The Menu

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Even though we had to work on Thanksgiving, we didn't go without.  It was Kim's idea to host Thanksgiving but since she's moving soon, Natasha was gracious enough to have us all over to her place.  We put out all of the goodies and looked at the table.  We all agreed, even though we weren't with our families, it certainly still felt like Thanksgiving.

David carved the turkey which was lovingly brined for 12 hours by Kim.  She used a complicated recipe and even rubbed lemon juice, zest and butter under the skin of the bird.  It was quite possibly the best turkey I have ever tasted.

I made stuffing and baked, candied cranberries.  We also had mashed potatoes, rolls, pasta (with Pakistani spices by Natasha), macaroni and cheese (homemade by Arrianee) and of course green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.  Wonderful!  Addison even stopped by with Sangria.

Live Music

Friday, 27 November 2009

My writing retreat can't be all work and no play...

A contact suggested that I stop by Nana's Irish Pub in Newport for live music this weekend.  The restaurant is indeed run by a family who immigrated to the US from Ireland in 1990.  They first started the pub in Viginia and then in 2008 moved to Oregon's coast.

Henry Cooper & Leonard Maxson are set to play the blues at Nana's.  Here's the review for the group on the pub's website:

Without question, Henry has long been regarded as one of the Northwest’s premier guitar players. Whether it is working in a band like The Terraplanes or the Duffy Bishop Band, backing Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or leading his own outfit, Henry has always entertained us. You can hear influences of Albert Collins, Muddy Waters or Elmore James, but listening to Henry you know that you’re hearing somebody unique. Someone who has established his own sound. A sound that captivates with its bluesy grooves and slides.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, 26 November 2009
The Novaks spent their first wedding anniversary in a concentration camp.  Today (50 years later) the Hungarian couple fed 400 people Thanksgiving Dinner at their thriving family restaurant in Albany, Oregon - for free.  Today we aired the inspirational story by reporter Molly Blancett on KVAL News. 

I was inspired to feel less sorry for myself.  Kingsley and I are both working, healthy and safe.  I'm sure the Novaks wondered several times if they'd ever see one another again in their camp or if they'd even survive.  That would be almost too much to bear and even though this years has had its struggles (read about the Saga), I am thankful for many blessings.

My job is kick a$$ and even though I have to work the holidays, I enjoy what I do and feel excited (almost) every day to get up and do what I love.  My paycheck keeps me making the bills each month AND getting closer to becoming debt free!  It also helps me buy plane tickets to visit my family (my little brother graduates from the Ohio State University in two weeks) and my supportive, sweet husband.

Thank you, also, dear reader for being a part of my life and sharing parts of yours with me.  It would be pretty lonely without you.

Book Proposal Update

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
I'm so glad to have you as an accountability partner!  Since I know I have to give updates, I've been working on my latest book proposal more often than I would have otherwise.  So thanks, thanks for the help. 

Last Saturday evening I spent a good 20 minutes (pathetic I know) working on the sample chapter and then Tuesday night, inspired by the new location of my desk, I spent about 45 minutes working on it.  I'm past 4,200 words and that's just the sample and intro.  The 20+ pages of the actual proposal are shaping up as well.

This weekend I'm going on my first writing retreat. 

I will be working Thanksgiving and the day afterwards so I've made reservations for an evening at the coast (historic Nye Beach) as a treat.  My room at Elizabeth Street Inn is comped because I won a drawing for donating an hour's pay to charity United Way every month. 

My plan is to get in at least three solid hours of writing in on Saturday and Sunday.  The rooms at the Inn overlook the Pacific Ocean and come with a gas fireplace so I'm hoping to be comfortable and inspired. 

I don't know anything about "writing retreats" and this one is self-designed so if you have suggestions on how to get the most out of uninterupted time, please post a comment.  I'm reading online articles now about pre-retreat coaching.

Read, Reading, Would like to Read

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Last week I finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.  Ever read one of those books where every time someone asks you what you're reading they say "Oh!  I've heard that's a really good book!" This is one of those books.  Everyone I've talked to seems to think it is excellent.  That's why even after the first few pages, I struggled to keep reading it when normally, I'd just move on. 

Middlesex (2003) is a fiction book about a hermaphrodite.  The main character begins life as a girl, Callioppe.  Once she reaches puberty, she notices she likes girls and never begins to menstrate.  (SPOILER WARNING if you haven't read the book...)  After visits to doctors in NYC with her scared, aging 1st generation American-Greek parents, Cal finds out he also has male sexual organs and has too much testatorone pumping through his body to be classified as a female any longer.

Eugenides earned a Pulitzer Prize for Middlesex and even though the narrative picks up toward the end of the book, I never fully got into it.  The story line starts off slowly with flashbacks to the grandparents coming together in a small Grecian village and making a journey over on the boat.  That's when the grandparents who are brother and sister decide to become husband and wife.  That union ultimately leads to Cal's gene deficiency. 

The importance of a close-knit family is woven into the story from the beginning so It is hard to believe when Cal just runs away from his parents after a doctor's appointment in New York at the age of 15.  He doesn't contact the family for months and works in a sex show.

For me, moral of the story is:  if you don't like the book in the beginning, best to put it down and try another one.  I guess I just felt since it was an award-winner about gender-issues (a more modern literary topic) that I should stick with it.  However, if you want to read it, the book becomes more interesting in the second half.

Now, I'm onto A Passage to India (1924) by E. M. Forster. 

On the way into work today, NPR's Teri Gross was interviewing Jeff Sharlet about his book, The Family: The Secret Fundalmentalism at the Heart of American Power.  I'm going to put this one on hold at the library.  It is a bit scary to me to know there is a fundamentalist, tax-dodging group with potentially a large amount of access to naive lawmakers. 

Here's part of a review on NPR's site:

Founded in 1935 in opposition to FDR's New Deal, the evangelical group's views on religion and politics are so singular that some other Christian-right organizations consider them heretical.

The group also has a connection to a house in Washington, D.C., known as C Street. Owned by a foundation affiliated with the Family, C Street is officially registered as a church; in practice, it serves as a meeting place and residence for politicians like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Nevada Sen. John Ensign and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.

The Family, Sharlet writes, is responsible for founding the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a supposedly ecumenical — but implicitly Christian — event attended by the president, members of Congress and dignitaries from around the world. These foreign delegations are often led by top defense personnel, who use it as an opportunity to lobby the most influential people in Washington — and who repay the Family with access to their governments.

Vampires Aren't Real

Monday, 23 November 2009

It's amazing how the instant communication of the internet can get things stirred up. 

Disclaimer:  I have not read the Twilight series and I have not viewed the movies.

Tonight on KVAL we are running a story by a Portland affiliate reporter Anita Kissee of KATU about Twilight and the message it sends to girls and young woman.  There are two sides:  some support the series for it's moral apptitude and message of chastidy (the author creates the vampire character to be too dangerous for touching) but critics say the main character (Bella) is a bad role model.

What's the big deal?

Women of modern thought take issue with:

1.  Bella's low self-esteem
2.  Bella's need to be saved constantly by Edward
3.  Bella's need to change species to be with Edward
4.  Bella's forced denial of her family/friends to be with Edward
5.  Bella's daily tasks of (seemingly only) cooking and cleaning 
6.  Glorification of teen marriage and pregnancy
7.  Glorification of no "choice" when it comes to carrying a being that is killing Bella from the inside

Stephenie Meyer, the author, defends herself on website when asked if Bella is anti-feminist:

When I hear or read theories about Bella being an anti-feminist character, those theories are usually predicated on her choices. In the beginning, she chooses romantic love over everything else. Eventually, she chooses to marry at an early age and then chooses to keep an unexpected and dangerous baby. I never meant for her fictional choices to be a model for anyone else's real life choices. She is a character in a story, nothing more or less. On top of that, this is not even realistic fiction, it's a fantasy with vampires and werewolves, so no one could ever make her exact choices. Bella chooses things differently than how I would do it if I were in her shoes, because she is a very different type of person than I am. Also, she's in a situation that none of us has ever been in, because she lives in a fantasy world. But do her choices make her a negative example of empowerment? For myself personally, I don't think so.

Another negative take on the series is from a 19 year old blogger.  She says she learned several things from Twilight including: 

Women should want to cook and clean, and stay in the home, forsaking education for family.  Women must expect men to invade their privacy and, what’s more, they must desire this.  Women should accept that they are incapable of making even small decisions in their own lives and they must, instead, submit to the will of a man.  Women must understand they are worthless without a man.  Women must understand they are nothing without a man.   Women must understand they will never with anything without a man.  Women must believe these things are done out of love.

But come on!  Aren't young women smart enough to read a fictional book and just be entertained?  Or should readers know there's a controversy brewing? 

On a commenting forum, here's what some fans are saying:

This is a story. Not an instruction manual to life.

People are over analysing and trying to find ways to get people not into the books!  People need to just settle down.

I think the fact that she's making a choice to be with him sort of goes over their heads and they see it as a way of her being subordinate since she's never really "equal" to him.


Soul Food

Sunday, 22 November 2009
I did finally shower (once) this weekend and managed to do a load of laundry but beyond that, I haven't been out of my PJs.  This flu/cold hit me hard on Thursday and by Friday night I was lying on my back in bed with a bag of frozen corn on my sinuses.  I haven't felt that bad in years.

Much better today, I was actually hungry so I decided to roast a chicken and enjoy a plate of soul food.  I rarely eat meat anymore and this is such an easy meal to do.

(Makes 2 servings)
1 chicken breast w/skin and bones (the one I purchased was large)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 small carrots, peeled
2 medium parsnips, peeled
1 medium potato, peeled
1 half yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
3 sprigs fresh Rosemary
Chop all veggies to be about the same size

Rub both sides of the chicken with olive oil, fresh salt, fresh ground pepper
Coat veggies with olive oil, salt pepper
Toss the veggies on the chicken, add Rosemary
Bake at 350 F for one hour
Stir, reduce heat to 325 and add 2 tablespoons boiling water to help veggies cook, bake another 45 minutes

The parsnips come out sweet and tasty and the onions and garlic give a little snap to the potatoes and chicken with a touch of Rosemary.



Violet the Spider Slayer

Maybe you don't love kitties.  Maybe you love dogs.  Hopefully you just love animals.  Either way, behold the power of the Spider Slayer:

She is a small cat with tiny black paws but apparently she knows how to use them.  While I was sleeping last week, a spider was obviously on its way to kill me.  I do not know how rough the battle was but there was only one survivor.  Violet, triumphant:

I found the carcass of the enemy when I went into the kitchen the next morning for coffee.  It was crumpled near the Slayer's water bowl.  Beware, the picture is gruesome.

You may have noticed my crazed fear of spiders from this previous post and this one.  This cat is as good as gold.  Who the heck knew spiders like this live in Oregon?  Disgusting.

You go girl!

"Locked" On Live TV

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Two Cents to Healthcare

I have a pre-existing health condition.  If you have Asthma, so do you.

If you've never been out of a job then you might not know how hard it is to get health insurance with a pre-existing health condition.  It is nearly impossible.  If you can get private health insurance on your own (in this recession most companies will not take you unless you have perfect health), you'll pay $5000 a month at least just to be insured.  That doesn't include co-pays or deductibles.

Now days, there's a healthcare reform in the works.  Some people like to rage against the momentum.  Yes, change is not easy but sometimes it is for the best.

Hard to believe now, but you might not always hold that high-paying position with a company that offers good health insurance.  They might decide to drop the family coverage, you might get laid off, then what?  In the current system, you'll have to pay out of your pocket for your wife's breast cancer treatments and your son's allergy shots.  One doctor's visit costs approximately $150 out of pocket.  Medications?  Up to $250 for one month or more depending on the treatment.

We need to stop resisting change.  Whether or not you agree with the bill in the House right now, please stop saying things like "THIS IS GOD'S AMERICA!  DOWN WITH SOCIALISM!"

Socialism is defined as "a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended."

Healthcare is not going to based on how hard you work or whether you work.  If you take a step back and look at the current system, that's how it is.  The better your job, the better your healthcare. With the bills going through the House and Senate now, there will also be a private option so if you want to remain away from the "poor people" and get the elite healthcare you think you deserve - you still can!

I'm just getting wary of pundits passing down these generalized statements to people who don't know any better.  Remember, the folks on FOX get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to entertain and they'll never have a problem affording healthcare.

If I lose my job, I will.

Your daughter?  On the system we have now, when she's out of the umbrella of parental health insurance (age 25) and can't afford to pay for an appendectomy and complications she'll have to file for medical bankruptcy.   Hopefully you'll have enough in a retirement fund to help her pay.

Violet is Adjusting

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Violet is adjusting to her new home with me.  She's a sweetie.  She even killed a huge spider yesterday.  However, I found out she really likes to play in the toilet. Gross.  I have to keep the lid down.

On-air online

Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Being a journo in this day and age is not always easy. Except for the instant search abiltity with Google and much lighter equipment, advances in technology mixed with the "traditional" pursuit of news journalism can be confusing. 

At our administrator uses the commenting feature on our stories.  That means, anyone in the world-wide-web can post an opinion, insults, threats and lies in the small section after our stories.  You don't know who they are and their accounts are verfied by an email that may not be tied to a real person.

This is new territory.

As a television news journalist at KVAL, I'm required to post my story on our website, with my name and video of the piece.  There's no protection against people telling me my work is "crap" and that I am "ignorant and inexperienced" and "trash."  Ouch.  Constructive criticism is important and I always respond to viewer emails but this goes past that. 

I guess with the changing face of journalism (online stories), we will have to defend our work to people who hide behind usernames.  I feel it is much more difficult for on-air folks.  The anons know where to find us and the hours we work because they see us on the tube every night.  There's a different connection with a face on TV than a by-line and an email address.

Newspaper and AP wire writers typically do not put their face and voice on their stories.  Sometimes there's no name at all but instead something like "AP Staff."  It is harder for anons to rage against "staff" but they seem to almost enjoy going after someone they think they know. 

The Register-Guard, a newspaper in Eugene doesn't allow commenting on their news stories (they do on opinion pieces) and another weekly paper in town has no commenting online but allows editorials.  Maybe that's the route to go.  However, the other TV stations in town do allow commenting for most stories.

Where's the line between operating as a television product and a web/blog product?  Maybe there isn't much of a line anymore.  So should on-air folks be more discreet in sharing their identity online?

You might be wondering, what is she going on about?

This week my three part series on homelessness in downtown Eugene is airing during our 6 and 11 o'clock broadcasts.  People can call in to voice their thoughts on my reports but mostly we get feedback through email and online.  If you'd like to read and watch part one click here.  If you'd like to read and watch part two click here.

I've recieved good comments (via email): 

I wonder if you could pass on to the news team my compliments on the amazing reporting they did last night on homelessness in the downtown area. The reporter handled a potentially difficult situation with professionalism and aplomb. It was an eye-opening look at something most of us don’t want to look at.  -Cheryl

I've recieved bad comments (via online posting):

I don't believe you have any place calling yourself a journalist. More a trash TV artist. Go cover celebrity news, where exploitation is the norm.  -kvalblows (username)

One commenter online even said that I had purchased beer for a homeless person.  Another said that I was reporting from a completely different part of town. Another alluded that I was signed up on (a dating service).  All untrue!

But what can I do?  Post another comment as myself and say, "Thanks for your comments, sir, and for watching KVAL News but the things you are saying are not true."  It's not going to matter and I feel it is unfair. 

Maybe there is no "fair" in being a member of the media anymore.  We cannot combat anonymous lies or insults that have nothing to do with the report on web stories unless there is some type of intelligent moderation.

Solutions?  Grow thicker skin!   Only do soft reports!  Don't read the comments!   But, if I don't read the comments and anonymous readers trash me, who's going to care or do something about it?  Not one person - except me. 

The web can be a terrifying place when you are a face of a televison news station, reporting on controversial matters and you have to fight your own battles.

What are your dreams?

Monday, 16 November 2009
Grow a garden and can my own vegetables

Become debt free

Purchase a house

Publish a book

Be with my husband

Continue international travel

Live near the ocean

Adopt a dog

Work for myself

Visit my family more often

Okay, your turn...what are your dreams?  Sometimes you just need to write down what you want to focus your mind on the good things.

Cheering on the Ducks

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The city of Eugene is absolutely crazy over college football.  The followers of the Ducks religion spend all day Saturday preparing to worship this team.  So, it is easy to get caught up in the cult-like hype and oh-so-fun!  Natasha, Karl, Annie, Jamie, Elissa and Evan and I met at Goodtimes in Eugene to watch the game.  The Ducks pulled out an impressive victory and it is very possible they'll meet up with Ohio State University in the Rose Bowl.

My little brother wanted to know who I would cheer for in the match-up.  Well, considering I was sitting in the Horseshoe watching the Buckeyes dominate in the late 90s, my love for the scarlet and gray runs deeper than my love for green and yellow.

Bunnies with Bottoms

Friday, 13 November 2009

You really meet the coolest people in the Blogosphere.  I'm not sure how I originally made it to her blog, but I've been reading Hey Lola for months.

I've even been there (online of course) through her wedding recently and the opening of the lounge she built with her hubs.  We're blog buds.  She even posts on my blog sometimes because hey, we're tight.

Hey Lola flexes her creative muscles by designing out-of-this-world jewelry, accessories and clothing.  You can look at her wares and buy them here.  Christmas is coming up after all.

When I was getting married, I ordered a pink flower through her Etsy site for my hair and she came up with the gorgeous creation to the left with the vintage blue pin in the center.

I love it and still wear it to special parties and out on the town.  Pins for your hair are so very versatile because you can even put them on a jacket or blouse. She has one like it left.

Now she has used her creativity to commission the design of a bunny with a big bottom and not much else.

There's a reason for this poor little stuffed animal.  If you would like to read about it, check out the post here.

Meantime, you should start your own blog or if you have one, make sure I read it by posting a comment below with your address.

Trust me, when you blog and read other blogs, you'll see things that just crack you up.

The Things that Irk Us

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Television news people are tightly wound.  We are from the type "A" camp, used to strict deadlines and expecting perfection because that's what's expected of us.  But there are times when we need to take a step back and remember:  no one cares

That is not to say people do not care about the news, or do not care if we get facts accurate in our stories, or don't care that we are fair and balanced.  They do! 

I'm talking about the minutiae that journalists get bogged down in:   sweeps, station competition, an extra 15 seconds to tell a story...

Ms. Jane Public does not care that a piece of information I feel was imperative to the story gets left out.  So why am I stressing about it?  Ms. Public also doesn't notice when one television station airs a story for 30 seconds while the other station in the competeing market runs the same story at the same time in a package format with a live shot by a reporter.  The TV stations notice as we flip back and forth to check competition, the viewer does not.

If a weather person does not flash the Doppler and call it by the newly branded name, I don't notice, as long as she tells me whether or not it's going to rain.

This is a post sort of written to myself as a reminder (take from it what you will):  Don't take your job too seriously!  You're only stressing yourself out about things folks at home don't notice and may not even care about.  Do you best to live life after you leave work and charge up for the next fabulous day.

A Local Family

Wednesday, 11 November 2009
No update on the immigration scenario except to say how thankful we are for advice, encouragement and your offer to pass our story on to others.  I'm confident that this situation will fall into the lap of someone who can do something to help.  And if it doesn't, we'll come up with another plan to be together.

Family is so important to me.  This time of year it can be especially rough if you are not with yours.  Emails come in reminding you to order your Christmas cards.  Holiday music starts playing on the radio and online shopping sites begin advertising like crazy.  Even though it isn't overt, extraneous outlets start to hypnotise your brain:  Christ-mas, Christ-mas, Christ-mas!  Which adds up to a twinge of anxiety and lonliness when your husband is so far away.

I am blessed, though.  Just this week a new friend sent me an invitation to share the holidays with her family.  Can you believe it?  This is someone who doesn't really know me (we met through Twitter) but she is still willing to to open her home to me so I don't have to be alone on the holidays.  That really touched me and made me feel like I have a local family.

Unfortunately (and as long-time readers know) since I'm in the news biz, I have to work on the holidays.  The good that comes out of this is:  all of the news orphans celebrate together so we don't have to be really alone.  We just miss our homes and traditions with families.

For a week in early December, I'll fly to Columbus, Ohio to see my mom, dad, brother, grandma and Dewey (cat).  We are celebrating my brother's graduation from the Ohio State University.  He'll walk the stage in cap and gown and we're so proud of him.  Dannen served in Iraq as an Army reservist for a year and now while working full-time, he has completed his degree.  Should be fun for all of us (except Kings) to be together.

And you?  Any plans for the holidays yet?  How do you celebrate?

Touching the Berlin Wall

Monday, 9 November 2009
I had the chance to visit Berlin for a week in the winter of 2007. My travel group was there to experience the German culture and study the Berlin Wall. We started out one night by standing at the Brandenburg Gates west of the city center.

Our guide talked specifically about the prejudices that had occurred at these gates which served as a check point for people coming in and out of the "free" part of downtown Berlin.

I went to the Berlin Wall museum by myself on a cold, grey day. It was silent on the afternoon streets and fat snow flakes were falling. I trailed along the mile of the wall that still stands and felt a small part of the historic solitude and division the wall represents.

There were small holes in the wall and standing on my toes, I could see through to the other side but I could only see pockets of the deserted yard, not really witness life in motion.

The Berlin wall was built with guard towers including armed guards. In the museum, the guards are photographed with guns raised watching for anyone that would dare try to illegally cross over.

I quietly looked at photos of people who would stand on one side of the wall in an area where it was shorter to try to see friends and family in "East Berlin." One woman is depicted holding her baby up over her head to people on a balcony on the other side of the wall. I imagined that was the only way she could share the news of the proud birth of her little boy with those on the other side.

Today, I'm celebrating the razing of the wall 20 years after it happened. I touched the cement and felt the oppression of a city and country divided, some unable to have certain rights because of the location of their street in a large European city in the 1960s.

Putting Pen to Paper

Sunday, 8 November 2009

I don't really write with a pen obviously (unless I'm journaling) but typing doesn't seem as exciting when you draft a blog post and think about something clever to say at the beginning.

Last night I finally opened my Kings and Denae Book (no working title yet) and read through the sample chapter making changes.  I'm putting our story on paper for my own sanity and to hopefully encourage awareness of the immigration policy in the United States.

Some people (perhaps extreme conservatives) will say, "Well why didn't you just marry a proud American?  This is your own fault!"  I dated many Americans but I appreciate diversity and learning.  Marrying a man from South African who developed as a young man while living in London for 10 years, helps me learn more about myself:  my strengths, my weaknesses and my dreams for tomorrow.

People from other countries who desire to enter the U.S. and make it their own home country can add to freedoms and rights by bringing in their own creativity and respect for what our country offers.  I believe when someone follows the rules, can prove they are in a long-term relationship for love and is not a threat to national security, they should be welcomed.

I digress.

The book isn't moving forward very quickly but at least I've kept up with my plan to stay accountable.  I knew I would have to check in with you so I spent time working on the book last night. I have a long way to go but at least I'm back on the bike.

How was your weekend?

Coco Before Chanel

Saturday, 7 November 2009
Movies are such a waste these days.  Going to the theater, paying for a ticket, going to the ladies room that is usually filthy, over-priced snacks, who needs it?  Most movies can't even hold my attention past the first hour.  Not tonight.

My friend Arrianee and I met at the Bijou Arts Cinema in Downtown Eugene to see Coco Before Chanel.  The movie tells the story of the famous designer Chanel and shows how she grew into her own as a young woman without a family.

The movie is in French, sub-titled and completely inspiring.  Audrey Tautou plays Gabrielle (Coco).  Her eyes are almost jet black and her face so skinny, with razor cheek bones.  She reminded me of Julia Roberts, not for the acting but the look.  Beautiful yet severe.

I recommend the movie for the scenery, costumes and the inspirational story line.  Coco worked hard and was never handed her success.

The designer never seemed happy (at least not in this portrayal).  The movie begins with her father dropping her off at an orphanage with her sister.  Coco's eventual lover (she was the mistress) died in a car crash and she never married.

Her career began with her flair for designing straw hats and even after a marriage proposal by a wealthy man, she wanted to make her own fortune.  Coco pushed for a job even when her French sugar daddy told her women are not supposed to work.  She was determined and was confident in her idea of fashion.

How Was Your Day?

Thursday, 5 November 2009


Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I was reading through an old journal last week and noticed on December 18, 2008 (this year has flown by) I sent out my first 20 page, non-fiction book proposal.  It was rejected by all 5 recipients.  Bummer.

6 months ago, I sent out my second non-fiction book proposal, different book, 22 pages.  It was rejected by 7 recipients and 3 have not responded.  Another bummer.

This time, I feel I'm onto something with a new book idea.  BUT (I have a big but - (see what I did there?)) my motivation seems to be lacking.  A book proposal is a mammoth project.  You have to write the first chapter 6,000 words at least, research the market for the book, write up a lengthy author bio and your plan to promote your book and so on...  This time, I also have the "rejection" cloud hanging over my head which I'm sure is like fog to a ship captain at the beginning of the journey.  You're ready to get out there and get started but you're not sure of the best course.

Rather than waiting for the fog to clear, I need to move out of it.  So, I'm going to use my blog as an accountability tool.  I'll try to give you an update weekly on how my 3rd book proposal is coming along.  This time it is going to go to 15 agents/production houses which are specifically looking for my kind of book (more research).  I intend to sell it this time.

I also have the privelege of now having a sort of mentor.  One of my high-school classmates has sold his first novel, "Darling" and knows the ins and outs of the publishing world a lot better than I do.  He's already given me some pointers and encouragement through Facebook.  Look him up, Brad C. Hodson.  He says even his wife likes his book!  If you're a writer you know, it is very difficult to share your work with family and friends for fear of them hating it.

For Fifty Bucks...

If I could justify spending $50 on a random meal on the cusp of the holiday season and find a few hip people to go with me, I'd head to this special event:

A Dinner Celebrating 2 Years at the Wich House

Patrons enjoy five courses beginning with Seared Sea Scallops and ending with Clementine Orange & Vanilla Panna Cotta.  Each course is paired with beer.


I know, many of you are not beer drinkers.  I tend to enjoy crafted beers and Rouge Ales and Oakshire are both  "local" breweries which are very big in Oregon.

I would enjoy eating "Braised Lamb Shank served with pumpkin potato puree and chanterelle/lamb gravy."  That course is paired with Tricerahops from Ninkasi (which is located in Eugene!).  

If you want to go, you need reservations. There's a seating at 6pm and 8pm on Saturday, November 14th.

Happy Halloween

Sunday, 1 November 2009

I left my camera at the Halloween party so I can't upload my pics just yet.  But here's a look at the cat costume from a friend's photos on Facebook.  Arrianee is an Angel.  I look like Violet!