Friday, January 19, 2007

Mind your Manor

So my friend Michelle recently moved from our highly "safe" and suburban area of just-south-of-Nashville to the well-known "hood". Not the technical hood, per se, but the scariest hood that people choose to move into. The Safe Ghetto, if you will. I pleaded with her to stay with me in the Safe Zone of Suburbia......but she wouldn't have it. She packed her dogs and her Friends DVDs and dove right into the colorful world of East Nashville. I told her she should beware of drive-by shootings and crack houses. I told her if she wanted to spend the night in a gun-free/drug-free zone, she could come and stay with me. That I live in the safe part of our fair urban sprawl. That I have nothing to fear.


One night in December Ryan and I were taking Minnie for a walk and wondering aloud how many inflatables and light-up nativities The Neighbors had up in their yard. (Remember THIS?) As we were walking over to find out, we could see a red glow coming from in between the houses on our street. "Good Grief!" I said. "They've really done it up this year!"


We walked around the corner and saw that the red glow was coming from an ambulance. And a fire truck. And two police cars - one of which had a guilt ridden perpetrator in the back seat....HANDCUFFED. The blinds in the house where the cops were "investigating" were all terribly askew. "Domestic", I said. "Hmmm", Ryan said. Secretly I thought.....I'm supposed to be living in Safeland U.S.A. and people are getting arrested one street over? ONE STREET OVER?


Today Ryan called me as he was walking Minnie and informed me that the house a few doors down was surrounded with FIVE police cars and they were searching a white truck parked out front. Drugs? Maybe. Stolen? Could be. Unsettling? UH-HUH!


I think we need to officially change the name of our house from Illingworth Manor to:

Da Illingworth Crib.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Method to My Madness

I've passed these products about a million times in Target without ever taking the time to notice. I thought they were Target branded cleaning supplies....and while I'm certainly a Target Whore to the Utmost...I never gave them a second thought. I figured it wasn't wise to skimp on things that clean and deodorize. Then I read an article in Relevant about how we're slowly killing the earth and ourselves and innocent puppies what with our harsh chemicals and scrubbing bubbles...and how Method Cleaning products are made with natural ingredients...with no chemicals made in factories...or something equally as PETA-ish. So, racked with guilt, I started recycling all my Diet Coke cans and bought some Method wipes and shower cleaner and all-purpose cleaner. And I felt pretty good about myself. Look at me! Saving Mother Earth!

But here's the part you didn't know.

THESE PRODUCTS SMELL TERRIFIC. They made my bathroom sink sparkle! They made my toilet smell fresh! Yes! I smelled my toilet! Method makes me WANT to clean my bathrooms every day just to inhale the environmentally-friendly-non-fumes. And people....ain't nuthin makes me want to clean my bathrooms. Not even when it's downright offensive. Not even when the layers of dirt and soap scum are in an all out war with each other. Not even when the sink is a lumpy bowl of ewww because of all the toothpaste globs. Not even when Ryan notices.

In short, I hate cleaning the bathroom.

But that Method has changed my life....I shall wear Birkenstocks and make my own granola and change my name to Rainbow of Sunshine Illingworth.

P.S. Do not read the below if you haven't seen the Golden Globes or the premier of 24. And if you haven't seen the premier of 24 - WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, I ASK YOU.

Biggest TV surprises last night:
1. That Jack shot Curtis....IN THE NECK. Couldn't he just shoot him in the arm or something? What's with the homicidal rage? However, I do not think Curtis is dead. I also do not think Tony Almeda is dead. We'll see him again.
2. The nuke.....went off. IT WENT OFF.
3. Borat is surprisingly handsome when being a semi-normal person.
4. Grey's Anatomy beat 24 and Heroes. Whaaaa???

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This Year I'm Going as a Big Time Author

Several weeks ago I was talking with a guy in my office and he mentioned that he had heard a rumor that I wrote a book. Indeed, I said, I did. He asked a few questions about it and then asked the obvious...are you going to write another one? I then explained that I wrote a new manuscript and right about the same time I turned it in my publisher dumped me. Man, I loved telling that story again. Guy at Work mentioned that he knew a agent. Ok, I said. I could contact him for you, he said. Ok, I said. Given the amount of disappointment I've been through this year...I wasn't expecting much. I figured Guy at Work would forget he even mentioned it. But he didn't. Several weeks later he copied me on an email exchange between he and The Agent. Guy at Work had emailed The Agent and said lots of nice things about me - which surprised me. The Agent emailed back saying he'd be willing to talk to me - which surprised me more.

I should say - The Agent is pretty much the agent of the least as far as Christian authors go. There is not one reason I can see that he would ever feel any need whatsoever to talk to little 'ole me. Author of One Book that Failed. But today, The Agent to the Stars, emailed me and said he was in town...and wanted to meet. Me. He wanted to meet me. Ok, I said.

Soooo....The Agent came to my office. We talked for an hour. He gave me loads of advice and insight and at one point he said, "I read your book excerpt on and I really enjoyed it....I saw some talent there". (Huh?) Then he said, "I'd like for you to send me and my partner a copy of your first book and a copy of your working manuscript...then we can go from there". (Whaaa?) I tried to act cool and nonchalant, like this news had no effect on me. But it made me want to vomit.

I have a hard time thinking of myself as an "author". Sometimes my friends will introduce me to someone new as JoAnna the Author and it makes me feel ridiculous. Like Dwight Schrute telling people he's the Assistant Regional Manager. Like it's my Halloween costume. There I was, talking to an agent who works with giant talents, feeling like my cover was about to be blown.

By the way - I told this man, this man who could quite literally change my writing hobby into a writing career.....that I based a lot of my story line on the book of Habakkuk. That I did hours of research on Habakkuk and wrote for hours and hours about Habakkuk. That me and Habakkuk....we were tight. Then, after The Agent I looked through my manuscript before I emailed it to him....I saw it.

My book is based on Hosea.

I am SO landing this deal.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Happy Crowded

For 31 years I slept alone. All by my lonesome in a big bed just for me. I had all the covers to myself, all the pillows. I could toss and turn and move this way and that. I could do the splits if I wanted. Snore. Drool. Eat crackers. Watch late night informercials. Read. I'm a person who loves to sleep....loves to I've always taken great pains to make the most comfortable bed situation possible. I was reminded of my 31 years of vast-bed-space-all-to-myself this morning at 3am when a wet dog nose was burrowing into my side. And an elbow of a husband was flung perilously close to my left eyeball. And Minnie was stealing ALL of the covers. I was shivering and squished and annoyed and 3am.



I don't mind. Even though I now have to constantly tug at the covers, keep my arms and legs to myself, sleep with a dog who wakes up 30 times a night to walk around the bed to find a new spot and next to a husband who gets too hot if any part of my body touches him....I don't mind. Now when I am startled awake from a nightmare, I'm not alone. Now when there's creepy noises outside, I'm not alone. Now when I've had a bad day and things have escalated to end of the day tears....I am not alone. Now I have my family surrounding me.

My little family. All in one bed.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Is This Thing On?

So my friend Kelley went to Open Mic night the other week to see an old family friend do his undiscovered talent thang the way only young, single Nashville transplants with a guitar and a dream can do. She hadn't seen this particular old family friend in a month of Sundays and was excited to support and maybe catch up. She went alone* and upon walking into the dimly lit bar had to take a moment to gain her night vision. Upon acclimating, she realized she had been inadvertantly staring intently at a young upstart at the bar. He asked her to sit down. She awkwardly did. She then ordered a beer. Young Upstart then said "You know, I would have bought you that beer but I paid my utilities today."

*Note: Kelley is the only friend I have who can work a room like no other and yet maintain a close friendship with everyone in that room. Sincerely. And she traveled Europe. Alone. In short.....ain't no party like a party with Kelley cause a party with Kelley don't stop.

Later Young Upstart (you saw this one coming) left the bar stool to go perform his own catalog of songs. He asked Kelley if she was going to stick around.
"Errr....ummmm, " she said.

Then even later...after learning that Kelley works for a Certain Record Company, Young Upstart gave her his demo and business card. He then said the following - "You'll have to open the files on this won't be able to play them in your car. Oh...and I put my business card in there. Give me a call sometime and we can go to lunch." He also asked for her number and she said, "Ummm, that's not how it works. My name is Kelley....if you want to call me you can figure it out."

Oh young, male wild and desperate you are.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

2006 No More

I've been thinking about writing the obvious It's-A-New-Year post where I cherish the past and predict the future chock full of obvious resolutions (Lose Weight! Save Money!) and positivity out the wazoo. Truth is...I haven't been able to formulate a thought in my head let alone put one in print. 2006 was......crap. Start to finish.



I was looking forward to 2007 with an obvious desperation. Counting on it to be better. Depending on it....because 2006 Volume 2 is not an option for me. I can't take one more minute of 2006. In short, I AM OVER 2006. I am over TMC and doctors and job stress and family drama and car troubles and friends losing loved ones and prescriptions and physical therapy and sick friends and muddy paw prints and on and on. And on. I thought Christmas would be the beginning of the end of Terrible 2006....but over Christmas we lost two family dogs. Did you hear me?


Minnie is still with us, thank the Lord, but to say that losing the other dogs was sad is a gross understatement. Ryan and I had a long talk with Minnie and told her that she's not allowed to die. Ever.

And so....I'm begging you good to me. GOOD to me. I need a break. A pass. A jackpot. Something.

Let's take a moment to remember Foxy and Tess. They were both loved deeply.

Here's Tess...the Illingworth family dog and Ryan's dog since he was 10 years old.

And here's parents' dog and Minnie's friend.
Foxy the Dog
Minnie and Foxy 5

They will both be terribly missed.