Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Virtual Book Tour

I had the opportunity to chat with writer and author Amy Guth as part of her book tour. Being that I am having a love affair with the internet, it seems fitting that I would take part in this book tour virtually!

Amy has just written Three Fallen Women which is currently in pre-release, is available for order through her website and will soon be available at places such as

Amy grew up all up and down the east coast, left NYC a few years ago and is currently living in Chicago. She has been doing a lot of travelling lately for her booktour but we were able to connect via email so that I could ask her a few questions about being a writer.

Domestic Goddess: Your book covers some fairly dark subjects. Where did you get your idea for the plot and was it hard to "live in" while you were writing?

Amy Guth: Even though I wrote about three women at really difficult times in their
lives, I think the book is about learning to (and being comfortable with) enforcing personal boundaries.

Domestic Goddess: Where did your characters come from. Have they been living in your
head, were they sparked by life experience, headlines?

Amy Guth: I wrote Three Fallen Women at a time when I was seeing a lot of people around me, but especially women, so afraid to stand up for themselves that they were ending up in these really negative situations.
The character Frieda (an abused housewife who had just left her house and husband in order to be safe) is a combination of a neighbor I had years ago, who always seemed so afraid, and then a former coworker who made jokes about her boyfriend that seemed real. The rest of Frieda, I just filled in the gaps myself.
Carmen is struggling with sobriety and addiction, and not succeeding terribly well with that. She isn't really based on anyone, neither is Helen, really, who has just come into a place of self-awareness after some struggles in her life.
I think I just wanted to write about boundaries and crossroads and ended up doing it through the mouthpieces of these characters.
Once you get going, the characters sort of rule you-- by that I mean, if you suddenly write something that seems inaccurate or out of character for them without justifying it someplace in their behavior, it'll show and your plot gets blocked up. You sort of have to keep yourself really open when writing, so things sort of flow.

Domestic Goddess: You were involved with Second City, a comedy troupe. What has the
transition been like going from comedy to writing this novel?

Amy Guth: There are a lot of groups within Ssecond City and the Training Center. I did some work within the Training Center and then with a few other groups affiliated with other theaters. It wasn't much of a transition because so much of the kind of comedy I did was satirical, so it's already pretty straight-faced. Then, I did my share of over-the-top silliness, too... I don't know how that figures in, though there are a few laughs in the book.

In my essay work and my column, I see comedic influence a lot more. I just think you can make a point in a serious essay and reach a few people, whereas in a comedy piece, it diffuses the bomb and makes your idea more accessible to everyone.

Domestic Goddess: What kind of advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

Amy Guth: A few things.
First, make some sort of writing habit. Devote five or ten minutes to writing every morning or every night or carry a little notebook with you and jot down every little idea no matter how small-- whatever. Just make something habitual.
Secondly, and this one is huge-- submit your work. Get it out there and get it read by as many people as possible. I can't stress this enough. People fret about their writing careers all the
time but then admit to never having submitted a piece of work or never having gone after a gig. It's hard, because nobody likes rejection, but it's essential. I made a game out of editing rejection letters with red pen for typos. I heard a story about one writer decoupaging his bathroom walls with rejection letters. Whatever it takes to let it roll off your back.
And third, diversify, just like you would financially. It didn't used to be this way, but now I think it's important to have a little work published online on many different websites, a little in print in many different publications. It's iffy to pin your entire career on just one or two publications.

Domestic Goddess: For my final question, I was looking at your blog and I gotta know - What is it with the Albert doll?

Amy Guth: Haha, good ol' Albert! My friend's nephew did a project for his second grade class where he made a little boy paper doll and then had his parents mail this doll to different friends of theirs who live all over the place and take its photo around landmarks. So, that and maybe the Travelocity gnome sparked an idea. I polled some friends and they decided my Albert Einstein action figure suited me the best. (Second place was a gag gift someone gave me: A Crazy Cat Lady action figure. That one suits me pretty well, too, haha.)

I want to thank Amy for taking the time to chat with me and answer my questions. I wish her the best of luck with her book!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Madonna on NBC - You decide!

I don't know if you have heard or not but NBC is going to air a Madonna concert in November and many people are up in arms about it. Not the fact that it is a Madonna concert, but what Madonna is supposed to do in the concert.

I received an email from a friend put out by the American Family Association. Here is an excerpt:

NBC, Madonna Set To Mock The Crucifixion of Christ

Following the lead of Rosie O'Donnell and ABC, NBC has decided to join in the bashing of Christians by airing a Madonna special in November. A specific date has not been released.

In the show, Madonna, wearing a fake crown of thorns, descends on a suspended mirrored, disco ball-type cross. When some Christian leaders complained about the mockery, NBC ignored their concerns.

If you would like to see a video clip of it go here.
The AFA has a petition started to send to NBC. They are trying to get 1 million signatures to try and convince NBC to not air this show.
Am I going to call NBC or pass the petition around for signatures? Probably not. It does offend my senses as a Christian but I will show my dislike for it by chosing to not watch it if it does air.

Should you call or sign the petition? That is up to you.

I think Madonna thrives on shock value and this is another one of her pathetic attempts to do something new and shocking to keep her career going. I think it is plain tacky but am strong enough in my faith that I don't feel I need to convince NBC to not air it.

What are your feelings about this? Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
(a little "Coffee Talk" reference there)

I felt fear, nay, PANIC!

Yesterday I wrote about feeling fear, lacking faith and making things worse etc. What irony life has!

I was really tired yesterday, having a hard time staying awake, so I decided to lay down and rest for my lunch break (oh the joys of working from home). When I woke up I felt nauseous. I hadn't felt that way at all earlier in the day. As I was sitting at my desk, my left arm started getting numb and tingly. Wierd I thought, but I have had some of that before, you know - normal body wierdness that happens every once and a while. Well this one was different. My arm started feeling heavy and numb and tingly.

So there I sat, thinking to myself "am I making this worse, am I focusing on nothing and making it into something, am I causing panic in myself and making symptoms worse"? I decided I was and just sat for a minute longer. Then I decided that even if I was, this wasn't the time to be all brave about fear and not do the responsible thing.

So, I got up and drove myself to the doctors office. They checked my blood pressure and what is normally a good 130/80 was now 170/100. The cute little nurse had another nurse come in and verify her reading and said "I'm sorry dear, but it was too high". So they got the doctor in to give me a look see.

What I had fear of being a heart attack he took as symptoms of stroke. Heart attacks usually involve pain whereas numbness and tingling is symptomatic of stroke. He turned the lights off and looked into my eyes with a pen light, tested me to see if I was wobbly or off balance.

After being there for about 45 minutes they took my blood pressure again and it was back down to normal. They did an ekg on me to make sure it wasn't anything going on with my heart and everything looked good.

This whole time I was praying in my head saying "Heavenly Father, if there is something wrong, please help them find it and if there isn't anything wrong, please help them know that too. Please help me be calm through this".

The doctor told me to have my blood pressure checked again several times this week just to be sure and sent me on my way.

Needless to say I was just a tad rattled. I called my hubby while I was a the doctors to tell him where I was and almost started to cry. It was like if I told him, it would make it real.

After having that experience, I decided to read up again on the signs of heart attack and stroke and thought I would share them with you.

Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

Stroke Warning Signs
The American Stroke Association says these are the warning signs of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
This information came from the American Heart Association. You can read more detailed info here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Are you living in F.E.A.R?

I was listening to an audio book today, How to be Totally Miserable, a Self-Hinder Book, by John Bytheway. John Bytheway is an LDS author and speaker.

This is a book that is geared toward teens that I checked out for my daughter and decided to listen to. It is a humorous book designed to teach kids how to be happy by pointing out how to be totally miserable. Such as: focus on everything you don't have instead of what you do have, then you will be totally miserable; think only of yourself and be totally miserable; question the motives of people's kindness and be miserable. You get the picture.

One thing he talked about really struck me. He talked about fear meaning:

How many times do we feel fear or anxiety because we start creating outcomes or expectations that may never come to fruition. Linking this to a lack of faith in our lives.

Something to think about next time we feel fearful.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ban on skinny models - it's about freaking time!

I was reading the news on line today and came upon this article:

Ban on skinny models shocks fashion world

MADRID. (Reuters) - The world's first ban on overly thin models at a top-level fashion show in Madrid has caused outrage among modeling agencies and raised the prospect of restrictions at other catwalk pageants.

Madrid's fashion week has turned away underweight models after protests that young girls and women were trying to copy their rail-thin looks and developing eating disorders.

Organizers say they want to project an image of beauty and health, rather than a waif-like, or heroin chic look. read more>>

I love this

"outrage among modeling agencies"
and further down in the article
"but what about discrimination against the model"
oh please! You know the criteria for being able to model at this show:
Under the Madrid ruling, models must have a BMI rating of around 18. That would disqualify top Spanish model Esther Canadas, and supermodels like Kate Moss, based on unofficial records of their height and weight.

Is it just me or does anyone really think this girl is appealing. Yes, she has a beautiful face but she looks like some scary Amazon woman who is starving, like if she doesn't break while running at you, you had better hold on tight to your twinkies!

In this (Reuters) photo, I would think the look model going for is "sexy".

Now, look at this picture:

By the fashion standards of today, Marilyn Monroe is a big girl. I dare say that even with more clothing on, she is more beautiful and definitely "sexier" than the waif look of today.

I applaud those in Madrid who have done this and hope that the trend spreads like wildfire! Lets send the message to our daughters, and to ourselves, that being healthy is beautiful!

Friday, September 15, 2006

I'm a bloggin chick!

It's official. I am now a bonafide member of the blogging chicks blog roll.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hot Bandwidth, or, My Love Affair with the Internet

Ok, so I have a little something on the side. I am totally in love with the internet.

Being a person who uses the computer all day long, it is probably a good thing that I like it, but I have taken it to the next level. I think I would die without it.

I have been reading blogs about organization and "letting go" of stuff that we tend to amass and accumulate. So I decided to do some letting go and some getting back in return. That's right, I went to E-bay. Along with my love affair with the internet, I am also in love with all things scrapbooking, therefore, I have a plethora of rubber stamp sets.

1.overabundance; excess:

Great word hu! I just got that definition for you from - you guessed it, the internet! is a fabulous place.

Anyway, I decided to sell about 1/3 of my stamps and got busy taking pictures and listing them. Today I have been getting many of them ready to ship to their new owners. After receiving payment, over the internet, I purchased and printed shipping labels, over the internet. Since I have mailers here I have them labelled and packaged and can just drop them off at the post office without standing in line!

Amazing isn't it.

I remember when I was in school and we had to go to the library and look things up in the encyclopedia. My kids do their research at home on the internet. Up to date and convenient. None of these encyclopedias that are 15 years old and out of date.

I guess I really need to thank Al Gore for creating the internet.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My September 11th memories

Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer is spurring the thought of our September 11th memories to honor and remember the event.

I was still in bed, lazily avoiding the invitable when my husband, who I believed had already left for work, came running up the stairs and said "turn to CNN, a plane just hit the world trade center".

We turned on the news and were amazed at this tragic accident that had happened and wondered what could have gone wrong to make a plane do that. Then the second plane hit.

I remember thinking "this can't really be happening. This is the stuff of movies." It was so unreal to see the plane hit, the towers fall, and people running through the streets trying to get ahead of the invading cloud of debris filled dust. I could have been watching the latest action movie, but it was real.

Being on the west coast, we weren't immediately in the middle of the tragedy, but as the rest of the nation, we felt "hit" as well. This was something that happened to America as a whole, not just a small pair of buildings in a small state on the other side of the country.

My neighbor lost someone he worked with, my friend's parents were flying that day and didn't know if it was her parents flight for a long while (thankfully not), a man down the street who is a firefighter volunteered at his own expense to go across the country and help search for survivors.

We would continue to learn of what had really happened, the third plane and the heroic passengers aboard, people who through harried lateness were away from the office when the tragedy happened, the unity, love and service that swept over the rough and gruff New Yorkers.

America seemed to put aside petty differences and truly become the United States. Politicians, for once, seemed to be on the same page. It is sad that it takes something so horrific to bring people together and how quickly we forsake that unity.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost loved ones, the heroic men and women who fought to save lives, and for our great country - "one nation, under God" - that God will continue to bless it and save us from ourselves.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Do you really like yourself?

I just participated in Thursday Thirteen (my previous post) and the challenge was to list 13 things about yourself that you like.

I thought "that shouldn't be hard. I am up to the challenge"! So I started my list and you know what I found? It was hard. If I had been asked to list 13 things I didn't like about myself, I probably could have kept going and going. At about number seven I started thinking "hm, I wonder what other people listed" and started looking at other peoples lists for ideas.

How sad is that! I almost cheated and started listing different talents as different numbers instead of just talents but decided that was pretty lame.

Why is it so hard to find good things about ourselves, things we like about ourselves. We spend our whole lives with our own self and you would think it would be easy to know something like that.

As women, as parents, and in the other roles we take on in life, we spend our time training, building, teaching, lifting others and seem to forget to do that with ourselves.

I think the media is so prevalent that we look at the "big" people in the world and compare ourselves in ways that are really not comparable. Apples to Oranges. My Wednesday worst to your Sunday best. That kind of thing.

I am not rich or famous, my sphere of influence is fairly small in the whole scheme of things. Have we put so much emphasis and power into celebrity, fame, fortune that the ones who really make the world run, train up the children for the future, are left to feel so small and insignificant.

How do we change the perception of ourselves and of others. How do we build up ourselves while trying to build up the next generation?

Thursday Thirteen

Denise has presented a challenge to TT’ers for this weeks Edition:

“I would like to challenge all Thirteeners to come up with 13 things they like about themselves.

I feel like we, as women, spend so much time scrutinizing ourselves that we sometimes forget the good stuff.”

1. I have beautiful eyes.
2. I have good hair.
3. I am a good friend.
4. I am strong and am getting stronger!
5. I am talented at many things.
6. I am a good mom and wife.
7. I have a stong testimony of Christ.
8. I am strong willed!!
9. I am dependable
10. I am a good listener.
11. I am fun and always enjoy a good laugh.
12. I am helpful.
13. I have a love of learning.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
5 Minutes for Mom

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Read my interview at 5 Minutes for Mom

It's a site that helps moms spread the word about their websites. It was started by twin WAHM's who own a retro toy and collectibles store , and they're really helping other moms get their sites noticed.

You can check out my interview at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Summer Classes for Men

My niece sent this to me in an email. I loved it and thought I would share.
(and yes honey, I bow to you because you cook and do the laundry. I thought it was funny anyway)

-Registration must be completed by Monday, September 25, 2006.
-NOTE: Due to the complexity and difficulty level of their contents, class sizes will be limited to 8 participants maximum.

*Class 1 *
How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays
Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.
Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

*Class 2 *
The Toilet Paper Roll --- Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.
Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

*Class 3 *
Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?
Group Practice.
Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

*Class 4 *
Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturday at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

*Class 5 *
After Dinner Dishes --- Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

*Class 6 *
Loss Of Identity --- Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Help Line Support and Support Groups.
Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM.

*Class 7 *
Learning How To Find Things --- Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
Open Forum .
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.

*Class 8 *
Health Watch --- Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Graphics and Audio Tapes.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

*Class 9*
Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost
Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesday at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.

*Class 10 *
Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.
4 weeks, Saturday noon, 2 hours.

*Class 11 *
Learning to Live --- Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and role-playing .
Tuesday at 7:00 PM, location to be determined.

*Class 12 *
How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours ! Beginning at 7:00 PM.

*Class 13 *
How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy --- Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

*Class 14 *
The Stove/Oven --- What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration. *
Tuesday at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

I've been tagged.

Ok, Sandra at Diary of a SAHM tagged me with this questionairre so here goes:

1. If you make sweet tea, or your favorite style, do you use Luzianne, Lipton or something else? The only kind of tea I drink is Herbal Tea if I am sick, have a cold, or need something warm and yummy in the winter. So I would have to say Celestial Seasonings.

2. What brand of toilet paper do you buy and is it the larger rolls or regular?
I love the double size rolls. Fabulous idea whomever came up with it. We usually buy Kirkland signature brand from Costco. Other than that, Charmin.

3. Which brand of bath soap do you use? Body wash or bar?
I use Dove - both the bar and the body wash. I am a little neurotic about being really clean! Don't mess with my shower!

4. What cereal do you buy for yourself?
Well, I am not really into cereal right now, but when I do eat it I love Cheerios, Basic4 and Special K.

5. What brand of dishwasher detergent do you use? Liquid or tablets?
I use the Echosense brand from Melaleuca. It is a lovely lemony scented liquid.

6. What's your favorite fruit?
mmmmm, I would have to say blueberries and raspberries. Although most of the year we just have apples and bananas in the house.

8. Do you like chocolate?
Oh yes, and right now the chocolate brownies my daughter made are the bane of my diet.

9. Are you right or left-handed?

10. Do you still write checks or use a debit card?

Yes I write checks. They are easier for me to keep track of than debit cards. My check carbons are all there in a little stack and debit receipts get lost in the black hole of my purse.

okee dokey, now who shall I pass this on to???
The Love Dorkter
Drama Mama

Love me don't ya!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Foods that bring back wonderful childhood memories.

Sandra at Diary of a SAHM was reminiscing about foods in our lives that bring back wonderful childhood memories.

How old were you??? Was this a special holiday meal, or a Sunday dinner??? Who prepared the meal, was it a grandmother or mom, or maybe even your father???

So I thought I'd play a long. When I was little my grandmother lived about an hour away. We would pile the family into the old brown station wagon, with paneling, and drive to grandma's house for Sunday dinner. The smell was always the same and was fabulous! Roast beef with potatoes and carrots cooked in the juices. She would have orange jello with mandarin oranges and pineapple tidbits. For dessert she would usually offer Lemon Fluff.

Any time I walk into a home that has a roast beef cooking, or eat those particular foods, I am instantly transported back to grandma's house.

After dinner we would play with the little cowboys and indians, go outside and play badminton, or with the Yogi Bear bowling set.

When it was time to go home, grandma would pile us up with leftovers, and we would load back into the car and head home. I never made the trip without falling asleep and hated the last set of lights and the bump up to the driveway because I knew that I would have to get out of the car. To this day, I can't ride in the car for long periods of time without falling asleep!

If you want to reminisce with us, head on over to Sandra's blog. Thanks for the memories Sandra!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Domestic Goddess

Meet the Domestic Goddess.

This lovely work of art was done by my 15 yr old. After much nagging (in her eyes anyway) and some prodding to make a few minor adjustments to the hair (she draws long flowing princess hair and I have short spiky hair) I now have the image I have wanted to put on my profile.

Thanks Brit!! I love it!

Just Peachy!

Yes it's that time of year again. Time to bottle peaches. I am at the height of my Domestic Goddessness when peach time comes around. When I told my teenagers that we would be spending Saturday canning peaches they were thrilled and couldn't wait to get started. (well I can pretend anyway)

Even if I don't really feel like canning peaches I absolutely have to. I am fine to buy spaghetti sauce, pears, tomatoes and other things from the store but I can't tolerate a store-bought- canned-cling-peach. blech. I guess growing up on home bottled peaches has set my peach palate at a high level.

We bought $90 worth of Lemon Elberta peaches from a cute little Grandpa's orchard. It was about 7 1/2 bushels. Again, my teenagers were thrilled!

After a day of work, wrinkled pruny fingers and sore backs, we ended up with 101 finished quarts. That is 8 dozen and 5 quarts. We processed 103 but had two quarts actually break during processing. Let us pause to honor their passing.

I have never had a bottle break before. One cracked in my steam canner and the other in the water bath canner. That one actually looked kind of funny. The water was starting to boil over a little so I lifted the lid to let some steam off and noticed some peaches floating in the water. A little odd I thought and lifted the lid to investigate. That is when I saw a bottle floating to the top. The bottom had completely come off. So I removed the bottle, scooped out the peaches and let the remaining bottles finish processing. I didn't think a little peach water would hurt!

I have a lot of memories of home canning from when I was growing up. We would get the family around the table and everyone helped. One of the reasons I don't mind buying a canned pear is that they are buggers to do. Peaches aren't very hard and the difference in taste is HUGE!

I don't know if either of my girls will continue the tradition of canning peaches or not. I don't know if either of them has tasted anything else though. I love them in the mornings with cottage cheese and toast. My hubby also makes a fabulous peach cobbler.

It is a lot of hard work but is definitely worth it. I have my little cheat sheet to remind myself about how much sugar and how long to process but I am sure glad this is something my mom taught me to do!