Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The LifeTime of a Deadline

Something fantastic happens on my television during the weeks between Thanksgving and Christmas. The screen fills with B-List actresses--Jennie Garth, Jennifer Grey, Nancy McKeon, the oldest Full House sister, Tori Spelling--each with her own harmlessly hunky guy. They put on quirky hats and frolic in HollyWood snow. Suddenly, Cananda becomes Seattle, Colorado, New York, Michigan, and even California--all blending together as the backdrop where attractive people fall in love and discover The True Meaning Of Christmas with the help of a mysterious Santa/Angel/Tree/Star/ or homeless person who is actually an Angel/Santa/Tree/Star. (OK, few homeless people actually end up being trees).

Honestly? These are my favorite, favorite, favorite movies.

In years past, I did something right, because I've always been pretty free during the LifeTime Christmas Movie Season. Deadlines were either right behind me, or far enough away that I could indulge in hours and hours of harmless Canarican drama. But not this year. Eve's Christmas? Comfort and Joy? A Very Married Christmas? All are tucked away in my DVR to be doled out 30 minutes at a time during my daily lunch hour, or in that hour between 11 and midnight if I decide that I'd rather watch Jennie Garth uncover a Secret Santa than read an actual book. A dear, sweet friend of mine actually sent me the DVD of my most favoritest of the genre, If You Believe, which I have actually hidden from myself. I don't get to touch it until I type "THE END."

So, who knows? Maybe I'll be ringing in the new year with Susan Lucci's Ebenezer Scrooge. Or, I might be celebrating Valentine's Day with Olivia Newton-John and Tom Wopat. I may have to cheat a little and watch Tony Danza and Leah Thompson, because that kiss in the snow in front of his truck makes me melt, but the others are just the tasty carrot I'm dangling in front of myself to keep me going.

It's a most wonderful time of year!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Warning: Mixed Metaphors Ahead...

Failure is a big word. And, so final. You can't be in the midst of failure, because it's final. You never know until the buzzer's buzzed. Up until then, you keep going, right? Think about the last two games of this past World Series. Game 6: back-and-forth, extra innings, tie it up and move ahead. Not until the 3rd out in the bottom of the 10th did we know who failed. (Rangers, sigh). Game 7: it was pretty apparent by, oh, I dunno, the 4th inning that the Rangers would fail. I knew it, they knew it, the announcers biding their time with useless trivia knew it. Failure loomed. But, the Rangers couldn't just say, "Hey! We're doomed to fail, so we're taking off now..." Of course not. Because the minute you stop trying, you fail. Why not extend that hope as long as possible?

All this to say...I totally failed my writing goal from last week. Like, not even close. Like, negative numbers due to some random computer glitch that probably boils down to my forgetting to, um, save. (and, yes, I've tried everything to retrieve those lost words)

So, I won't be spending this week just hanging out and relaxing with the family. I mean, I'll be hanging out, because we have plans. But relaxing? No. I'll be tapping my fingers calculating word counts, Googling for a good San Antonio-based hypnotist to help access those last words. As we travel over the river and through the woods (a.k.a. I-35 North to Austin), I'll be mentally fleshing out those last few plot points.

Here's the good news, though. Unlike my beloved Rangers, for me, failure is not an option. I simply cannot. Sure, I might fall a little short on some self-imposed inning, but that has nothing to do with the big game. The bottom of one inning leads to the top of the next, right?

I'd be totally remiss (and possibly un-American) if I didn't end this message with some acknowledgement of What I'm Thankful For. It's easy. I'm thankful for the next inning, the next game, the next season, the next at-bat. I'm grateful for a God whose mercies are new every morning. I'm thankful for tomorrow, and when it's here, I'll be thankful for today.

P.S. I'm only half-kidding about the hypnotist.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deadline Dinner

I had to have "the talk" with my sons this week. No, not that talk--Miley Cyrus and 6th grade Health class took care of most of that. This was the one-month-to-deadline talk. It's the talk where I inform them that, for the next couple of weeks, dinner is what it is, and we're all pretty lucky to be eating anything at all. So if I say I'm making spaghetti and we end up having elbow macaroni mixed with a can of diced tomatoes, well there it is. I didn't go to the grocery store. I'm on deadline. Menus have been planned and abandoned. Lists have been written and left in the car. My head is too full of the next chapter, the dropped character, the ever-looming word count. Me? I could live on frozen waffles, Nutella, coffee and Yoplait Lemon Cream Pie Yogurt. Oh, and Diet Coke. Lots and lots of Diet Coke. The family, however, has grown accustomed to eating a quasi-balanced diet on a semi-regular basis. For now, if I can keep us from digging dinner out of a greasy bag more than twice a week, I'm feeling pretty good!

And, yes, the picture is a spaghetti taco. Don't judge me...

So. This week's challenge? A week off for Thanksgiving, so I won't be the only person in my family working! It'll be a week to prepare and freeze some dinners to get the whole Pittman family through those last few chapters. Feel free to leave me a comment with your best suggestions for make-ahead meals. We can only eat so much chilli...

By the way, for those wondering, I did reach last week's goal, resulting in a lovely body of Caress silky ribbon body wash. Nothing like a nice, candle-lit bath at midnight after a long day's writing.