Friday, August 29, 2008

Phrases I'd Love Stricken From the English Language: Part II

Didn't I warn you I'd have more of these?

Today's phrase is, "They're only children."

These three words are often used by parents to excuse bad behavior from their offspring. Well, sorry, Mom or Dad, but I just don't buy it. Case in point:

Earlier this week I took the kids mini-golfing and go-carting at a small local establishment. Behind us on line for the go-carts were three girls, aged approximately 12-15, and I'm assuming, an older brother--maybe 18 or 19, tops. Mom hovered in the background somewhere. Now, The Girl is an avid go-carter, thanks to her many years in summer travel camps. The Boy's only driven his own go-cart once before. And me, sheltered as I am, have never driven one in my life. So while we waited on line, I received a quick rundown on the-green-foot-pedal-means-go, red-means-stop from my resident expert. When the gates opened, allowing us to enter, these four kids barrelled past us to get to the carts they wanted. Rude? Yeah, a little.

Then we get on the track. Now all around the track are these huge signs proclaiming, "No bumping!" Knowing my son is a little hesitant, I advise him to stay away from the pack, stick to one side, and just enjoy himself. I would ride behind him to make sure he was okay. Little did I know this band of heathens wouldn't respect anyone else's rights to a good time. They'd come whizzing around the track, three abreast, on a roadway meant to be shared by two carts only. Twice they sent me careening into the guard rails. When they sent me and my son into the rails a third time because they tried to squeeze four carts past, I blew a gasket. On the next turn I complained to the ride operator. The guy was too busy texting on his cell phone to look up and respond.

My Girl refused to take this abuse lying down. She made it her life's work for the last few laps of the ride to block these four houligans from getting anywhere near us. She steered left, then right, then left again, keeping up her speed, but never allowing them the opportunity to pass her. At one point, two of the girls in the other party attempted to pass her anyway and wound up crunched against the rail, their engines stalled.

At the end of the ride, I stepped out and approached the oldest member of the party--the Big Brother. "You know," I said, "someone should teach those kids some manners."

His reply? ( know it's coming...) "They're only children. They were having a race."

I pointed to my son and daughter and said, "They're only children also. But they would never disregard the rules posted on a ride."

Of course the guy shrugged and said nothing. I headed straight for Mom, repeated my complaint, and received the same response. This, however, was an adult. Someone who should know better. So I took it one step further. "Yes, I'm sure those words will give you comfort when they hurt themselves or someone else someday because they were never taught to respect rules or care about others."

I left her slack-jawed. My kids were cheering, "Go, Mom!" as we left the park.

PARENTS: We were all children once. The rest of the world should not have to cater to your brats because you don't have the backbone to guide them properly. Be a parent, a role model, someone your kids can look up to and emulate. We'll all benefit in the long run.

I'll step off my soapbox now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Phrases I'd Love Stricken From the English Language--Part I

I sense this will be a recurring theme for me. Thus, this is Part I. We all have those phrases people say that we just know aren't true or raise warning hackles on our neck. Is there a woman anywhere who hasn't held up a hideous lime green taffeta ruffled Scarlett O'Hara gown and heard a bride mutter, "Oh for God's sake, it's only two hundred dollars. You can wear the dress again"? Your Honor, I rest my case.

Basically it's a gripefest. Bear with me. And then feel free to share your own gripe.

The first phrase I'd like stricken is "stay-at-home vacation." Whoever originally came up with this idea should be banished to the netherworld in a station wagon with no working a/c along with an angry teen, a bored pre-teen, a resentful spouse, and a radio that only plays stock reports all day.

This insidious phrase has infiltrated my life this week. Thanks to Tropical Storm Fay, our vacation plans were scuttled and dh decided, since our little corner of NY appeared to be spared any repercussions of Fay's wrath, this was the ideal week to stay home and do day trips with the family. Reluctantly, I agreed (my first big mistake.)

DAY ONE: On Monday, we went to the Bronx Zoo. Unfortunately, at 2 pm, dh realized we still had half the zoo left to see and we had to leave by 3:00 to "beat the traffic home." This, of course, spurned a viewing much like that scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation where they only have fifteen minutes to go through the Louvre. Needless to say, we did not make it through the entire zoo until 4:30 and I got a lecture all the way home about how "screwed" we'd be with the traffic. No matter that we didn't really get hammered all that hard (we made the trip in about an hour and fifteen minutes), the dh had worked himself into a frenzy.

DAY TWO: Tuesday we spent at the beach. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know the joy this routine outing inspires in me. Those who are newer readers, you can check out some of the details here. (Sorry...but the contest is over!) I came home with a migraine, a slight sunburn, and rings of bug bites on my ankles and feet from the green fly population which decided to feast upon me. I also did not get a chance to write one word. Normally I make the most of the beach by bringing my AlphaSmart and typing up a chapter or so while the family enjoys the sun and sand. Alphie, however, made other plans. Plans that required his immediate departure to that giant bin of obsolescence in the sky. In other words, Alphie crapped out and needs to be replaced ASAP.

DAY THREE: Wednesday was a trip to Six Flags in New Jersey. Out of the house by nine a.m., home by two a.m. today. Yes, the rides were fun. Yes, it was a lovely day. Yes, the kids enjoyed themselves and left with big smiles. But the work of packing enough food before we left, fighting traffic in both directions (because dh still doesn't believe the GPS can pick up satellite feeds about upcoming snarls and reroute us accordingly) and subsisting on sips of tepid water from drinking fountains found inside the park (because dh refuses to spend four dollars on cold drinks when he's got them packed in the cooler in the parking lot only two miles away) drains me.

In between all this fun, I still get to do laundry, prepare meals, wash dishes, take care of the pets, make sure the trash gets to the curb before the truck appears, etc., etc., etc. And the glamour! Cold cut sandwiches and fast food, stocking and restocking the cooler, slathering myself in sunscreen... I tell ya, how much excitement can one gal take?

I still have five more fun-filled days of this "stay-at-home vacation" event and honestly, I can't wait 'til it's over. My vacation will truly begin when the kids go back to school and hubby goes back to work.

And that, my friends, is today's Phrase I'd Love Stricken From the English Language.

Stay tuned for Part II coming soon (too soon, I bet!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We're a-Movin' On Up!

Not to the East Side.
No, we're movin' on up the date for A Little Slice of Heaven's release in paperback. The new date is:

Drum roll, please...

OCTOBER 17, 2008!

Be sure to mark the new date on your calendar. And stay tuned here! As we get closer, I'll announce coming booksignings and contests to celebrate the event.

In order to celebrate completely, though, I think I need more than a drumroll. In fact, "I've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Striving for the Goal!

Today was the annual county-wide scrimmage for my son's football team. For four hours, I sized up players on other teams (who always looked a whole lot bigger and meaner!) and kept my fears to myself when they lined up against my little guy.
Time and again my boy was knocked down--sometimes after substantial yard gains, sometimes with no forward motion at all. Time and again, he picked himself up, and tried again. At one point, he and his teammates played a team who decided to try intimidation. They tackled one of our boys and then sat on his chest, pushing the ball into the kid's ribcage. Then when they tackled my boy, they punched him in the back--both actions meant to knock the wind out of our players and make them a little more tentative on the field. Their ploy backfired.
For the rest of their time against this team, my son and his teammate made these players regret trying such underhanded tactics. After every snap, The Boy, small and fast, would race to whoever got the ball and practically run rings around him to keep him from a forward advance. Meanwhile, his teammate (the kid they sat on) would fly in out of nowhere and drive the opponent to the ground.

Writers can learn a lot from peewee football. Think about it...

And for a little extra Saturday cuteness, meet Cocoa Puff, the baby wild bunny (smaller than a baseball) we found sleeping on our patio when we got home. Say it with me now: "Aaaawwwww!"

No worries, though. Cocoa Puff returned to his nest some time later in the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey, Kids! Guess What Day It Is?

So how does a fabulous, not-quite well known author spend her special day? Well, technically, I should be on the football field, cheering on The Boy during his Wednesday night practice. But never fear.

G-Girl Gail has come through to make the evening special for me. She's taking the kids to a Long Island Ducks (minor league baseball) game so the dh and I can spend some time together celebrating. Thanks, Gail! I owe you one--again!

In the meantime, let the plethora of birthday comments begin!

P.S.: A very special happy birthday to soul sister, Shari!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Great Review for "Slice"

This one from the Romance Studio. Five hearts. The Cliff's Notes:

"...I literally read this book straight through. I read all night. I could not put it down. It is unusual to have a seriously told book that has a deep underlying sense of humor... I highly recommend that all who love to laugh while reading get this book..."

Meanwhile, I'm still plugging along on the WIP that, in my humble opinion, will become my finest work yet. Once I get deeper into the story, I just might share a bit of it with you. Until then, stay tuned...

*With great big smoochie thanks to Leslie Ann Dennis for the link!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's All in the Perspective

Over at Dear Author, there was a discussion regarding a certain author taking revenge on those who give her a bad review. Said author mused she would be putting one particular offender in her next book as a murder victim with some embarrassing health issues to boot.

Meanwhile, here in the Ardito household, I've been using my daughter's friends as characters in my current WIP. Mind you, none have been brutally murdered or have a sexually transmitted disease. I'm basically using their first names. But every one of them is thrilled at the idea they might gain a little notoriety for posterity. Even Amanda, who was the only one willing to be "a bad girl." We're still brainstorming how bad she'll be, but so far we've thrown around the idea that she poisons people with arsenic-laced cookies, or she's a bank robber gunned down in a hostage situation. She's up for anything.

To me, this is a perfect example of how intention and perspective weigh heavily on public opinion. My intention is to honor my daughter's friends and that's the perspective they come away with. This other author means to insult or defame a stranger. Thus the perspective from all involved is drastically different. do you feel? Would you be honored if I put you in a book? Or would you be seeking out an attorney?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I made a change or two to my website ( ). While I'll keep the butterflies here until I'm sick of them, over at the full website, just never know what you'll find. This time around, it's yellow roses. Next time...who knows? Monkeys (for Missy?)

Football season is in full swing over here. This year, The Boy's on the Wildcats' Team White: "No Bark, All Bite. " (No...that wasn't mine. The head coach came up with that beauty.) G-Girl Gail and I are Team Moms and I'm anticipating a lot of excitement this time around.

Writing continues to move in the right direction. Though I haven't updated the progress bar (yet!) I hit 14,000 words yesterday. Yay!

I'm also working on an article for next month's LIRW newsletter regarding writers who sabotage themselves. Got an interesting example? Send it to me! I just might quote you and get you some free publicity.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Congratulations to the Winners!

Thanks to everyone who contributed a new recipe to my collection and helped this poor sun-frazzled redhead out. The winners were:

Stephanie Sullivan
Lady Godiva
Gail Fisher

Oddly, all the winners had a fabulous pasta recipe to share and the family loved every one of them. (Gail's lemon pasta, as a matter of fact, was a definite favorite with my son!)

Congratulations, ladies! Mangia!