Saturday, April 25, 2009

Strange noises...

This week I started my new job, which I totally love, but which came with some strange noises.

As we were reading in bed, the Hubs said to me, "Do you hear wine bottles clinking?"

I totally did. We didn't think Mr. Baz had been getting into the booze when we weren't looking, but it was really the only explanation, since we've yet to have a mouse on the 25th floor.

The next morning, we heard the bottles clinking again. But when I checked it out, Mr. Baz was nowhere to be seen.
Around 10 am, I heard the wine bottles again, only I was now at work, in my office and the sound was coming from my coat. I realized there were two scenarios: either the wine bottles were in my coat pocket or I was slowly going crazy. I channelled my inner Nancy Drew and realized it was not wine bottles but my new BlackBerry.
It was my a-ha! moment. Of course, I had no idea what the clinking sound meant or how to shut it off, but I was officially on the case, and the following day I solved the problem. And just in time, because a new sound emerged when I got home from work. As soon as I unlocked the door I heard this ticking noise in the front hall. I didn't take off my coat or drop my handbag, but instead started looking for the source, which seemed to be following me everywhere I looked: the coat closet, the cleaning closet, the smoke detector, the water sprinkler head. Finally, I realized the noise was actually coming from me. Or rather, my handbag. I reached inside and pulled out Percy Lights & Sounds Engine (you know, Thomas the Tank Engine's friend), a gift I'd bought from my friend's son, who loves Thomas. I got sucked in by the Percy who beeps and chugs and has a headlight that turns on and off. Only apparently this Percy had a strange tick, that well, made him tick incessantly.
I quickly learned that slamming a toy on the dining room table shuts it up.
For about five minutes, until he started up on his own again.
And went on and on all night and all morning. Until, of course, I got back to the store to show the cashier that he was possessed, at which point he was Silent Percy, the Perfect Engine.

"He's possessed, I swear," I told the cashier.

Turns out, when a customer tells you that a kid's mini green engine is possessed, toy stores tend to just believe you and not ask questions. (I'm not going to dwell on the why' how maybe they just wanted to get crazy me out of the store before I scared little children). So I got a new Percy, who seems to beep and chugg on command only, and all is well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Suicidal Orchids

I love orchids. Sadly, they don't love me.

For the past few years I've tried to keep my orchids alive, but inevitably, all the flowers fall off and then they're just sticks in mud. Only they're not in mud, they're in dirt, but whatever. They're not exactly eye-catching without their petals.

Apparently, orchids will come back to life but every website I read had a different theory. Some said you had to cut them down to the root. Others said you had to prune them to just past their last bloom. Some said to water it religiously. Others said not to water it at all.

I tried everything. Mostly each orchid plant just became some variation on the stick. Short stick, long stick. One stick even started rooting at the top, which just proved it was just as confused as me about what it was supposed to be doing.

So each time I just threw the orchid away and started fresh. But then, about six months ago I decided to do nothing but put the most recent dead orchid on a high shelf in my home office. I ignored it, even when I saw that some of its leaves had turned brown.

And then, last week, it caught my eye. And shock of all shockers, it had a new bloom! I was so excited that I immediately sat down to Google what to do next. I found some guy who blogged that whenever he paid attention to his orchids they died, and when he ignored them they came to life. I decided this was proof I had done something right!

And then, I made a fatal mistake.

Two days ago I took the orchid out of the office and put it on the dining room table so that it could have light. And then I watered it, assuming I should treat it as I do my orchids when they're alive and blooming.

Today, my orchid blossom is brown and shrivelled up.

Sadly, I'm assuming I've killed my orchid, just as he was trying to come back to life. But I learned a very valuable lesson.

It may look like an orchid and smell like an orchid, but an orchid is just a cactus in flowery clothing.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Endings, beginnings and all things pink.

I'm currently eating a pink chocolate bunny that The Hubs gave me for Easter (and which Mr. Baz guards while I'm at work). Only, the pink chocolate bunny isn't chocolate. It tastes like Quik strawberry milk. Yum.

It's an odd night. Last week I finished working at the magazine that I've walked to and from every day for nearly five years. It was a hard decision to leave my position for many reasons. It represented a very real era in my life. I spent as long there as I did in high school (only I wore a different outfit every day, not a kilt and knee socks).

I accomplished one of my life goals by accepting that job, of becoming a magazine editor before I was 30. I bought my first home, got married while I was there and changed my last name. I became a magazine publisher. I got an agent while I was there, and sold my first novel. I learned how to do a photo shoot, and how to write an editor's note. I made friends, and said goodbye to many.

And now, I'm moving on.

Tomorrow I'll start a new chapter, as Editorial Director of I used to be a columnist for and have loved it since its inception so I can't wait to be a part of it. My dad and stepmom gave me a stash of pink school supplies because they are that cute.

And now, I'm eating my pink bunny.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Taxes, Revisions, Chocolate and Warriors

This Easter, The Hubs and I decided to stay in the city. Thanks to the Easter Bunny's little helper (aka my amazing husband), the Easter Bunny still found us--but didn't pee on us (we were wearing something new)--and left chocolate eggs around our place.

It's much easier to sit down to revisions while eating a chocolate peanut butter egg. Yum.

Unfortunately, when I wasn't revising, I was doing my taxes. Before I met the Hubs, my dad did my taxes. Go dad!

Then the Hubs took over, but instead of just doing my taxes for me, he taught me how to do my own. Every year I'm sure I'm going to dread the day we have to sit down to do them, but in the end it's never that bad because every so often I figure out where a number comes from and I feel empowered. Taxes are actually not very hard, especially if you just follow along with last year's return and write numbers in the same lines. The trick is writing the correct numbers on the right lines.

After I attempt to write in numbers and add them up, The Hubs and I swap tax returns "to check over each other's work". It's a pointless exercise for me, since The Hubs doesn't make a mistake on his return. But for him, his time is spent punching in numbers, erasing my answers and writing in the correct answers.

"I already made a mistake?" I asked in shock two minutes into the exercise. He was only on line 1 of the return.

How hard was it to add up two T4s? I'm fairly certain there's something wrong with my calculator. It happens every single year, and only on my tax return.

"No, it's not wrong, don't worry," The Hubs reassured me (aka lied so I wouldn't feel badly).

So while The Hubs continued to erase and write, erase and write, I started cutting the pages I needed and attaching them to other pages. With all the cutting and stapling and erasing and writing, for a moment, I had this blissful thought that The Hubs and I were scrapbooking together at the dining room table.

It made it all go by much better.

Then, when we finally finished, we opened a bottle of wine and watched this show, because although it is barbaric and ridiculous, if you ask me Who Will Win: The Gladiator or the Apache? I somehow need to know.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What goes up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?

That joke was funnier when I was 12. Ah well...

So I was using my umbrella the other day and my hair was getting wet. Which I'm pretty sure means that my umbrella is no longer keeping me dry. I still love it, but since that's really its sole purpose, I figured it may be time for a new one. And email all about the cutest umbrellas ever popped into my inbox and I had to share some of their finds...

The Strawberry Shortcake umbrella...

The Twilight Umbrella...

But my personal favourite, which I found at is this pink polka-dot clear umbrella.

But is it worth the exchange and shipping? Maybe it's better to just stay inside on days that it rains...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Time of my Life

As part of Procrastination Week -- I mean Revision Week -- I just finished reading Time of my Life by Allison Winn Scotch. It is now one of my favourite books ever. And not just because the cover is adorable.

About the book:

From the outside view, Jillian Westfield has a pitch-perfect life. Her cherubic 18-month old daughter, her wildly successful investment banker husband, a four-bedroom, five-bath, lemon-scented home with landscaping and neighbors to match. But that doesn’t stop her from mulling over the past, from pushing away the “what ifs” that haunt her when she allows them to seep into her consciousness. What if she hadn’t married Henry? What if she hadn’t abandoned her job at the first sign of pregnancy? What if she’d never broken up with Jackson ? What if she answered her mother’s letter? Because underneath the shiny veneer of her life, Jill waddles around in a faltering marriage, brewing resentment, and an air of discontentedness.

But after an ethereal massage in which her therapist releases her blocked chi, she wakes up to discover that she’s been whisked seven years back, back to her old life, her old self, back to the moments in which she made decisions that charted her future course. And now that she’s back, she’s faced with the same roadblocks and obstacles, only this time, armed with hindsight, she can choose a different path and finally lay to rest all of her “what ifs.”

Time of My Life is much more than a story about a real life desperate housewife. Instead, it speaks to so many of our tiny, lingering doubts, the same doubts that send us googling old friends and exes or wistfully pulling out pictures of days gone by. And through Jillian’s journey, in which she rediscovers the mother who abandoned her, reacquaints herself with the strengths she once deemed important, and may literally rewrite her future, we all get a chance to peek inside the windows of our own “what ifs,” and consider if the path we took was the one that has granted us the most happiness.

The book is already a best-seller and the film rights have been sold to Nicole Eastman, who wrote the forthcoming movie, The Ugly Truth, which stars Katherine Heigl and Eric from Entourage and comes out this summer. Here's a clip. Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I am in Revision Land...

I am in Revision Land...

It's like LaLa Land, only there aren't celebrities. It's like FairyLand, only there aren't fairies. It's like CandyLand, only there is candy. Because if there were candy, I would not actually do any revisions. 

I really don't like revisions. Of course, it's a necessary evil. Like, do I want my book to get published with things like "nun" when I really meant "none"? Or the word "lies" when I really meant to type "lives?" No. Because lies are evil. And so are mistakes.

Still, revising sucks.

Some authors like revising. Making things better. Making things perfect.

Not me. I hate revising. Know why? Because revising is ADMITTING I am not perfect and that the first draft of my novel was not perfect. That it had mistakes like "mercenary" when I meant "missionary".  Just joking. I really don't talk about missionaries or mercenaries, but do you remember that episode of Joe Millionaire? I'd find the clip for you, but I'm supposed to be revising, not watching YouTube.

Anyway, the other day I had tea with a PR rep and she asked how the book was going. 

"I'm just about to start my revisions," I told her.

"Revisions? Why do you have to do revisions?" she asked, shocked.

Exactly my point!

But it's something all writers must do. Except maybe John Grisham or Margaret Atwood or Stephen King. They probably write a perfect draft on the first time round. Or rather, revise it enough themselves before giving it to their editor.

Not me. That's not my style. I like to write one draft, call it perfect, hand it in, cross my fingers and hope for the best. Clearly my finger crossing isn't working. I'm going to have to work on that. You know, when I'm not revising.

To be honest, my editor's notes were not that bad. They were clear and thorough and filled with lots of good things to think about. And actually, I don't think the revisions will be very hard at all.

I just really have to get to actually starting my revisions. So far, I've accomplished an entire week of denial. Here's how it played out:

Monday: She hasn't sent notes. Maybe the book is perfect!

Tuesday: I've got the notes. They're not that long. Maybe the book is perfect!

Wednesday: Maybe the notes were for another author. Maybe book is perfect!

Thursday: The notes are definitely for me. It's okay. They're not that bad. Maybe the revisions will only take a day. I'll just put it off for a few more days.

Friday: It could take a few days to revise 335 pages. Maybe I should start. Tomorrow.

Saturday: I deleted a few paragraphs. Then added them back in. Then I went out for brunch.

Sunday: I did my laundry and I hate doing laundry. Then I went to a bridal shower. I love bridal showers. Then I watched Bridget Jones's Diary for the millionth time, which reminded me that Helen Fielding probably didn't write that book in one fell swoop. She probably did a revision. 

And so, therefore, will I. 

But not before I play this one clip...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Criss Angel and other Mind games...

I'm back. I left Criss behind in Las Vegas. I know, it's shocking. But it turns out I don't like a man who disappears whenever there are dishes to be washed or kitty litter to be changed.

While we were away, my parents came up to cat-sit Mr. Baz in his own domain. Because you know, he is the master of the house. People should come to him. And so they did. They got a bottle of wine, and Mr. Baz got two suckers who fed him every time he meowed starvation.

By the time we left, I'd already given him two breakfasts and he'd eaten half of the food he was supposed to be saving for the next 24 hours until his babysitters arrived. He is now ready for UFC heavyweight division.

And The Hubs has found him his ultimate fighting competitor. He is obsessed with getting him a live mouse to play with on the patio. He says that it'll be hours of fun until Mr. Baz catches the mouse and then eats him. At this point, Mr. Baz would just have to sit on the mouse and he'd suffocate. But regardless, it's not up for discussion. Mr. Baz is not a python. We're not buying him a live mouse. It's animal cruelty!

But The Hubs won't listen, and last night before bed, as Mr. Baz was snuggling in for a long night's sleep, he whispered into his kitty ear: "Soon we're going to get you a little mouse to play with. Sweet dreams!"

The Hubs may be joking, but Mr. Baz does not realize it's a joke. So now he thinks he's getting a mouse and it's all he can meow about. Meow Mouse Meow Mouse.

Consistent messages! This is what all the parenting books say. You've got to have both parents on the same team. Team No Mouse! Now what are we going to do?