Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

An Eye By Any Other Color

I just read another story about another hero who has gun metal gray eyes. Got me to thinking.

Science will tell you that there are only four eye colors available. Brown, hazel, green, and blue. That's it.

But romance authors say, "Pah! I spit on your unimaginitive science!"

I tried to remember all the different eye colors I've read about. There are variants of brown:

Whiskey: well, it's sort of brown.
Amber: not quite brown.
Sherry: besides the liquor fascination with brown eyes, umm...sherry's like red, right? Sign of demonic possession there.
Very Light Brown, but always described as cat-like and predatory: okay. Yellow feral cat eyes do nothing but creep me out. And if I read about the lemon end of the spectrum, all I can think of is A Christmas Story (yellow eyes, I swear to God, he had yellow eyes!) and then I'm totally out of the book.

Hazel isn't done often, but you hear about it for pages when it is.

Gold: here's where it breaks down. Metallics should never be used for eye colors unless it's a paranormal or sci-fi. Jayne Ann Krentz had a character from Gift of Gold that had eyes that were "not new, shiny, jeweler's gold, but the ancient gold of history, of Florentine coins." That takes more imagination than I currently possess.

Green eyes?

Emerald: Jewels are always welcome. But make sure you follow the handbook and have them shoot sparks and be lit with hot emerald fire. Whatever the heck that is.
Sea green: thousands of bridesmaids can't be wrong.

And finally, blue.

Light blue: careful, these eyes will practically colorless and clear by the end of the book.
Dark blue: storm ahead! Dark blue eyes are always stormy!
Violet: Get over it, people. Liz Taylor's eyes are plain old blue.
Light gray: You can bet the farm, at some point these will turn to silver. I happen to find that mondo creepy.
Gunmetal gray: I get the feeling these are supposed to scare the bejeebers out of the heroine. Notice, gun metal eyes are never used on girls. It's for those big tough guys whose eye color has to remind one of guns, which everyone knows is symbolic of...never mind.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Can I Get An Amen?

Please let me know if you would be interested in signing up your men.
Together, we can make a difference.


Class 1 - How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays
Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.
Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2 - The Toilet Paper Roll --- Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.
Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3 - Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat & Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?
Group Practice.
Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 4 - Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

Class 5 - After Dinner Dishes --- Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM

Class 6 - Loss Of Identity --- Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Help Line Support and Support Groups.
Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

Class 7 - Learning How To Find Things --- Starting With Looking In The Right Places & Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
Open Forum
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.

Class 8 - Health Watch --- Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health
Graphics and Audio Tapes.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9 - Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost
Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM
Location to be determined

Class 10 - Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.
4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.

Class 11 - Learning to Live --- Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and role-playing
Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined

Class 12 - How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13 - How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy --- Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 14 - The Stove--- What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM
location to be determined.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My Girl

Exactly how lame does a person have to be in order to promise a friend that she would start a blog with said friend and then never ever post because her stinking work takes up too much of her time, that is what time is not already devoted to wiping up copious amounts of drool? Pretty dang lame, lemmetellya. So in an effort to hold up my end of the blog and give my buddy a rest, I hereby post what you all have so anxiously of the cutest baby girl ever in the history of ever and ever. (Keep in mind that in addition to being SuckyBlogBuddy of the Year, I am also TechnoDorkWoman and have only a somewhat vague idea how to post pictures to the blog. You may end up with photos of some junk my husband is selling on eBay instead of my adorable Miss Adorableness. Just FYI).

That is Alison Noelle when she was 2 days old, fresh home from the hospital. As you can see, we had yet to unpack her diapers, burp rags and spare onesies from her cheeks. Nice of her to offer to cart them home for us. In answer to your next question, 8 pounds, 13 ounces. And no, I am not kidding. And no, she wasn't radioactive..just a touch jaundiced. Which is only exacerbated by her yellow outfit and blanket. Because her mom's a dork.

This is the first time her big brother Zachary ever held her with some help from Grammi, my husband's mom. He's either gazing with love upon his sister's sweet face, or trying to figure out what she did in her short life to warrant being punished by wearing such a goofy hat.

Here she is at one month old, already growing into her cheeks and showing signs that she has chosen her future career. This look is called "Blue Steel."

Twice the cuteness for the same low price.

Here she is with her Tigger that Uncle Terry (ozzatlarge) bought her in her seat of honor in the kitchen. From this lofty perch, she supervises the cleaning of the dishes and the preparing of the food, never hesitating to let her wishes be made known by loud, high pitched squealing that can make blood leak from your ears. If the model thing doesn't work out, she has a fallback career as a car alarm.

Here she is at five months old, lying on our cheap JCPenior bedspread and looking like she's retaining water. This EXTREME CLOSEUP was taken by Daddy. Who then also went to WalMarche and printed a bazillion of this shot to send out in our Christmas cards. We finally get our baby girl, and we send out a photo that looks like an infant version of Scary Celebrity Mugshots.

"That's not my drool on that teething ring, Officer, and you can't prove a thing!"

Can I tell you how much I am loving the pink, people? Nine and a half looooong years of primary colors were my dues and now, my second baby's room looks like a case of Pepto exploded in it. But I don't care. She will be a girly girl and dress like a girly girl and have girly girl stuff..until she's old enough to tell me different. And even then, I may not care, because hello? Stretch marks. She owes me.

How could I not love those faces?

Everyone in my family loves a good book.

This post was so lame that it bored even me, Mom. Get your snark on and quit making the nice Internet people suffer. Love, Ali

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Random Motherhood Musings

Okay, so I got over the I Must Stay Home With My Children thing when they both hit elementary school full time. My kids are 20 months apart, and I had a miscarriage inbetween, so I was basically pregnant for three years.

Don't get me wrong, I chose to be a stay at home mom. Of course, my choice of Musical Theatre major in college assured that the only jobs I could get involved phone sales and fast food, and like even full time you think those would pay for anything except daycare so how would that help, so staying home was a good option for me.

I had two in diapers for about a year. That really didn't weigh on me as much as two who couldn't dress themselves or feed themselves or pick up after themselves or sleep longer than three hours at a time and oh my Lord I'm not even going to think about the laundry. Of course, now that they're teen and almost teen the laundry hasn't really changed.

Teens, they are as disgusting as babies- just take my word for it.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah, the job thing. I did go back to work, food service, Monday-Friday lunch shift when they were both finally thank you God in school all day. It gave us some extra income, but the most important part? Got me out of the freaking house and I got to talk to people who had no clue who Barney was. Honestly, I'd begun to feel like that lady in the VISA commercial- "Did Daddy-waddy come home from worky-jerky?" When dh got home, I'd jump him, and not for tea and crumpets. I just wanted to talk. And talk. And talk.

My poor husband has honed the yes-dear-I'm-listening-while-paying-no-attention-whatsoever into an art. He has perfected the nod, the thoughtful "Hmmm..." and the "What do you know about that" while never once losing track of his place in his book. Most of the time, I knew he wasn't listening and I didn't care. I just wanted to talk to someone who wouldn't spit up in response. And as much as I adored my kids and loved being a cookie baking, craft making supermommy, I wanted a break.

Work outside the home did something for me that motherhood, in all it's lace-trimmed soft-focused glory can't do. It gave me feedback. I'll admit it right now, I need the positive strokes. Not just from employers, though I certainly got into being the one who always got the merit raise and the good review. And being the co-worker that was generally liked. I also got into being the clerk that all the customers loved. I mean it, people. My customers would fight to be in my line. MY burritos were just better, okay? Now that I work for Hallmark, my reward is if the WalMartians figure out from the big nametag that says HALLMARK that I don't work for WalMart before I have to tell them.

You do get rewards for being a mommy, but sometimes you have to hunt for them. When my daughter was 3, her preschool gave a Christmas program. LAME cannot even begin to describe it, yet there we all were, snapping so many pictures the school didn't need to turn the lights on. I watched my little girl dancing in a godawful badly made elf costume, and I was so proud I burst into tears. LOOK at her!! That's MY BABY up there dancing and shouting, er, singing.

And when my son was 10 months old and the people in the church nursery fought over who got to hold him because, hello? Sweetheart of the Crawlers has graced us with his smiley, drooley presence. I would float out of there on a cloud, feeling sorry for the schmucks who had to drop off lesser babies. Poor things.

There have been other such moments in their 14 and 12 years, respectively, Mother's Day cards with the D backwards and lumpy oatmeal brought to me in bed with a fake flower on the tray from the dollar store. All good. But once in a great while, you get a bigger reward than all the raises and bonuses and customer 'tell us how we've done' cards.

A few days ago, my 12 year old son said, "Thanks, Mom."

Out of the blue, for no discernable reason. "Your welcome. Thanks for what?"

"Oh, just cause you're always up before we are, making sure that we have our breakfast and lunch money and homework and stuff. You just make sure we're taken care of."

I managed to hang on until the kids were out the door before I flooded the house. Dh came downstairs while I was bawling like a demented cow, and asked what was wrong. Through hiccups and sobs I managed to stutter, "I love our kids." He took one look at me, picked up his briefcase, checked to see if he had his glasses, and left for work while nodding and saying, "Hmmm...what do you know about that?"

Friday, January 20, 2006

Think, Think, Think...

Pooh's Thoughtful Place

With special thanks to our guest snarker, Anna, we present for your consideration: What Are These Cover Models Thinking?

Iron Dove

Shoot. I knew that helicopter would totally mess up my hair.

I am pouty. I have attitude. And I despise the little dancing man in the corner.

I'm still on the title. Iron Dove. Think about that. How is an iron dove going to get off the ground, anyway? Brings to mind the whole hawk/dove thing, and if this is an adventure, wouldn't it make sense to be more hawk than dove? Plus they have me in someone's crosshairs, but not someone with perfect aim. That guy's not much help, as he's more interested in auditioning for a remake of North by Northwest.

Much Ado About Matchmaking

The men: PLEASE be the matchmaker not the match. Please be the matchmaker not the match.

And then my therapist? She said I should get a hobby so I could keep myself occupied and not stalk people anymore, so I chose making ugly headbands. Where are you going?! Come baaaaack!!!

Missie’s husband:
The lights are on, but nobody's home, folks.

As soon as these "muscle relaxants" wear off, I am firing this wedding planner who gave them to me. And the makeup artist who also took too many. And giving my three year old niece her flower scrunchie headband back. Now, one question. Am I the bride or the bridesmaid?

Suddenly Mommy

You are getting verrrry sleeeeepy…now go get me a bottle. And a diaper. And follow my instructions to rule the world. Also a teething ring.

(rumbling sound effects) Suddenly Smelly.

Oh boy, I get to star in Children of the Damned II! Let this be a lesson to all; be alert and always watch your doorstep, lest someone suddenly leave an evil baby with too much eyeliner on your welcome mat. You can tell I am Evil Baby because I have eyeliner on. More than "Mommy" ever will. Because I won't let her. Bwahahah. Even if she gets me out of this basket, she'll never be able to fold all these fitted sheets.

The Pride of Hannah Wade

Her: Take the picture already. These buckskins chafe.
Him: You can’t take your eyes off my Corbin Bernsen chiseled cheekbones, can you?
Horse: I can’t believe they made a toupee for him from my hair.

Her: Look at me, I'm all proud. And all Native American-y. Cuz weren't they really pale, too? Do I need more makeup?
Him: If you shut up, I'll let you borrow my bronzer.
Her: This is so cool. I told you we would like totally win the Brangelina Look Alike Contest.

Missie's husband:
Just how long is that horse?

Okay, my babysitter got sick, so I have to go home now and only have time to take one photo, so everyone crowd in together, and I'll crop it later. Eighties Beauty Gazzette cover girl, you put on the dress for the Beader's Quarterly cover. Corbin Bernson, into the Civil War Times guy's uniform, and both of you on horse that looks like Howard Cosell. The judge won't let me talk about what that's for.

The Would-Be Widow

Oh, my husband’s back from the war. Let me find a container for my joy.

Him: Psst, that painting's eyes are totally following us.
Her: Shut up, Conway Twitty.

Heroine: ::sigh:: I can't believe he made it back alive. Didn't I pay for a front-lines assignment? If I can pretend to be fascinated by his detailed recounting of the quartermaster's latest inventory, maybe I can remember where I put the deadly nightshade. One of us is going to need it. (note from Anna -- this heroine bears a startling resemblance to my mother's best friend from the 1970s, who actually was British. I will now be sniffing for Tab and Jean Nate for the rest of the day.)

Next: Covers That Are Just Wrong

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yo! What up?

In my never ending quest to find out who I really am, I decided I needed a street name for street cred. I am, in actuality:

Queen Sugah Robynee H.

Go here and click the name generators link, break dancers style, to find yourself. Fo' shizzle!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Me Luuuurve Neanderthals

Sharon's post over at Writeminded got me thinking about heroes. Particularly alpha heroes.

Apparently, I loves me some cavemen.

There was an old Stephanie James (Jayne Ann Krentz) book where the hero was a dangerous agent code named Wolf.

Aside: Of course he was code named Wolf. Has any agent been code named Titmouse?

Anyway, he went through a crisis of conscience, and had turned away from the job, become a vegetarian, etc. etc. But it worked for me, because when push came to shove he was still a dangerous agent. He still went out and got the bad guy.

Have you read books where the hero was initially portrayed as the second coming of Odysseus, ruthless and dangerous and almost predatory? Think Sean Connery in James Bond. You got the feeling he hated the witty repartee; he'd rather just kill the guy.

I love those heroes. Don't know why, and ain't gonna examine it.

But by the end of the book, these mad, bad, dangerous men have become Gandhi. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but we've seen no reason for the change. They're in luuuurve, maybe with a kid on the way, so suddenly they...just can't do it. They can't take revenge. They can't shoot that gun. They can't throw that punch. Repartee and a call to the sheriff will have to do.

Arrrrgggghhhh. Authors, for goodness sake, this is fantasy. MY fantasy. Any real man that scary digs me and I'd be getting restraining orders. But this is escapist fun, so I beg you- don't emasculate my alphas!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Yes, You're Looking At Pictures Of My Dog

It's my bloggie and I'll post if I want to...

Seriously, I've been down with the flu the past few days- cover snark returns soon! I've got a couple of reviews as well. In the meantime, enjoy the diva; she who must be obeyed; who rules us all with a firm but gentle paw. Amazing Grace, Mazie (may-zee) for short.

Day at the Posh Pets Doggie Spa- $27.00

Color coordinated squeaky chew toys, of which she was immediately and violently possessive- $5.00

Gourmet dog treats, which were consumed in 4.2 nanoseconds before begging for more- $3.00

A tired, sated, happy dog commandeering her favorite chair (that no one else may sit on while she occupies it) on her 2nd birthday...


You know, I just realised something.

I didn't get treated that well on my birthday. Something just wrong there...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Oy, Not This Again

I have read an article, yes, another, on how romance makes women unhappy in their real lives. We poor unfortunate idiots will be confused, and our marriages and relationships will suffer. No man can compare with a gray-eyed count riding through the mist, yada yada.

I should be tired of this subject. No one says mystery fans have trust issues because they are constantly suspicious of others. Horror fans do not become hatchet-wielding maniacs. Neither do fans of Sidney Sheldon type stories believe they are sex-crazed jet setters on the Riviera. I should ignore it, but here goes. From a firmly committed historical romance fan, I present you:

Five Reasons I Know Historical Romance Just Ain’t Real

1) The Horse Race. All truly gently bred Regency women may have been horse mad, but I think about things like this: the heroines always get into a race with the hero. They fly at breakneck speeds, mostly so the hero can be very impressed with our girl’s skills. And she’s flying at breakneck speeds SIDESADDLE. Hello, one good bounce and she’s off that thing, isn’t she? I’m sure there are dedicated horsewomen who can run with a sidesaddle, but whooshing like the wind? Even if she can, she’s wearing a velvet riding habit. Not pants- let’s make that clear. Not even a split skirt that fools you. It’s a skirt. With petticoats. And gold braided epaulettes on the shoulders. Can you imagine flying like the wind while clinging to a horse without benefit of squeezing your thigh muscles in a slippery, heavy velvet skirt? And when she comes back from the breakneck speed flying race, her matching military-style shako hat with the jaunty feather is still sitting at a rakish angle on her soft, shining curls. Her face is pleasantly pink from the exertion, and if she perspires at all it merely gives her a luminous sheen.

All I have to do is catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror after running up the stairs, wearing raggy shorts and hair in a ponytail, to know The Book’s a FANTASY.

2) Real Women Have Curves. You know, I’d like to possess the one ability all historical heroines seem to have- the power to change from a reed stick chick who is short enough and flat enough and straight enough to look like a boy in male clothing, to a voluptuous vixen with long, long legs and a Dolly Parton décolletage later that night in a ball gown. Not to mention that their thick mass of soft waving hair of some striking color that generally reaches their waist is very easily tucked under a boy’s cap that miraculously stays put. They must use the same super glue that keeps those shakos on during the horse race.

My hair has trained itself over the years to take exactly as long to fall out of whatever style I’ve wrestled it into as it takes me to drive to wherever I’m going. And no minimizer bra ever made could make a difference; binding myself with cloths would only make me look like my protuberances were more saggy than they already are. The fact that no matter what I wear, or who I’m next to, or what I’m doing, my legs are at all times exactly the same length convinces me The Book’s a FANTASY.

3) Me No Need Sleep. Have you ever noticed that men, especially in medievals, don’t need to sleep? He can fight all day, wielding a huge heavy sword, to kidnap a bride. He can ride well into the night, wearing the same sweaty chain mail. Once back at the keep, he attends to all the important business and fights a few duels if his men don’t appreciate their new mistress. He’ll eat a huge meal, heavy on protein and starch, drinking vast quantities of ale. Then he’ll be good for what is surely seven hours of energetic, inventive tea and crumpets. By the time our poor heroine comes to…er, wakes up, he’s been gone for hours, outside training the soldiers.

I don’t know a single woman whose husband is past the age of thirty-five who hasn’t had the experience: she works all day, at home or outside the home, cooks, cleans, gets kids caught up on homework and practice and bathed and read stories to and in bed, who puts a load of laundry in and sits on the couch listening to her beloved snoring in the recliner, where he’s been since right after dinner. My dh works very hard, and I appreciate him, but the man falls asleep as soon as his butt touches anything remotely like a chair. The snore serenade is background music to the realization- the Book’s a FANTASY.

4) Why Did We Invent Dentists? Because, apparently, humans had no need of them until 1900. All heroes and heroines have perfect, white, straight teeth without benefit of toothpaste or Crest Whitestrips. That all these blinding, beautiful smiles belong to the English pushes the suspension of disbelief to the terrifying limit. They drink red wines and strong tea; they eat food in rich, thick creamy sauces. They refresh themselves at tea time with sugar-laden pastries. No cavities. No rotting. No removal. No dim yellowing. And their smiles are all magically straight.

I have British ancestry. And I have big English beaver teeth. Even with my mother’s brushing admonitions, the little red tablets we had to chew in school to show us where we were missing when we brushed, and high dollar battery toothbrushes that do the work for you, I had cavities. And removal. And root canals. And dim yellowing. Part of the reason for removal was so there would be room for all my teeth in my mouth, so they didn’t have to grow out the sides. I look at pictures of myself in those big silver braces and think- the Book’s A FANTASY.

5) One With The Cosmos, Every Time. Romance heroines have the great, grasping, gasping, shrieking experience every single time they have crumpets. If the author is to be believed, every single night. Several times, every time, every night. I get tired just reading about it. You might believe it of the Regency and medieval heroines who have a long line of servants, but the Westerns? These women have just carted water from the well, baked bread, washed clothes, planted vegetables, fed the livestock, gathered eggs, taken meat from the smokehouse, sewn new shirts, etc., etc. Just once you want to hear them say what one of the Desperate Housewives said- “Can I just lie here while you finish?”

Let’s face it. Even if the old adage about Chinese food is true and you both get your cookies, sometimes love just is what it is. That’s just fine with me. I am a fairly healthy woman, with all the equipment and the drive, but seven hours of totally organic experiences every night doesn’t sound exciting, it sounds exhausting. I will forever look at my fortune cookie and thank God that the Book’s a FANTASY.