Sunday, June 28, 2009


In the throes of my continuing and miserable illness—it's mono, did you know that?—the following things have occurred:

1) Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died on the same day. Somehow, this made perfect sense to me.
2) Iran turned into a different country.
3) My friends forced me to go to the doctor, made me chicken soup and drove my kids back and forth to their camps every day.
4) I cried for no reason (although maybe items 1, 2, and 3 had something to do with it).
5) I finished a book called The Twelve Kingdoms, Volume 1 Sea of Shadow, which as far as I can tell is some sort of novelized, YA anime. Thoroughly enjoyable in a mindless, I-have-a-raging-fever-and-a-goiter-on-my-neck kind of way. It's seven volumes in all; I think I'll bring the next one to the lake.

6) Alone in the house all day yesterday, I watched Sense and Sensibility, something I can't remember, and what I believe was almost the entire season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. About the latter (which I have never seen before) I can only shake my head in bewilderment, for it was truly disturbing. Those shows should be referred to as "Alternate Reality" not "Reality." And yet I could not make myself change the channel or even get up to vomit. Later, after the family returned home and the kids were in bed, the spousal unit and I watched the ethereal Kristin Scott Thomas in I've Loved You For So Long, and the bad memories of botox, "getting my boobies done," and purchasing $103,000 worth of furniture in cash were swept away.

7) I slept. I slept a lot, a lot, a lot. In fact, that's what I'm going to go do right now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bitter Betty Throws a Pity Party

The summer is off to a most ridiculous start. All my fine writing and reading plans have fallen by the wayside like crumbs from moldy bread. This proves, of course, that I was on track with my first pre-summer post, i.e. I should not have made any plans because plans are always waylaid.

In short, I have been sick for more than a week, and it's not just any sick. It's an illness that features, nay stars, the swelling of lymph nodes in my neck. This has become, through some fault of my own I'm sure, the Sad Summer of Giant Nodes. I will not go into too lengthy a description of my symptoms, but I will tell you that I cannot speak, swallow, turn my head, sleep, or yawn without the kind of discomfort that just really, really pisses me off. In more positive news, if you're in search of an effective weight loss program, you should consider purchasing some Giant Nodes.

With that helpful hint, I'll bring my pity party to a close. I promise to return soon with a post about unicorns, cotton candy, and the wondrous pan flute.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Blog Post in Which I Realize I Will Never Learn to Play the Flute

I just read that Montaigne's father had a servant play the flute every morning to gently wake his son. He raised a genius, so who am I to turn up my nose? This being the case, I suppose I should stop waking the twins by standing at the bottom of the stairs and screaming, "Get up! Get up! It's time to get up! Let's go, let's go!"

The beautiful thing is that for the next ten days or so I won't have to wake them up at all because today was the last day of school, and so summer is officially underway. They have camps and such on the horizon, but for now we are luxuriously left to our own devices. In preparation, we hit the library yesterday and checked out loads and loads of books. I swear I love the children's section best. I appear to be the first patron who has ever touched the brand new copy of Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden—The Complete Armitage Family Stories.

It now awaits me (what is it with me and proper English lady writers? You'll remember, of course, my literary love affairs with Jane Austen and Eleanor Farjoen). And I had to grab Roald Dahl's The Witches, as well, because of the first few pages:
In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.

But this is not a fairy tale. This is about REAL WITCHES.

The most important thing you should know about REAL WITCHES is this. Listen very carefully. Never forget what is coming next.

REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS.

That is why they are so hard to catch...

Which child, she says to herself all day long, exactly which child shall I choose for my next squelching?

A REAL WITCH gets the same pleasure from squelching a child as you get from eating a plateful of strawberries and thick cream.

She reckons on doing away with one child a week. Anything less than that and she becomes grumpy.

Oh, that's so funny to me. Which—let's just face it—probably means that I'm never going to wake my kids up by gently playing the flute.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Revised Summer No-Plans, Plus Some Books, Plus Hello to the Market Manila-ers

I would be remiss if I failed to greet any and all of the lovely Market Manila folks who have been dropping by, especially bettyq, natie, and sanojmd! My first thought was to kick this post off with some pictures of my dad (aka SillyLolo), in full Silly Lolo mode, but since he fancies himself an International Man of Internet Mystery, I will refrain.

A few posts ago, I claimed that this would be a summer of catch-as-catch-can for your Nesting Ground Mistress. That in an effort to avoid frustration, I would not set personal writing goals, but rather go with the proverbial flow and see what writing time I might be able to eke out around my family responsibilities. What I failed to mention is that I AM SO FULL OF IT. Making such a claim was just me, as usual, trying to excuse myself in advance for ending the summer with nothing more than a suntan (and a half-hearted one, at that).

Immediately after I wrote that post, I...

...signed up for the Southeast Review "Writer's Regimen," which is an e-mail a day for 30 days type-thing. I'm on Day 6, and I've written every day so far. Have any of you done this? It's like getting a pleasant daily surprise in your inbox, and it's only $15! Anyways, you should do this. Good clean writer fun.

...e-mailed Bec to see if she'd be interested in exchanging some work with me. And she would. And we will. And so there's that.

...100% committed, with 5 writer-witnesses, to meeting a June 30th deadline on a thing we've been working on for so, so, so long.

In briefly related summer books news, I am eagerly awaiting Fables: Legends in Exile and Fables: Animal Farm. I have to admit that I bought them online because it's getting increasingly difficult to justify full-price book shopping when the in-store/online price difference is so drastic. For example, I saved $20 buying these two online:

I've mentioned before that I haven't wandered very far into the world of graphic novels, but these appeal to me. Here's the description:

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society-within an exclusive luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side-called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Bigby, Fabletown's sheriff, and a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the culprit is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

The fact that Snow White has a party-girl sister was enough to hook me. Has anyone read the series? I would love to know what you think. I also picked up the novel (NOT online, so perhaps these purchases balanced out) Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe. It's a monster of a book, 816 pages and a total weight of what feels like 487 pounds:

A cursory web search revealed that it's already been made into an animated film, and there's also a graphic novel version.

Better go. There's much to read, and much to write.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Weekend before last, we piled into the car and headed to Lompoc for my Auntie and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. Classic Delfino hijinx ensued, of course, thanks to the uncanny number of dancers, singers, and musicians in the family. Still, my eyes were constantly drawn to the celebrants, and as I watched them sitting or dancing together, the following words ran through my head: holey betelnuts—FIFTY years! Fifty years is no small thing; it is no simple journey. And so I was properly in awe.

Here is my super-fantastic cousin, Luj, who is possibly the only musician alive capable of singing "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" without making me want to flee the country, screaming:

And here are my daughters, dancing with interesting abandon:

Last weekend we headed south again, this time to Santa Barbara for the wedding of our niece Sarah to her paramour, Chase. You've heard the term "storybook," yes? Beginning to end (the end being a "Sweet Dreams—Love, Sarah & Chase" cookie bar!), I have never witnessed more enchanting nuptials. My eyes were constantly drawn to the celebrants, and as I watched them sitting or dancing together, the following words ran through my head: holey awesome shoeshine—a lifetime commitment! A lifetime commitment is no small thing; it will be no simple journey. And so I was properly in awe.

Though I'm dying to post a picture of the beautiful couple, I hesitate to overstep. Instead, you'll have to make do with some familiar faces. May I present the junior bridesmaids and flowergirl:

As you know, the spousal unit and I hover somewhere between the two extremes of newlywed-ism and golden anniversary-ism. We have a history to savor, a today to get right, and a future to contemplate. I have to say: I like the view from here.