Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Saturday, December 10, 2005

I thought weekends were supposed to be days of rest. If so, someone never sent the memo this way. Geez! While doing the preparation for this progressive dinner party I told you about yesterday, I was reminded why I prefer catering. This is a lot of work! Not only was I reminded by the work...but by my husband, who helped me out in that department--repeatedly. Yeah, okay. I got it Mr. Broken Record. You hate doing dishes. I tried to tell him that I was just giving him a chance to show off doing something he's good at. That didn't fly. Then I told him that watching him do dishes really...did something to me. The stare he sent me couldn't have sliced a tomato any better than a Ginsu. Hmmm. Guess flattery and suggestion aren't what they used to be.

The good news is, the party turned out well. We have a mountain of food leftover. The folks who hosted appetizers for this progressive clearly overfed the guests because by the time they came here, everyone had a delicate appetite. Before you think it's my cooking, think again. Two of my neighbors assisted with the cooking. And no one at much dessert at the next house either. Oh well, the good news is that dinner tomorrow is already prepared and only needs to be reheated.

One thing that was funny... So at dessert, all the men stood around the hostess' kitchen island. The ladies were all seated at the table (around the food. Not smart on my part...), so we weren't more than a few feet apart. Well, we got on the subject of kids and what they see on TV and the Internet, etc. One lady at the table has pre-teenage boys and was not happy with the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (that, to her, doubled as a slut fest). Well, all of us had been around long enough to remember when Victoria's Secret still carried some soft, cuddly, halfway practical things, rather than bras that sounded like a physics experiment. I was asking someone who still shopped there why some of the D and DD cup bras had padding. What's up with that? Anyway, we looked up and realized that all of the men, who had previously been discussing their golf game and admitting to having a man crush on Lance Armstrong, were suddenly very quiet. Just proves that in any century, in any setting, guys are still guys. Mention unmentionables and it gets attention :-)

Once the party got underway, we had a great time. Nice to visit neighbors you just don't get to see frequently, given everyone's hectic lives. Uncomfortable moments here and again, though. My hubby, who is the treasurer for our homeowners association, has apparently told everyone what I write. So I got lots of questions, ranging from how I work and juggle my life, to verbal ponderings of the similarities between my work an porn. Oh, please. Gotta pen? I'll make you a list of the differences, sweetie. Gotta love living in the Bible belt...

Enough ramblings for the day. Here's today's Schedule:
5:37 am - I'm awake...again. I hate insomnia! But as long as I'm awake, may as well make good use of the time.

6:30 am - In my home office chair and been through all my emails. I'm ready to write. Want to finish a particularly juicy scene. Nothing like sneaking in a little solo oral sex while the spouse is still asleep. On the page, people! I'm in decent shape, but not a contortionist or so inclined. Geez! But wait, I can't write this now. My child is in my office reading Disney Adventure Stories aloud, spelling me the longer words and asking, "Mom, what's this?" The cat is perched on my desk, furry butt parked in front of my monitor, wailing one meow after the other in-between pointless attempts to catch my cursor. I love my family, but everyone wants attention this morning. I thought getting up early would buy me time to write. I run off to find a Diet Coke and come up with Plan B.

7:15 am - Hubby is awake, so he rescues me from playing reading teacher and pet sitter. Normally, I don't mind at all, but since we have so much to do today, this will be my only time to write. I let him take the "kids" downstairs and sink back into Fictionland.

9:00 am - CHALLENGE #1 RESULT: Oh, what a rush! Not only did I write the 5 pages I said I would, I wrote 8. I’ll put 3 in the bank toward tomorrow’s total. I'm really on a good track. Chapter 10 should be finished tomorrow or Monday, and I'm feeling good about it.

9:15 am - Time to goof off. We sit down as a family to eat and scroll the shows we Tivo'd during the week. Lots of "Dog, Bounty Hunter." My husband and child are happy. The cat doesn't seem to care. Then we watched Abbamania again. My child must the only one in the under 10 crowd who's well versed in Abba songs.

10:30 am - Time to start cleaning up and getting ready. There's just no interesting way to spin cleaning, so I won't try.

12:30 pm - After preliminary work is done, we shower up and leave to run errands for the party. Husband is still grumbling. Did you honestly think I didn't know how you felt? Put a lid on it!

1:00 pm - Is there a reason the post office has to be closed in the middle of the day 2 weeks before Christmas? What gives? There's a kiosk to assist. I think they call it an Automated Postal Machine or some such. All I know was it felt like the post office was open... but only one window accepting packages. I waited over 20 minutes to use it. Not my idea of a good time!

2:00 pm - Lunch. After a few more errands, my stomach is beginning to think my throat has been cut. We stop by our neighborhood Wendy's to get a nutritious lunch . Okay, so we stopped by to chow down. It worked.

5:00 pm - A quick trip through the grocery store later, and we're on our way home. We start fixing up everything necessary for the party. Hubby still acts as if he's not happy. I tune him out by walking through the next scene of my book in my head. Much more fun. I do have to give hubby credit, though. He honestly did a HUGE amount of the work necessary to pull this off. It would never have happened without him. Extra hugs and kisses for him.

6:15 pm - CHALLENGE #2 RESULT: Guests arrive. Showtime! Actually turns out really nice, as the folks at our table turn out to be a hoot. We talk about kids, cats, travel abroad and great places to get recipes. Oh, and my books. Everyone thinks I must be really interesting and worldly. Wonder what gives them that impression? Anyway, Christmas music in the background, and it's a nice time. See pic of my dining room table.

7:30 pm - Time to head to the neighbor's for dessert. Wow, their house is decorated so beautifully. It's like Ty Pennington came into their house and just went for it. I'm getting lots of new ideas. Hubby reminds me that the only ideas I'm allowed to have are for books. Since I've got deadlines, he's got a point .

9:30 pm - Back home and time for clean-up. Again, because there's nothing fun or interesting about this, I'll pass on the description. Except to say that the switch in music from Country Christmas to 80’s metal did get a raised brow out of him. What? C’mon, sing along. Pour some sugar on me…

10:45 pm - CHALLENGE #3 RESULT: Time to dig into daily post re: Publishing Survivor. I'm even more brain dead today at this time than yesterday. Gee, I hope this rambling makes any sense... But either way, I get it done.

11:15 pm - Okay, exhausted beyond knowing my own name, so I'm going to bed. Cat, who is currently curled up in my lap as I sit at my desk won't be happy. Sorry, Hermione!

We're closing in on 11:15. I'm off to collapse. I'm so not a night owl... But the good news is, I successfully completed all phases of my Reward Challenge, so tomorrow, I’m hoping to squeeze in a manicure. I may even toss in a pedicure if I'm extra good.

So... for tomorrow's Reward Challenge, I must:
1) Write at least 2 pages (preferably 5) on current manuscript
2) Finish the laundry
3) But a Christmas gift for my grandmother and get it in the mail.

What do I get if I succeed? Oh, an evening with my TV so I can watch the Survivor finale. Go Steph!

Tune in tomorrow to see if I can succeed and make it 2 for 2!


Blogger Jaci Burton said...

I can't believe you work full time, write full time, have a kidlet to chase after and have a house that looks like that.

I hope D never makes me take a pic of my house. It is so not pretty right now. Though I suppose I could rig up ONE table and fake it *g*

You pulled it off and I'm damned impressed. And managed to get writing in amidst the madness

Clearly you're some kind of Stepford wife *g*

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 2:34:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelley, my hat's off to you! A dinner party is soooo much work on top of everything else. I got tired just reading about it. When do you get a break?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 3:38:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next time I'll just read one day per day. I had to take a nap after reading day one and day two.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 4:19:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Shelley, darling, I'm your AGENT and you're motivating me!!! You always have so much wisdom to share; I'm just thrilled that you're our Publishing Survivor!

Plus, the dinner table is quite lovely. :) You are such a sharp and together woman!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 9:49:00 PM EST  
Blogger Shayla Black said...

Jaci, No, not a Stepford wife, just really motivated to squeeze as much into a day as possible. Some days I'm really efficient. Others...I just know it's not going to get done. That's life, right?

Julie, a break? You're kidding, right? That's one thing I really don't get many of. But I've been at this pace for the better part of 8 years. I'm kind of used to it. When I find spare time, I sort of freak and get bored easily. I think it's perspective. My mother still swears I'm underachieving.

Nancy, enjoy the nap. As an insomniac, I just can't take them. I'll live vicariously through you.

D - Talk about someone who's together! Sharp and together, huh? I think I've got you fooled. *Tee hee*

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 10:07:00 PM EST  
Blogger Nalini Singh said...

I'm exhausted just reading that, Shelley. My hat goes off to you for achieving so much each day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 12:55:00 AM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

Way to go, Shelley! You can hit 2 for 2, I know you can! I'm rooting for you! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 9:55:00 AM EST  
Blogger The Girl You Used to Know said...

I'm amazed. I have a hard time remembering I have two kids that I have to feed...much less feeding a group of thousands. (okay, not thousands, but to me, it would FEEL that way.)

I bow to your greatness. Teach me, Obi Wan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 10:56:00 AM EST  
Blogger Shayla Black said...

Nalini, running is a way of life now. I can ALWAYS think of something that needs to be done!

Robin, thanks for being my cheering section! Got a skirt and pom poms?

Mel, funny that you ask me about teaching you to learn to juggle. I'm going to be doing that very thing in an online class in February. Here's the link! http://www.celtichearts.org/academy Hope to see you there...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 1:36:00 PM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

LOL, Shelley! SHHH...it's been 20 years since I tossed my pom poms! UGH....

Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 11:13:00 PM EST  

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