Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Reading: just finished Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett
Writing: procrastinating!
Coffee units: 4
Notable nibbles: well, John prepared the frozen broccoli. That's pretty awesome.

Okay, I'm supposed to be producing words about now. And I will, I'm sure. It's just hard to focus when it's practically vacation time!

Yesterday we enjoyed some impromptu vacation, since John had the day off. We just decided to go visit Mt. Saint Helens. Hooray! We hiked around outside of the Johnston Ridge Observatory, where there is a decidedly wonderful hiking trail amongst the baby alder trees. It was beautiful, sunny and cool, and the icy breeze coming off the peak made the lack of shade enjoyable. (Yesterday, anyway. Today my scalp is letting me know that no shade does not make skin happy.) We even saw ground squirrels and horned larks, two very adorable creatures.

After our hike, we stopped for pizza (Papa Pete's Pizza in Castle Rock) and coffee (C&L Burgers, Ice Cream and Espresso). They were out of regular coffee, so we had Americanos to which the girl kindly added a liberal dose of half-and-half. I am ashamed to say that after 15+ years of mocking Americanos, I found this to be one of the most delicious coffee beverages of my life. I just might become a convert!

And let me add that I drank that Americano without sugar. I've spent my whole life loving sweet coffee, and now I'm going over to the dark side. Who knew it could happen? I just know that I can't wait to be on the open road on Thursday morning, a strong cup of black coffee in one hand and an Acme donut in the other!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chocolate chickpea cake part deux

I want to be clear on something here. I am not an exceptionally good or nice person. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I have morals and I try to be decent, but I am more lazy than I am good. So it's not very often when I get to shine up my halo, and it's all because of that chocolate chickpea cake.

While the cake didn't turn out as luxuriously truffle-ish as the last time I made it (okay, I should have listened to Fiona when she was like "Take the cake out of the oven, Mom. NOW."), it was still acceptable, if a titch dry in the corners. With enough strawberries and whipped cream, dry can be managed. Everyone who tried the cake seemed to like it, and our gluten-free ZS member took seconds. Hooray! I didn't even know if the guy liked cake, or chocolate, but since this is one of the few cakes I really like, I felt like I needed to bring it out for him.

But the good part happened just a few minutes ago. I remembered that my neighbor was just recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance, and that she and her family were struggling with it. And lightning struck! I had a lot of cake left (that's what happens when the family 5 you're planning to fete at a baby shower misses the event), and I knew I would probably gobble it all up if I kept it around. So I took half of it to the neighbor's house!

Her husband answered the door and called her over with a "Honey! Gluten-free cake!" And I swear I have never seen a hand move so fast or eyes shine so brightly. Her kids had come home from something that night eating cookies and she was really suffering. That cake saved the day.

I went home happy, my dusty halo gleaming over my head.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chocolate chickpea cake and romaine salad

Reading: the Willamette Week drink guide
Writing: hopefully, yes
Coffee units: 1. God, that needs to change!
Notable nibbles: apple slice with cinnamon

I just want to point out that those questions are much harder at 10 in the morning. Normally I wouldn't be blogging until at least 7 pm, but today, I had a thought on my trip home from the grocery store.

Tomorrow we're going to a potluck, and I planned to bring healthier choices--one of my friends just had a heart attack, and I don't want to tempt him with anything too decadent. (As if I could tempt this guy--I just learned he used to chef for a 4-star restaurant. Not that I'm worried or anything.) So I picked up some salad ingredients and stuff for that amazing chocolate chickpea cake that rocked our world last month, and somehow or other, walking along in the sunshine, I started imagining just how my world premier appearance on Oprah would proceed.

OPRAH: Here's Wendy Wagner, writer, mom and all-around amazingly cute woman. Wendy, I understand that you successfully lost 60 pounds a few years ago and have kept it off. What's your secret?

ME: I think first you have to recognize that you have to love yourself, and you can't be too hard on yourself. (Patting fat rolls) I'm still no super-model, Oprah! (laughter) But I think the first rule of success is simple.

OPRAH: Please, share it with our studio audience and folks at home.

ME: You just have to say, "No! You can NOT have that cookie!" No matter what. It doesn't matter if you walked 5 miles or haven't eaten anything all day. Cookies are evil.

OPRAH: Ohhh, that's deep. Don't you agree, folks? (crowd cheers) Do you have any other advice, Wendy?

ME: Well, if you really want the pounds to come off, you can step things up with rule #2: "If that has cheese on it, it's not going in my mouth." Yeah, that'll do it every time. Cheese makes cookies look like innocent girl scouts. It's pure fat.

(crowd cheers louder; Oprah wipes a tear from her cheek. I smile and wave--)

Anyway, before I could step into Oprah's arms for a soul-to-soul hug, I nearly got hit by a minivan and I stopped daydreaming. But I guess that's how I lost 60 pounds in a year and kept it off. I could stand to lose another twenty, but there's no way in the world I'm cutting out pie.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jen rocks!

Reading: Richard Matheson: The Collected Stories, vol 1
Writing: finished 1st draft of Mayan apocalype story; began revision of another
Coffee units: 3.5
Notable nibbles: strawberry-spinach salad

I just returned from a very enjoyable reading by the very amusing Jen Lancaster. I was accompanied by the incomparable E, who is the one who introduced me to blogging and books born from blogs.

Sometimes you just have to go do something like a girl.

This weekend turned out nutty, of course. The balance between Zombie Squad and family didn't work out quite as well as I would have liked, and I missed the main event, which was apparently crappy for the ZS crew. I feel like an asshole--you know, like that person I've been trying to put behind me, who always flaked out at the last minute because she got overwhelmed and freaked out. (Hey, I can still feel guilty as hell even I wasn't doing any actual flaking. I'd like to point some fingers at the US Navy. But I'd still feel like a jerk.)

I probably wouldn't feel so guilty if I hadn't had such a good time being with the kid. You know, I am really going to miss my brother! Thank goodness it's just 4 months.

Okay, I've got some writing to do. I think. This Lohra revision is seriously kicking my ass. It just isn't as fun to knuckle down and clean up the disaster of this book as it is to write stories. But if I want to have a book to sell, I better get off my ass!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Reading: just finished The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Totally enjoyable!
Writing: started new story while drinking coffee at the Artemis
Coffee units: 4. But who's counting?
Notable nibbles: Shaker lemon pie (at the Artemis Cafe, of course)

So much going on I have decompress before I get down to work. I'm not even sure if I can manage complete sentences right now, because I'm just too full of emotion to think properly. So I'll list, even if that's incredibly lame.

1. My adorable baby brother leaves for the Persian Gulf next weekend.
2. My adorable baby brother arrives at my house Friday night for one last hootenanny.
3. Saturday is Zombie Prom, the most exciting day of May!
4. Saturday my family is celebrating my adorable baby brother.
5. My best friend in the world is GOING WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING! Tomorrow!
6. Might do something too nutty and exciting to blog about today.

Whew. I'm breathing out the strung-out energy and breathing in peace. Whew. Okay. Yeah, maybe I won't get much sleep this weekend, but it'll be okay.

Oh, and number 6? I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's page 80, folks

Reading: Children of Poe, edited by Peter Straub
Writing: none, duh--that's why I'm blogging
Coffee units: 3
Noteworthy nibbles: veggie wraps with edamame and yogurt cheese.

So at some point in time, I kind of promised myself I would save Lohra and her friends. Her book is horribly damaged--absolute first-time-novelling crap--but I love Lohra and Tris and their entire posse of whacky guys. Imagining them dying an ignomious death at the bottom of my junk drawer just seems ... wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. I *have* to rewrite it.

But of course, I've hit page 80 and now I am panicking. Page 80 in this version? It's 197 in the original. That's 110 pages on the cutting room floor! Where am I going to get 90,000 words to put in this story? I'll be lucky to clear 50K! Oh my god, I think I might be hyperventilating.

Okay, relax, Wendy. You can do this. With an intervention from some gods and Starbucks, this book will happen. And it will be done. DONE.

Man, I just don't know if there's enough coffee in the world to succeed at this task!

Friday, May 08, 2009


Reading: Children of Poe, anthology
Writing/editing: still high from finishing a great story the night before last
Coffee units: 1, but more SOON
Noteworthy nibbles: smoothie!

I already feel productive this morning, since I hot-footed it down to the food co-op to pick up some donation items for our ZS raffle. It is so much fun to shop when you're not spending your own money! I almost blew all our dough on Sigg water bottles and vegan condoms, but I paced myself, and we have a few more dollars for the future.

I've got plenty of stuff left on my to-do list, but the sun is so cheery and it's warm and the birds are chirping and I'm distracted. There is nothing like Oregon spring to distract me from anthing I ought to be doing. Rewriting a novel? Loading the dishwasher? Catching up on a week of laundry? I have to admit, puttering in the garden or going for a walk sounds waaaay more exciting.

Also, I have to admit that after 30 Day of Night last night, I'm just pleased to live in a place that even has sunshine. I've never wanted to live in Barrow, Alaska, but that film certainly makes it look awful!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Day of the half-alive brain-dead

  • Reading: The Northwest Nature Guide, by James Luther Davis
  • Writing/editing: nada, but maybe a little Lohra action in a minute
  • Coffee units: 2
  • Noteworthy nibbles: orange creamsicle, hopefully to be followed soon by a strawberry popsicle.

Okay, so an orange creamsicle isn't exactly the healthy follow-up to lunch that I ought to be enjoying, but my throat is sore and I have no voice, so I'm indulging in all the cold slurpables I want. Take that, winter flu! (Still assuming this is the winter flu and not H1N1 or, in my personal opinion, The-Virus-of-Endless-Exhaustion.) Yeah, this flu business isn't helping my healthy eating or working out goals for the month. I spent 2 hours napping this morning.

That kind of lifestyle also doesn't help my writing output at all. It also doesn't help that post-kiddo-bedtime, my usual writing time, is the time when I sit here, drooling, half-asleep, barely able to type the words "the cat sat on the mat." The only thing I've successfully completed are Facebook quizzes. I am apparently Anne Shirley, the queen of the zombie killers, and I'll probably find out what element I am before the day is through.