Friday, July 27, 2007
Paint Fumes Make Everything Pretty
I love the feeling when a paint job is over. No, not as in when you blow your nose and Dover Hills Beige comes out. Or when you scrub for two days straight and you STILL have white paint in your hair. But that feeling of accomplishment. I think that’s why I like to paint—because I have to finish the job and you have a new room in a short amount of time.

So no mishaps this time. Other than a few touch-ups for later and dipping a chair into the paint bucket (I thought it needed an accent color?). And I did slam my ladder into one too many things. Oh, and head planting into a wet wall and my hair STILL being covered in Valspar No. 98701. But other than that, it all went so smoothly. When I took off the tape, the entire wall didn’t come off. And I wasn’t enraged when I was done. Or sobbing. So good days. Time well spent.

So some friends of mine have this softball team, and in their search for a name they came up with the Fighting Chihuahuas, after the mascot in In Between. I think it’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever done for me. But what’s not nice? Um…having to step in and PLAY during a game! For real.

Okay, so I’m at a game and wearing my Fighting Chihuahua t-shirt. Then the ump notices one of the Chihuahuas has left. The game will be forfeited (or the world would end or something) if they didn’t come up with another player. So about ten pair of eyeballs find me in the stands…sitting there. Peacefully. With my team t-shirt on. So after one team member assures me that I won’t actually have to play, I head to the dugout to pretend to be a member of this athletic brood.

And then…the news.
“Okay, you’re up to bat!”
Here’s how impressed with that idea I was.

You know, some people are born with all sorts of athletic ability. Others were born with very little. I’m neither—I have none. NONE! And people with no athletic ability are LOATHE to do athletic things in front of others. When I was in the sixth grade I played softball. But I was the girl singing out in the outfield, picking weeds, who had only signed up to go to White Water water park at the end of the season. (And then I didn't even get to go to White Water because I got Silly Puddy stuck in my ear.) (Don't ask.)

Everyone said, “Just stand there. The pitcher’s been walking people all night. Your odds of walking are great.” Okay, how hard can that be? And I do look mighty fine in my Chihuahua t-shirt…

So the pitcher, who hadn't been doing so hot, throws me this perfect pitch. I see it coming and think, “Oh, crap. I’m gonna have to swing, aren’t I?”

Look, I’m swinging so lightning fast, the camera couldn’t keep up. Too quick! Out of focus! Kodak doesn’t make an option for this kind of speed!

And stop calling, Barry Bonds. No, I don't give lessons.
Actually it was a whimpy swing and I got out at first, but they assure me they got a run out of it. I didn’t see that part, so they could be lying for all I know.

But the t-shirts are great, are they not? They make people happy. See, these two don’t even know each other, but look how happy they are.

So I’m going to be gone for a bit. If you’re reading this blog because you’re really bored, then sign up on the far left for email updates so you’ll know when I’m back. I will have a full report on all things European. And then as soon as I get back, it’s time to go back to school. I’m really excited about that. How excited?

  posted at 9:44 AM  

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Hogwarts and Hogwash.

The pre-travel eating has begun.

When I’m on vacation or especially in an airport, it’s like I think calories don’t count. Though I hate flying, I LOVE airport food and all the choices you have. And when my layover is mere minutes, I get STRESSED that I can’t stop and eat. Last year I had a millisecond to get to my connecting flight, and this of course, intersected with the time most people would’ve been eating lunch. I didn’t get to eat for eleven hours straight! It was TORTURE!! Well, okay, I was loaded load with my vast array of plane snacks, but it’s not the same. At lunchtime you want real food, not Tropical Starbursts. So in order to prepare for all this eating, I’m practicing. Just had a salad, a Diet Dr. Pepper, and a Twix. I know for a fact that two diet products cancel out a single bad food. For dinner I will have a Lean Cuisine, Crystal Lite, and some Chunky Monkey.

I have decided to read Harry Potter No. 201. Okay, I guess it’s seven; I haven’t really been keeping up in the last few years. I wasn’t going to read it, but not too many people are talking about the ending and who gets killed off, so…sigh…I have to read it. I have two students who refuse to tell me who dies, even though I have threatened to go back and retroactively change their grades. They’re not talking. And THEN one of them has the AUDACITY to say something like, “Um, I don’t know how it ends, but I’m going to find out. By READING it. You might try it.” Sometimes students put on this front of being good human beings the entire semester you have them. But now their true colors have shown through. Duly noted, students. Duly noted.

So just for that, since I know one of them has yet to read it, I’m going to give away some Harry Potter spoilers. Read on…if you dare.

1. The true identity of Voldemort is revealed. It’s Lindsay Lohan. I did not see that coming.

2. Hermione leaves mid-way through the book (that would be at page 2,109,193, 000) to join a convent.

3. The seventh book is done entirely in couplets. And yes, it is hard to find something that rhymes with “I blew something up again today” or "This broom really chafes."

4. Harry is recruited by David Beckham to train him in Quidditch. And by the way, Quidditch roughly translates into “sport that would require a lot of wires if this book were a musical.” The end of the book will make you tear up as Harry saves the day and convinces muggle Posh Spice to eat a Big Mac.

5. Turns out the cloak of invisibility was just a big joke all along, as Ashton Kutcher reveals to a sobbing Harry on an episode of Punk’d in chapter thirty-one. That will teach Harry to peek in on the girls’ dorm.

6. Donald Trump buys Hogwarts and enforces mandatory comb-overs for everyone.

That's all I know so far. But don't worry. While these spoilers are oh-so-revealing, they only cover a small percentage of the book. There are still millions of pages in The Deathly Hallows that I didn't address. Like the chapters where Harry enlists the help of 50 Cent and goes all gangsta. Those were powerful scenes.

Okay, back to painting and eating and making lists of things I know I'm going to forget for this trip.

  posted at 12:57 PM  

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Gotta Get My Paint On
Dear close friends and family,
I regret to tell you that at this time…I will begin painting.
Yes, I know. When the paint rollers come out, we all suffer. But this time will be different! It will! What could go wrong?

I’m painting a basic cream color. No tri color stripes. No uber cool green. No Tuscan effect that looks like an Orange Crush exploded on my walls.

I must rid my bedroom of the green. I’m sick of waking up every morning wondering if I’m in the den of some sadistic leprechaun. They say red makes you angry? Nope. Green does. I consider going postal daily, but I don’t have the energy.

So now we are going to go with a nice cream color with green (It is cool. It is!) and brown accents. And somehow, some way, even though I’m taking a mysterious paint can to get a match and I’m not sure it’s the right color, this WILL work out.

RIP to the green bedroom. Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore may be all about green, but I’m not.

So I want to apologize in advance for the snarkiness that will ensue. I get a little moody when I paint. But then again, this time it’s going to go perfect, so we shouldn’t worry about crabbiness. And my simple paint jobs tend to take months instead of days. But hey, not this time, right? Oh, and I do usually break something when trying to move the furniture back by myself. But I KNOW that’s not going to happen today. (Note to my brother: Consider yourself “on call.”)

So I ask for your prayers and well wishes as I begin my new painting endeavor. And I hope to have this project wrapped up by this time next year. It’s so doable, and I believe in myself.

And to my friends who have whispered recently that I have a painting addiction, I HEARD YOU!!! You wound me with your disrespect for But I will take my hurt feelings and channel them into something of beauty.
Unless the painter's tape doesn't cooperate again...
Or I have another ladder accident.

For lack of anything else to blog about because I’ve been home all week for the first time with nothing to do (thus…the paint job was born.), I shall share some family pictures. Please ooohh and ahhh accordingly.

My sweet nephew on his seventh birthday. He’s seven? Wow, his parents must be really old.

And my niece, who has inherited my curly hair, my love for food, and my bad table manners. But seriously, why use a fork when it only slows you down?

Another picture of my niece. Wish I had inherited her charm. THIS face would make someone pull over and fix a flat.

And finally, my cat, Grady, who has many psychological issues.

“Anybody can put a lampshade on their head. But a shoe box? I don’t think so. Hey, have I told you about this dork who painted her bedroom green…?”

  posted at 7:14 PM  

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Spam, Flats, and Bruce
Since I finished The Big Picture, I went out and got a massage. As I was reclining there, I thought, why don’t I do this more often? Why just reward myself for finishing a book, which only happens twice a year? I have other major accomplishments I need to celebrate. Like I ate vegetables yesterday. Massage! Or I went a day this summer without my friends Ben and Jerry. Massage! Or I how about the fact that I got the trash out on time? One hour massage please.

Saw Spamalot in Tulsa. It was awesome. Laughed a lot. Men in tights always crack me up though. On our way, we had a flat. I of course, offered my help. “Please, gentleman, could I change the tire? Oh, please?” But the men said, “Even though we have no doubt you could do this with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back, we would like to do it ourselves. We are afraid your tire-changing competency would put us to shame.” So I let them.

"Guys, can I help?"
"No, we don't want your hair to frizz."

"Okay, what other helpful thing shall we ladies do? I know! Road trip pics!"

"I think I'll call some old boyfriends."
"Cool. I'll call and make a pedicure appointment. Changing a tire is fun!"

Okay, I have no idea how to change a tire. My method involves one step: you call someone. Last year I had a blowout and pulled into a construction site. It was crawling with workers. I just knew one of them would have mercy on me and help me out. Besides the flat, my phone was having issues and so I was stressed and ticked at the same time. Finally one comes up to me and knocks on my window. I roll it down. Hallelujah! My help has arrived in the form of a kindly Samaritan in steel toed shoes and overalls.
“Um, ma’am, you’re blocking our way. Can you move?”
I blinked.
“Oh…okay. See my tire blew out and my phone isn’t working.” (Insert really pitiful face here.)
“Yeah, thanks for moving it.”
And away he went. And then it started raining, drowning the parking lot and my faith in chivalry forever. Clearly I should’ve shown some leg or something. Okay, actually that would’ve gotten us nowhere either. Luckily my phone cooperated enough to make a call for some genuine help. No leg required.

On a side note: Go see Die Hard III. Worth the wait. I hear it will be a while for Die Hard IV though. But Bruce Willis in a walker should provide a powerful level of excitement.

  posted at 2:20 PM  

Thursday, July 12, 2007
What's Better Than Spam?
The Apocalypse has begun.
Tori Spelling is now an ordained minister.

Thanks to everyone for their help on my character’s name. I especially appreciated the past student who suggested his own name. And the former friend who listed an old grade school boyfriend (I still can’t talk about that one). And of course, there was Aloysius—which I have to look up every time I reference it to make sure I spelled it right (and I haven’t). So the boy wonder in The Big Picture is still Tate. One syllable Tate. I think if I named him Aloysius or Clovis he would be serial killer Aloysius or mad bomber Clovis. Nobody survives names like those without psychological damage.

Speaking of psychological damage, word is Nicole Richie is pregnant. (Please see above note on Apocalypse.) In an interview, her dad Lionel Richie (Say you! Say me! Say I’m a grandpa. That’s the way it should be!***) says he doesn’t know if Nicole’s in the family way or not and sent out a message for his daughter to call him. If daddy was my bankroll, I’d totally call him and fill him in. The Simple Life will not go on forever, as Paris has seen the light and decided she’s not so simple. And your DJ boyfriend—well, he spins records. For a living. Mama’s baby’s daddy is Sir Mix-A-Lot. Yeah, I’d be calling Lionel. Maybe say, “Hello…? Is it me you’re looking for?”***

*** (If you were born after 1980, that’s a song reference. Insert laugh here.)

Off to see Monty Python’s Spamalot! Very excited about this. I’ve been listening to the CD, and I applaud anyone who can find a quality rhyme for “take a pee.” It takes just the right word combination. Should be a good time. We are headed to Tulsa, OK. Coincidentally, this is the setting for my next series. Are bawdy plays about men in tights tax write offs?

A good weekend to all.

  posted at 3:02 PM  

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
It's Alarming: Part II

At 12:08 p.m. I typed the last word to book three, The Big Picture. I will now nap the rest of the week and eat bon-bons.

Actually I went directly to my car and down the road to McDonalds for a quarter- pounder, fries, and a shake. My mouth says, "Ohhh, thank you." But my arteries say, "Can't...breathe...please send broccoli."

And I think I scared the people at the drive-thru. Did you know when you order they take a picture of your car and then pull it up when you pay? They didn't take my picture and things got messed up. The woman at the window said, "I don't know why he didn't get your picture. I guess he forgot." But he didn't take a picture of my car because I was hanging out of it. I went to McDonald's in what I like to call my "last days of deadline attire." Today's selection was a pink wife beater, green cut off sweats, no makeup, and Frito breath. Obviously the teen boy in charge of car pictures and orders was so taken by my beauty, he forgot what he was doing. Few people can pull this look off. It either says, "I've been writing nonstop for days and days and hygiene is currently not a good use of my time." OR "I like drinky, and I think my buddy Jack Daniels is super cool!" I totally should've gotten a free shake upgrade for their mistake.

So last week a few of us went to see the fabulous and currently sober Keith Urban. It was amazing. My sister-in-law had to take care of a sick family and couldn't go, so I won't gush too much. But that boy can sing AND play. And I'm not sure, but I think we had a moment. There was CLEARLY a time when our eyes met across the huge arena--when he looked up into the nosebleed section and thought..."Had I met you, girl who scares teen boys with your fashion violations, before Nicole...things might've been different." I saw it.

"Though I look like I'm into this song, I am really scanning the crowd for some Arkansas ladies. Are there any in the house?"

"I enjoy picking and grinning. Do you?" Why yes! Yes, I do!

"I'm sorry I'm so sweaty. I just get so into my music." Dude, I totally relate. Let me tell you about my trip to McDonald's...

In the hotel the next morning, we are just lounging around watching Regis and Kelly (She's skinny AND she has biceps. Why do we watch her?) and resting our vocal chords from the previous night of screaming. Then as we sit there in our pjs, the stinkin' alarm goes off! IN the room! And then it starts talking. I can't remember what it said. I was having flash backs to a few weeks ago when I set off my house alarm. But it said something like, "Get out, you lazy girls! You look like death and you need to shower, but now you can't because this alarm is going off! And no, you can't use the elevator because you will later eat your body weight in Cheesecake Factory cheesecake and need to burn off some calories! Go! Go!" So we scramble around for pants and bras (sound familiar? Geez, I think I'm just going to start sleeping in full attire.), giggle like maniacs (but I did think, if this is a fast burning fire, and I die because I had to stop and get a bra, I am going to be so ticked.), and race out the door. We follow a million EXIT signs until we actually do reach an exit and sprint down to the lobby. Where they look at us like idiots. Apparently it was just a mistake. They didn't offer any free shake upgrades either.

On a different note, I was so sad last week to hear about Joel Siegel passing away of cancer. He had my dream job--to watch movies, give your opinion, and get paid for it! Nobody did it better--not even those two dolts who sit in the balcony. Joel had class.

Okay, I'm out. I am going to nap like I've never napped before.
And probably change my clothes at some point.

  posted at 12:19 PM  

Friday, July 06, 2007
Oh, The Things We Find at Wal-Mart

Here’s a tip. Don’t buy the Stouffer’s Corner Bistro smoked turkey club panini. I don’t really like those frozen things—they gross me out. But I thought—smoked turkey. How can you mess that up? Well, they did. I bit into it and thought, “That’s funny. This tastes like beef jerky.” But I had to be wrong. Turkey CANNOT taste like beef jerky. Bites two, three, and four confirmed that it indeed, did taste like dehydrated cow meat.

Speaking of beef jerky (which is always a delightful topic of conversation), Wal-Mart has these 100 calorie packs—of beef jerky. Okay, if you’re the type of person who eats that on a regular basis, you probably don’t give a flip how many calories are in it. Just a theory. And who exactly is the target market here? Can you imagine some guy packing it for a camping or hunting trip?
“What’cha got there Bubba?”
“Jerky. 100 calorie jerky. I’m watching my figure.”
“Your sissy jerky insults me! Get off my tree stand!”

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you missed it or blocked it from memory, I like the occasional romance novel. Not the smutty gross ones. (No, really.) But there are a few authors who can truly mix romance, plot, and humor. Julia Quinn is one of those authors. So today I bought The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. And yes, I know. I have a deadline. Thanks for the reminder. Anyway, I promise the ones I read really have a plot. (Though it STILL embarrasses me and my sister-in-law when my 35 year old brother picks one up and proceeds to read it aloud. Because it’s ALWAYS at a point that is…um….plotless. He’s been doing that since I was in the fifth grade reading Danielle Steele.) And usually leading men have strong, regal (read: hot) names like Chance, the Duke of Bradford, Drake, etc. What is the leading male’s name in this book? Nigel. Call me superficial, but this book has a strike against it already. WHO names the hot love interest NIGEL? Nigel is the name of a butler. Or the mysteriously feminine male cousin. NOT the name of the man our heroine is supposed to love forever despite all odds, mishaps, and evil twin sisters!

Speaking of names, I have a name dilemma myself. I have a character who was supposed to be minor, but yet…now he's not. At first his name was Ryan (when he was just a blip in the book). Now he’s Tate. But I don’t know. Something about a one syllable name for a significant person in the book doesn’t appeal to me. (Though you have to admit, Tate is a cute name.) He’s seventeen and blond. Any suggestions? Other names I’m considering: Hayden, Dawson (too Katie Holmes though?), Spencer, and Riley. What do you think? Also if there are any teen girls in your vicinity, ask them which names resonates with them more.

If I don’t get an answer, I may have to go with…Nigel. Or Rupert. Or Otto.

  posted at 12:35 PM  

Thursday, July 05, 2007
Nine more days until my third book is due. And instead of sticking to my “I’m going to watch TV vs. read” idea—didn’t work. I can’t just go straight to bed. I’m in the habit of reading. But if I read, I have to finish the book, and that means I won’t be writing. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle. Like coloring your hair.

But I’m climbing back on the wagon I fell off of, and I’m not going to read anymore fiction until my deadline is past. Seriously. And I will be hunting down this show to be sure.

Honey: We’re Killing the Kids
is one of those shows that sucks you in, and when it’s over you think, “I can’t believe I watched that.” Like Walker Texas Ranger.

So the basic premise is that this family has a diet/health coach and they’re all going to eat better and lose some weight—especially the kids, one who is obese—Twinkie Kid. But Twinkie Kid just steals the show. So the coach goes through the house and forces the family to throw out allll the bad stuff. But mom knows her little darlings probably have a secret stash. Sure enough this younger son, who is probably about ten, does indeed have some food stored away. When they finally find his stash in the laundry room (cause what kid would be in there? Genius!) and take away his last remaining Twinkie, he starts BAWLING. Am I the only one who relates to this moment? And they have to pry the unopened Twinkie from his mouth. As they’re grabbing it, the kid’s trying to eat it through the package. Because we all know if you can work a hole in that package, the Twinkie will squeeze out. Um…at least I know that. Anyway…

So at dinner mom makes vegetable risotto.
Twinkie Kid says, “I don’t want that crap. It tastes like dog doo-doo.”
“Oh, really? When was the last time you ate dog doo-doo?” asks a smirking dad.
“Last week.”

Now Twinkie Kid just does not give a rip about the show or eating healthy. He’s an amazing, convincing liar. And an accomplished puker. He PUKES on command! And in his thick southern accent he uses the word “crap” like an artist with paint. He provides lots of moments where you think Mom is just gonna lay into him, but she doesn’t.

The family is just a little bit country, and a little bit weird. As I mentioned, Twinkie Kid has VERY sensitive gag reflexes (They even send their camera crew into the school bathroom with him. I’d be using the word “crap” and telling people I ate dog poop too.)

But Mom finds she must celebrate the little things, as her family is not on board. After the vegetable risotto dinner (“This is crap!), she cleans up the table and says, ‘I didn’t have to clean up no puke. I’m so excited!”

You have to tune into this show. Then there will be two of us in the country watching it.

Back to my deadline and watching the summer hours tick by—in no particular order.
Next time: Keith Urban and having to evacuate the hotel. Good times.
Happy Belated Fourth!

  posted at 10:53 AM  

About Me

Jenny B. Jones

Arkansas, US

I am a teacher in one of the largest high schools in the state. I'm also a writer of Young Adult novels and am currently working on a brand new series. Book three in the Katie Parker Production series, The Big Picture, will hit shelves in April 2008. Stay tuned!

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