Post 357

Friday, August 31, 2007

Why should I wait for an even number like 400 or something before I do a celebratory post? It's the Friday before the most significant long weekend of the year and I felt the need to par-tay. The parade should be here any minute.

But seriously, can you feel it? That urge to learn something new, take on some cool projects or look forward at the next four months and wonder how on earth you'll be able to achieve your goals for 2007?

Yeah, thought so.

Currently I'm caught in a web of conflicting priorities: new fall clothes, tempting evening/online courses, new magazines to write for and the next WIP. Which do I choose? Where do I start?

And the same thing happens to me at this time every year. Just one peek at a back-to-school ad am I'm twitching with the need to get new shoes and learn kung fu. Okay, maybe not king fu, but something that will take me out of my comfort zone. Like beach volleyball. ;)

It's also time for me to start thinking about what I want to be doing in 2008. Do I continue on my current path or are some adjustments necessary. In some cases, I know things need to change because I'm going batty, but others are on a way-cool vibe that I don't want to mess with too much.

Of course, trying to do this all, including much-needed website edits, just ain't gonna work right now...because it's the Friday before a long weekend. ;)

Enjoy it!


posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:30 PM 2 comments

Go quote yourself!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I borrowed this from Alexandra. Too much fun!

Everybody! Everybody wants a piece of Bonnie Staring!

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:


posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:16 PM 1 comments

If at first you don't succeed...give up

Monday, August 27, 2007

You read that correctly. Forget about the power of positive thinking, The Secret and all that rub-yourself-with-lucky-oil shenanigans, giving up is sometimes the best thing you can do.

No, I haven't been over-medicating myself, I'm serious. Here's why:

If you love something, set it free; if it comes back it's yours, if it doesn't, it never was.

That quote isn't just referring to the cute guy from accounting you have tied up in your basement; it relates to the things we want to do as well. Such as, you guessed it, writing.

Case in point: in my goal to send queries to at least 24 different publications this year, I've come across a heap of editors who don't respond. Imagine that -- someone sends them a lovely query letter and they don't even send a hasty "doesn't fit/covered it already/I know your cousin" reply so that I can move on to the next publication. Sheesh!

But that's the nature of the business. Editors are freaking busy and some of them feel it's best to just avoid the nasty rejection situation altogether. Then again, some take so darn long to get back to writers, a writer might have already written them off when an assignment letter lands in the inbox.

Maybe it's due to the full moon, but I was reviewing my query-letter spreadsheet (I know, freak of nature alert!) when I checked over a few queries that had been unanswered for nearly three months. Perhaps the cool editors I work with had spoiled me, but I felt that with the passing of that much time, I considered the queries free to send out to other publications or recycle them for next year.

That was on Saturday. Today, I received an assignment letter for one of those queries. After I had given up on hearing back on it.

Heck I also gave up on completing the first, second, third and fourth drafts of H&B. And each time, as soon as I gave up, my muse would appear again, looking mopey and begging me to give it another chance. Well, I did and, even though nothing has happened with it yet, at least I can say that I've finally completed a presentable draft of my manuscript.

And for a procrastinator like me, that's huge.

The quote also relates to pets...enjoy...Zaphod now weighs in at 14 ounces!

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 8:05 PM 2 comments

Doing the math

Friday, August 24, 2007

Numbers don't lie. Even when you scribble them quickly so that they're really hard to read.

Maybe it's all the back to school advertising I'm being exposed to right now, but I can't help but feel the need to organize everything. Not that it works for me or anything, mind you, but I did discover a few things using the new math:

1. If I spend 0 hours working on my current WIP, I end up with 0 new pages.

2. For each hour I spend entering contests, I lose approximately one hour of income. Go figure. But you never know, I could win something really, really cool. Who needs to pay the mortgage anyway?

3. The more I feed Zaphod, the bigger he gets (new photos coming soon, I promise).

4. The longer I put something off, the harder it is to do. I think that's a geometric equation...or something about slopes and gravitational pull.

5. If I send 0 article queries I receive, you guessed it, 0 article assignments.

6. If I spend three times the amount of time I anticipated working on a project that I charged out on a flat rate, that totally sucks. To the power of three.

7. All it takes is ONE email with the right idea to the right person at the right time to find a new opportunity.

8. This email can be written in 30 minutes or less, depending.

9. There are 24 hours a day. Sleep for 8, eat for 2 and you still have 14 hours. Spend a little time watching TV or checking blogs and you can still send out at least 10 article queries...or prepare book submission packages/emails. Let the family fend for themselves; you've got work to do!

10. Trying doesn't cost you anything except time. Not trying at all is too expensive for any soul.

Okay, let me get some work done...I've got some emails to write...

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 3:02 PM 7 comments

Text it like Beckham

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It could have been the late-night snack food binge or the up-all-hours gab fest in a swanky downtown Toronto hotel room, but the result was a very interesting dream.

Of course, it would be way too easy for my subconscious to reward all of my happy news of late with a very rewarding happily ever after kind of dream that could end up in an Ellora's Cave novel. So instead, I get this:

I'm part of the incredible David Beckham machine. It's a whirling assembly of photographers, handlers, security and assistants who ensure that everything is happening at the right place, the right time and that the entire Beckham clan looks blooming beautiful thoughout it all. Le sigh.

For this dream I am cast in the role of the lowly assistant's assistant, tasked with holding open a door here and there, shutting a curtain and placing empty water bottles into recycling bins. (I sneak the one that David was using into my purse, which earns me a nasty look from one of the beefy security guards).

I was in the same room with Mr. Beckham (and Posh and the kids) for about 45 seconds, give or take, due to their flight to Toronto arriving late and someone screwing up the chauffeur arrangements. Still, I felt pleased to have done my part without squealing out loud.

The few of us who remained in the room all sank into the plush leather sofas and chairs in the hotel suite and nibbled on the remaining fruit kebabs and pita wedges. When my cell beeped, signalling an incoming text message, I assumed it was from the overall Beckham brigade supervisor, responding to the "ALL CLEAR" I had just sent in.

But it wasn't. The message was from the benched footballer himself.

In it, he told me that I was the recipient since I seemed the one who was most responsive to his needs during our short time together. Before I had a chance to swoon I noticed that what followed was a laundry list of things that he insisted had been done incorrectly and needed to be fixed/apologized for/rearranged immediately or else he'd never come back to Canada again.

Then the light on my phone's display kept on going out, so I was having trouble making out what these horrible mistakes were. They, and I'm paraphrasing here, went along the lines of:

1. Water wrong temperature. Blah blah blah. Limes needed. Blah blah blah. Blue caps only.

2. Photographs taken without blah blah blah. Until further notice, blah blah blah on white backgrounds only.

3. No melons. Posh blah blah blah allergy to pineapple. Kids prefer blah blah blah and seedless grapes.

I scrolled down, revealing David had personally taken the time to pen at least ten more points, when someone tapped on my shoulder.

It was my friend Laura; she had woken me up before I could find out what else my team and I had done to upset David Beckham.

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:15 PM 2 comments

Too tired to eat

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Last week has finally caught up with me. It hit me last night, in the middle of deciding which version of CSI to watch. The DH asked if I wanted some pralines and cream ice cream (direct from Baskin-Robbins) to go with the criminal investigations, and I had to decline: I was too tired to eat.

That phrase is one I had never even considered until a few years ago. It's something my friend Joanne says from time to time. Heck, she's the slowest eater I know, taking her sweet time, not minding if the food is way beyond lukewarm as she clears her plate. And she has moments when even the thought of eating has her feeling even more exhausted. That's me right now.

The DH even let me sleep in so that he and Zaphod could have some proper kitty-Daddy bonding time. They probably played a game of chess and listened to Emerson Lake & Palmer.

But, tired as I am, I am heading off to a wild girl's night with my pal Laura from London, the party capital of Canada. We have a suite at a downtown hotel, a vast supply of snack foods and a good half-year of gossip to catch up on.

It's gonna be awesome! See you on the other side. ;)


posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:56 AM 2 comments

Free socks

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't one of the best darn weeks I've had in ages. Here's a quick recap:

Monday: get an email letting me know about a new show that's looking to cast for its pilot episode ASAP. Send in headshot and resume.

Tuesday: get called in to audition. Have a great time despite the lack of snack foods.

Wednesday: get the call: I'm in! Prepare myself for a lot of "hurry up and wait" over the next few weeks. Force DH to take me out to McDonalds for a celebratory burger.

Thursday: a prospective agent requests to see my full manuscript! SQUEE! DH coaxes me down from the ceiling with the help of Zaphod the kitty.

Friday: receive a coupon in the mail for a free 3-pack of socks.

And I just thought things were awesome enough without the Friday bonus. Maybe the socks will come in handy during the show taping, or the pacing I'll be doing while waiting for the agent's feedback. ;)

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:05 PM 4 comments

Bonnie feels

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ah, this one is fun. Thanks to Amy for this one. I Googled "Bonnie feels" to find out my emotional state. Apparently there's a lot going on:

1. Bonnie feels that no one will talk to her. (Hello? Is anybody there?)

2. Bonnie feels you can live a good life with SM, in spite of the pain. (For a second there I thought it said S&M...)

3. Bonnie feels that girls, in particular, need even more opportunities to develop a sense that they can pursue the questions that interest them. (Such as: Where does Daniel Craig live exactly? Is he allergic to cats?)

4. Bonnie feels she received such heat from the WWF, Vince, and all promoters was because she came from the world of modeling. (Totally.)

5. Bonnie feels that franks and beans are a British classic NOT American. (Same with those mushy peas...)

6. Bonnie feels that Kim continually "lords" her victories over her. (Skanky 'ho!)

7. Bonnie feels this way at least in part because “it’s all relative.” (Oh no, not the evil twins again.)

8. Bonnie feels better and better. (Um, thanks, you read it here first people.)

9. Bonnie feels that there is significant merit to a variety of photographic styles. (Especially when we're talking about photos of Daniel Craig...covered in franks and beans...)

and finally...

10. Bonnie feels it’s important to share some things. (But what they are I'm not gonna tell you.)


posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:42 PM 2 comments

Today's lesson

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:24 PM 0 comments

Quite the handful

Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh yeah, I'm totally under this ninja kitty's mind control. You try looking into those eyes and denying him anything, I dare you!

Thanks go to Michelle for taking this awesome photo!

And it's really hard to type when you're holding a kitten...especially when Zaphod tries to help. He hasn't quite mastered the shift key yet. The sh*t key, however, is perfect, thanks for asking. ;)

But enough about kitten love, it's time for this writer to focus on biz-ness. My goal of sending out at least one article query letter a week dried up in the August heat and now I find myself looking at an October with only the So You Think You Can Dance show in Toronto to look forward to. I can't wait to see them, but waiting isn't what pays the bills around here. That's what the money trees do. :)

And when I find a hole in my income-earning schedule, I always come up with a gazillion things to do that really do nothing to earn quality cash. Like auditioning for Canadian game shows or starting a Facebook page for Zaphod. (I can't, at least not until he starts earning money as a cute kitten for toilet paper commercials.)

So how do I stay focused? Bifocals. ;)

No, seriously, sometimes a day of nothing is the best thing I can do when I'm feeling overwhelmed by everything. The trouble is that it's really hard to get off the hamster wheel of freelancing when every waking hour has the possibility of becoming a billable one.

When financial advisers tell people to pay themselves first, I think they're referring to time as well as money. At least we should interpret it that way.

But what about you? How to you stay focused when ironing your December party dress is more tempting than working on what needs to get done?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:46 PM 2 comments

Win it like you mean it

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yesterday I was at the Toronto Romance Writers monthly meeting when something absolutely incredible happened: I held the first raffle ticket drawn for the wealth of cool prizes available! Woo hoo! This never happens to me, as I normally sit there coveting the wonderful books and other stuff up for grabs and watch everyone else win. ;)

But not yesterday. As soon as I realized it was my number that was drawn, I decided to put on the moves meant for an episode of Let's Make a Deal and totally owned the win. I hooted! I hollered! I high-fived people as I moved my way down to the front of the room. I grabbed Jude (who drew the ticket) and jumped around all over the place. I oohed and ahhed over the prizes and made my selection. Then I cheered on all the other winners.

It was exhausting, but totally fun.

And I guess I went kinda crazy (okay, normal for me, crazy for others) because, as a regular contest enterer (contestor), I normally find out I've won something when I check my email or open up my snail mail and no one else is around to witness it. Well, now there's Zaphod, and if the DH is home I'll prance around like a freak, but then he pulls out the camera. ;)

Yesterday -- with all my fellow romance writers there with their tickets clutched firmly in their hands, willing the universe to respond with their number -- it was like being at bingo again. Shoot, I haven't played in years, but all the excitement came rushing back when my number was called. My number! Squee! Only this time I wasn't playing for the jackpot but hey, a win's a win.

And it's really important to own every win that comes your way. To raise your hand high and claim it for all to see. Because when you accept it, you're letting the universe know that you're ready for more.

I know, I know, I'm bringing up the law of attraction without a permit, but I think it's true. You celebrate any win, no matter how small, and it'll attract more wins. Like locusts. Or used car salesmen.

This is when I clarify things a bit and say that the contests I'm entering all the time aren't writing ones -- they're the win a car, a trip, a stereo system know, those kinds of contests. The ones "they" say no one ever wins. Hah, they're lying!

I'm even a member of a contesting club: The T.O. Wanna Winners. Oh yeah, be very afraid. We're all in it to win it and compare contesting tips, encourage each other through dry spells and even warn others about contest scams and other freaky stuff. It's fun: we even have draws for prizes at meetings. How cool is that?

And how has entering contests helped me get any writing done this weekend? Uh, it hasn't, but I did win a music download and a red M3P player in the wee hours this morning.



posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:31 PM 2 comments

Worlds collide

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yesterday was just too freaky for words. And it was a Friday. ;)

The DH and I were expecting three lovely ladies for an afternoon visit (they wanted to see Zaphod, and who doesn't, really?) when the doorbell rang. Instead of seeing Michelle, her mom and her sister, I found Mike, one of my comedy school classmates.

At that moment a few reasons for his drive-by, almost three years since we last saw each other, went through my mind:

1. He saw the article in Homemakers and wanted to congratulate me.

2. He saw the article in Homemakers and wanted to hit me up for a loan.

3. He wanted to recruit me for Amway.

4. He ran out of gas around the corner and needed $20.

Okay, all joking aside, it was great to see him, but his timing couldn't have been worse. A few minutes into catching up, the three kitten-loving ladies arrived and I soon had six people in our tiny living room. Plus a wee kitten who was cuddled up with the DH wondering what the heck was going on, since he really wanted to run around on the couch with his favourite hunk of rope.

Oh yeah, we've spared no expense for Zaphod.

At the risk of being rude to my expected guests, I dragged Mike into the kitchen so that the kitten love-in could continue without our post-comedy-school comparison getting in the way. While I shied away from performing, Mike has been doggedly working at it. And I applaud him for it as it takes a lot of guts to eke out a living in the world of stand up. Since graduation, Mike's hooked up with an agent, gotten some regular gigs and even appears in the video that shows what to do in case of an emergency on Air Canada flights. Very cool!

He and his wife also have a two-year-old. We have a kitten. :)

And the reason Mike dropped by? He was in the neighbourhood, saw the front door open and decided to drop by to say hello. He didn't event know about the Homemakers article, so I had a chance to brag about my writing career...and that I was on my way to landing an agent of my own. In my case a literary one.

Despite the years, not much has changed with my comedy comrade. His features light up when he talks about his last gigs and he drops the odd name without being too much of a braggart. He's always been a guy with his heart in the right place, even though his love of all things hockey meant that a lot of his sketches in class had a particular theme.

We both share a certain sense of dissatisfaction with comedy school, as there's nothing worse than experiencing comedic peer pressure (Make us laugh! Go ahead!) when you're in your 30s.

Ah, good times. Well, not really. But at least the course gave us a chance to learn more about ourselves and which paths we should explore. His involves juggling fatherhood, paying gigs and punch lines; mine is about words, spending time with the DH and helping Zaphod become the terrific cat he is destined to be.

And if comedy school made that possible, I don't regret a thing. Well, maybe one or two things, but until they show up on You Tube, I'll be fine.

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:20 PM 2 comments

Panic at the Inbox

Thursday, August 9, 2007

This has been an interesting week for me. Kitty care aside, it seems that every time I check my email, there's more stuff I need to do. Thankfully most of it is for money, but some of the other stuff I really can't pass off onto others or suddenly feign a coma to get out of doing it.

When I whined to a girlfriend about it, she told me to stop checking my email ALL THE FREAKING TIME. LIKE EVERY FIVE MINUTES. And that reminded me of the last time she gave me that sage advice when I started working from home -- and it actually helped.

It's the power of three. Now I'm not talking about only checking your email every three days or so (can you imagine?), I'm referring to the three times during business hours method: first thing in the morning, after lunch and before it's too late to respond by 5:00 p.m. It's a method that helped me stay offline and remain focused on the project(s) at hand.

So why the heck did I stop doing that?

Beats me.

So I tried it for the first time in ages today...and you know something? It kind of worked. While there were still some emails in there that I didn't want to see (requests for revisions, ACK!), I felt better prepared to receive them. Huh, who knew?

So if you're sitting there hitting the "Send/Receive" in Outlook, "Check Mail" in Hotmail or "Write Me Dammit" in (kidding!), maybe you should think about laying off the mouse button a little bit. Or not. ;)

In the meantime, I have some emails to look over...

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:52 PM 0 comments

Catching up

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Here it is Wednesday already and I haven't posted a thing yet this week. Bad blogger!

Truth be told, I've been multitasking. Not very well, mind you, but an earnest attempt is being made. Writing. Kitten loving. Billing. Kitten feeding. Editing. Checking on Zaphod to make sure he's still breathing...just in case.

Yeah, I'm a mess. He's so cute and I've totally fallen under his purring spell. Hours that used to be spent watching horrible television programs are now spent entertaining a kitten with the horrible TV shows playing in the background. Or soothing music. He seems to like jazz. I'll wait a bit before I introduce any retro 80s stuff--Prince might overwhelm him.

And it is true. The publication of my long-awaited article has not changed my life. It appears that I still have to work hard at my words, submit queries and meet deadlines. Sigh. And there I was thinking that everything would fall into place once I finished the manuscript...or found a nice pair of black pants...or found those cute little shoes I coveted way back in April on sale.

All this hanging with a 9-ounce bundle of fur has made me rethink some things. As if I needed to do any more of that, I know. ;) But sometimes we get so tied up in crossing things off our to-do lists, we lose track of what it is that we really want to do as opposed to what we have to do.

Oh, but this is getting way too serious, so here are some more Zaphod photos:

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:09 PM 5 comments

Shameless plug

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My article "Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned in Comedy School" is in the September 2007 issue of Homemakers Magazine. Hooray!

This was a huge deal for me as I've been reading Homemakers (including Mom's copies) for almost three decades. Not that having an article published anywhere else isn't cool too; it's just that I considered this publication as a holy grail of sorts. One of those "I'll know I've made it when I can write for them" publications. Of course, if you reside in America or across the pond (Hi Katy!), you probably have no idea what Homemakers is. I guess I'll have to scan the article and link to it somehow since it's not being put online yet for the magazine.

And I have a confession to make: this article almost didn't happen.

Why? Because I felt I wasn't "ready." You know that feeling you get when you look at all the other awesome people around you and feel that you just can't compete? Oh yeah, I clung to my loser hat like a non-swimmer stuck in the deep end of life. I felt like I hadn't "earned the right" to approach such a publication.

Then, over a lovely meal at Red Lobster, Michelle Rowen asked one fateful question:

"Why not?"

I had written for other uber-cool publications, and although they may not have as large a circulation as Homemakers, the editors I worked with still wanted quality pieces for their readers to enjoy. And they kept on sending more work my way. So why did I feel that I didn't have the chops to step into the national women's magazines ring?

Um, probably because I was a complete chicken. ;)

But, as my grandmother always says, "If you don't ask, you don't get."

And, when it came right down to it, going to comedy school was an experience that taught me a lot more than just how to make it in the funny business. It showed me that not going after what I want is scarier than taking a risk any day.

Alas, my life did not change when I flipped open the magazine to see my article there. Not that it was going to, but after waiting for almost a year (seriously) to see this piece in print, I almost expected balloons to drop from the ceiling or my hair to suddenly appear blonder.

Hmm, maybe that will happen tomorrow. ;)

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:58 AM 4 comments

I've been a little busy...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

His name is Zaphod, in honour of DH's love for all things Douglas Adams. He fits in one hand and squeaks like a little rubber toy (and no, it's not because I'm squeezing him!). The wee little bundle was discovered in our back yard on Wednesday evening. We waited for his mom to return, but she appears to have been gone for a while, based on how hungry this unweaned little fella still is. Luckily we have eyedroppers in this household for some reason.

We estimate that he's between two and three weeks old, and he's quite wobbly on his feet. When Zaphod was discovered by the DH, both of our neighbours insisted that we take him in. At the time, I was enjoying a meal with Michelle, not realizing what the fates had in store for my five-houseplant household.
Zaphod and I enjoy naps and Dr. Phil (on the loaner TV). Funny, I've always considered myself a dog person, but I think I'm just a sucker for a small bundle of fur who needs some help to discover what being a cat is all about.
Oh my goodness, I've turned into a crazy cat lady already! Good thing I'm not allergic, I think. ;)


posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:09 PM 6 comments

Happy August!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I almost forgot that a new month started today until I received a call from my dentist about an appointment that I didn't seem to have in my calendar. Because I was still in July, like a cavity-prone doofus. Wow, what happened to the first seven months of the year?

Seven months. Doesn't that sound like oodles of time to get stuff done?

Let's take a look at my list of goals for 2007 and see how I'm doing:

GOAL: Revise Suds and start shopping it around. (Land an agent and selling the book are on the list too, but first things first, okay?)
STATUS: Completed July 30, 2007. Now referred to as H&B, I have made contact with one agent in the pursuit of representation and publication.

GOAL: Add another magazine column to my roster.
STATUS: Completed January 24, 2007. (Oh yeah, I rock!)

GOAL: Submit one magazine article query letter a week. (I was able to do this for five months last year, let's try it for all 12 this time!)
STATUS: Completed to date. 33 queries sent out so far this year, so I'm just a smidgen over target.

GOAL: Find a writing group that works for me.
STATUS: Incomplete. One attempt made, but I felt too stressed to continue. Maybe next year. ;)

GOAL: Less TV and more living.
STATUS: Incomplete. Still working on that.

GOAL: Write another book or two (I have the ideas, just need to get them out of my head).
STATUS: Incomplete. Check back with me in December on that one.

GOAL: Win some fabulous contests.
STATUS: Complete but keep the wins coming! I won a 42" TV, gift certificates and a bunch of other stuff so far this year.

GOAL: Travel more.
STATUS: Completed. NYC with Michelle in May. Planning to hit RWA Nationals in San Fran next year too. Oh, but that's next year...never mind.

GOAL: Try new things.
STATUS: Completed. Test the Nation: Mind Your Language. Ziplining and rappelling. Actually sending out a query for my book instead of just talking about it.

GOAL: Eat more veggies - except the evil ones.
STATUS: Completed and have the scars to prove it.

Heck, I'm not doing too bad! Looks like I have lots of time to work on those five gazillion books. ;) Maybe I'll treat myself to another holiday before the end of the year...or just have a nap.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:40 PM 2 comments