held it open. Great, I thought, they can't just take "Hell no!" for an answer.

"We understand," she said. "But does your neighbour own a black cat?"

She looked almost...anxious. And I noticed her clutch the bible closer to her chest.

Ohmigawd, had they done something to my neighbour's cat? "Yes, they do," I replied, opening the door up again. "Why?"

"We think he might be sick. He looks a mess, and he's howling," she said. "Do you have a key? It might be best to take him inside."

I assured them that I had a key and would do something about it. They smiled and left my front porch, moving on to the limited prospects of the houses down the rest of the street.

While Bonnie of two months ago would have simply grabbed the neighbour's spare key and hopped next door, I took a moment to become suspicious of the two charming bible babes and made sure to lock up my home securely before I went to see what all the fuss was about.

The neighbour's cat had turned into the spawn of Satan.

Well, it might have looked that way to someone who didn't know Noah. He's a black cat as old as dirt, who's also rolled around in a lot of it.

Noah's pushing 18 and he takes every opportunity to let you know about it. His arthritis makes self-cleaning a thing of the past and his rusty joints give him a scarecrow-like stance at the best of times. He's also really, really cranky...and deaf as a post.

Since we know each other I don't find his appearance all that odd. Or the howling screech that used to pass for a meow a lifetime ago.

But if you're a friendly, subscription-offering Jehovah's Witness, he's pretty darn scary. Hellish even.

It was my pleasure to let him back in the house; he'd done enough work for one day.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:34 PM 5 comments

I could be a court reporter!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Normally I don't look at spam, but every once in a while one slips through the cracks and makes me forget that these messages are evil and must stop.

But I could double my salary. It said so right in the subject line.

All I need to do is sign up for their online course. I can complete the exercises during the day or night, whenever I can fit it into my schedule. Oh, did I mention I could double my salary?

Of course, how do they know what I'm earning right now?

Despite the Big Brother creepiness, they obviously don't know me. I'm the woman who dozed off the last time I did jury duty. And when we were in the little room we had to wait in during parts that we weren't allowed to hear, I was the one who pushed the red button next to the door after the other jurors dared me to.

When the security guard opened the door and asked who pushed the button, he didn't look very happy. I had turned a light on in the hallway to indicate that we had reached a verdict.

We were only on the first day of a five-day trial. ;)

So to have a job where I'd have to stay conscious and play by the rules during Canadian court proceedings, which aren't at all like anything I've seen on Law & Order, probably isn't a good fit.

But it was nice to be asked in the first place.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 5:16 PM 2 comments