November 2008

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When I was in college, and had been studying French for about ten years, I needed a break.  I was bored and tired and getting kind of cranky with it, so I took German for a year.  Boy was that interesting!  I learned a lot – like German is hard and well, uber-foreign after so many years of French.  My mouth struggled to make umlauts and not caress words.   I also learned that my brain, like a library, has a distinct foreign language section.  When I couldn’t remember a vocabulary word or phrase in German, my electrical impulses went zooming to French, found what it was looking for and out it came from my mouth.  It was both funny and strange.  “Guten tag Herr Zimmer, je m’appelle Colleen.”

The greatest bit that I learned, however, is that a pause (German word for break) is a marvelous thing, for when I returned to French after my year of German, it was with renewed interest and vigor.  I even decided to become a French teacher!  Though I never found a job, but that is another story, isn’t it?

Like German, I started this blog as a pause from Polite Society.  I had finished my rough draft and felt like I needed to keep up the momentum while I let it rest.  Well, now that I have started my second novel, I feel like an old pick-up on a cold morning.  I turn over, then wheeze and sputter before pumping that gas pedal to keep me from dying.  I know that if I just let the engine warm up a little, I’ll be good as gold.  But, in order to do so, I need to focus on this one task, rather than divide my time, which I must admit, I’ve been doing rather poorly.  Neither the blog nor the book is up to snuff at the moment.

So, in this somewhat cryptic fashion, I am letting you know that I am taking a much needed pause from the blog.  I need to focus on my novel, get her humming to life.  Thanks so much for reading and commenting these past months, and check back from time to time.  This won’t be the last you hear from me!

Well, finally, sheesh.  I was so tickled that my Arizona pal Kelli, tagged me, but then when I sat down to do it, not a single thing popped into my head that I hadn’t said before on the blog – maybe I should keep the cards a little closer to the vest, huh?  So after days of thinking,  I asked the hubster to help me out, and here’s what we came up with.  This time, I’m going to tag people back, too, but not six because I don’t know that many, at least in the blogging world!  So how about it Amber and Sarah?  Six random facts for the good of the order…

1. I was once a pastry chef for a creepy uni-browed man named Bruno. And why was he creepy, you might ask?  He told me that I should wear red lipstick to work.  Yeah, like that would make the cakes taste any better!

2. I have a very keen sense of smell.  It drives my hubby nuts.  “Do you smell that?”  “Um, no.”  “Well, I do, and it’s awful!  Help me find it!”

3. I am a J Crew-aholic.  Thank goodness for good sales.

4. I can have a very short fuse, particularly with my cat Milo.  He likes to paw at the blinds, making this awful racket, like he’s doing right now.  I yell, then he runs away and comes back in two minutes to start it all over again.

5. I love maps of all kinds.  I find them beautiful and inspiring.

6. I love Star Trek movies!  My favorites are Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and First Contact.  Even though I’ve seen them both many times I always cry when Spock dies and love it when Data says for how many milliseconds he was tempted by the Borg.  Good stuff.  This also brings me to random fact number six and a half:  It is Star Trek, not track.  Whew – glad I cleared that up!

Have a great day…


My mother-in-law, Martha, sent me a copy of Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech describing why he writes.  Though no one has ever asked me, his words got me thinking.  Why am I doing this?

First, someone told me I ought to, and as they say in the Godfather, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Also, like Mr. Pamuk, I write because, though I have tried myriad different vocations for varying salaries, none ever made me as happy as writing, despite having yet to earn a cent!

I write because I yearn to hold my own words in my hands, printed on crisp paper and leather bound, and inhale their scent.

I write because it is better than not writing.  Writing is a vehicle for whatever I desire.  I enjoy watching and reading as ideas take shape and grow into people, places, and stories.

I write to give myself a life I have never had, to visit all the people essential to my being and embrace them fully: the bitch, the grandmother, the bitter man, the romantic, the child.

I write to explore my curiosities (like cars!) and tell “true” stories.  I don’t mean non-fiction here.  When I write, I experience something very real and honest, often laughing, crying, or swearing as I type.  I AM in that room, or walking down the street, or sipping a cup of hot cocoa.

I write to share the world as I see it – unconventional, happy, energetic, structured, sprinkled with pain and wonder – utterly and impossibly beautiful, at least, to me.

p.s. Current word count – 9,359.  I’m not gonna make it, but don’t think twice, it’s alright.  A little Bob for ya…

Missing Four

An easy meme for a writing day.  I’ve taken out the questions I didn’t like.  If you’d like to see them all, check out: Country Girl/City Girl where you will also see a photo of one of my favorite bands from my days at North Arvada Junior High.

1. Do you like blue cheese? In thick, mayonnaise-y sour creamy-y salad dressing.  Not so much plain.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? No, only cigarettes and doobie.

3. Do you own a gun? NO

4 Your favorite song? At the moment, Iron and Wine’s “Carousel.”

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No, I like to go.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Thumbs up, especially at Zach’s Shack on Hawthorne.

7. Favorite Christmas song? When Marian Anderson sings Ave Maria, I weep like there is no tomorrow.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I call it my a.m. concoction: Kombucha, Emergen-C, acidophilus, fiber, spirulina, and lemon flavored cod liver oil.  I think it is yummy, and that’s no lie.

9. Can you do push ups? Yes

10. What type of movies do you prefer? Good ones

11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring

12. Favorite hobbies? Cooking, Reading, Gardening, Decorating, and Imagining

13. Secret weapon to get the opposite sex? Love myself first

14. Do you have A.D.D.? Sometimes

15. What one trait do you hate about yourself? Quick to judge

16. Middle Name? Louise

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:

I don’t think that tofu scramble was a good idea.

It’s warmer than I expected today.

I hope I can see my friend Jen tonight.

18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday:



Cream Cheese

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink. Water and my fiber drink, there is no regular third.

20. Current worry right now? Don’t worry.  Be happy.

21. Current hate right now? I don’t hate anything.  It isn’t productive for me.

22. Favorite place to be? Comfortable.

26. Do you own slippers? I’m wearing them now.

27. What shirt are you wearing? A silk undershirt and orange t-shirt, with a Norwegian cardigan over it all. I’m cozy.

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Never tried.  I am, however, considering a satin pillow case to keep my locks purdy.

29. Can you whistle? Not well

30. Favorite color? Not presently

31. Would you be a pirate? Stealing is wrong.

32. What songs do you sing in the shower? I’m too busy daydreaming to sing.

33. Favorite girl’s name? Pilar, Penelope

34. Favorite boy’s name? Quinn

35. What’s in your pocket right now? Nothing

36. Last thing that made you laugh? Life

37. Best bed sheets as a child? White with tiny pink rosebuds.  I still have the top sheet.

38. Worst injury you have ever had? A ganglion cyst that was removed with surgery in the fifth grade.  The worst bit was learning two months ago that someone could have smacked it with a heavy book and it would have gone away.

39. Do you love where you live? Yes! Yes!

40. How many TVs & computers do you have in your house? Two of each

41. Who is your loudest friend? It’d be pretty tough to beat me.

42. How many pets do you have? Two cats

43. Does someone have a crush on you? My hubby.  The guy at the grocery who likes to smell my perfume.

44. What is your favorite book? Not possible to choose.

45. What’s your favorite candy? I love a chocolate and peanut butter combo.

46. Favorite Sports Team? The underdog

47. What song(s) do you want played at your funeral? Happy ones!

48. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Sleeping

49. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I’m not ready to get up.

I imagine that running for President and then actually learning you are going to be POTUS has got to be akin to writing a novel.  At first, you are woozy with all the possibilities.  “I could create something amazing!”  Then, you realize that despite your best efforts, not everything you wanted to put on the page is as easy as it first seemed.

With that knowledge, you spend a lot of time in your head, making lists, listening to voices, remembering important tidbits that you have heard here and there.  Then there are those crazy moments when you find yourself talking aloud, to yourself, while standing in front of the refrigerator, open jar of pickles in your hand.  “That Fareed Zakaria, now he would make an interesting Secretary of State.  So smart!”

As I think about my next chapter, I am so very grateful that America is writing a new one as well.  I am grateful for the millions of people who participated in this election, regardless of the candidate they chose. I am grateful for John McCain and his gracious speech.  I am grateful for Barack Obama, a man who would desire, even relish the task of being President in such a crazy time in America and the world.  May he write an astoundingly wise and courageous chapter in this book of American life.

p.s. My word count is 7607

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