Wednesday, March 28, 2012
So - remember Monday, when I told you I'd finalled in RWA's  Golden Heart®  Competition? Well, the judging was based on the first 50 pages of my manuscript, but I might have a chance to get my manuscript in front of some agents or editors, and they'll want to read the full novel.

Which means it needs to be polished...really polished.

And polishing takes a lot of time, so I'll be using my blogging time to focus on that for about a month, then I'll be back.

Perhaps I can convince Jason to post a few things, but until then, I'm offline. Of course, if you're an agent, please feel free to contact me. My contact details are located here. You can also visit my author page directly at http://lorendac.com


The Golden Heart emblem, found at rwa.org
Romance Writers of America® national website

Monday, March 26, 2012
This has nothing whatsoever to do with India, other than I wrote most of this book here in India, but I've just been named one of the finalists in the 2012 Golden Heart contest, which is Romance Writers of America's largest writing contest for unpublished authors. Very excited!

http://www.rwa.org/cs/2012_rita_and_gh_finalists#GHPARA 
Friday, March 23, 2012
Never say we didn't teach our children the important things in life. (BTW, they had a lot more trouble with this than I expected - thus the fingers)









Wednesday, March 21, 2012
..was a total bust. The boys and I picked up food at KFC, then stopped to get Jason so we could all go have a picnic at the park near daddy's office. I thought it would be fun, since we drive by it all the time, and it has one of the larger playsets for kids. But we got there, and saw this...

You'll note the parts that say the park is not open in the middle of the day, nor do they allow food and drink inside the park. Ooops.

Monday, March 19, 2012
I'm not really sure why, but it seems like every driver we've hired to take us somewhere (auto-rickshaw or taxi) likes to drive with less than a quarter tank of gas. I haven't made my observation a scientific study, but all the fuel gauges I've looked at are always firmly on the empty side. And the boys and I have actual spent a couple of afternoons on the side of the road for emergency rickshaw repair/fuel issues. Jason's been with us on the broken rickshaw, but the below is his first experience with the fuel problem. Luckily, there are a lot of nice people in India.

Friday, March 16, 2012
A few weeks back, Jason took us all out to eat at one of our "American" restaurants - Chilis. We were all sitting down, enjoying the music, which is primarily a mix of (somewhat) current rock and pop hits mixed with a few goodies from the 80's and 90's.

And then this came on.

It's good to know the most important parts of American culture are alive and well in India. I've decided this is the sole reason everyone here stares at us...it's not how we look - they're wondering how an entire country could at one point allow this song to hit the top of the charts. 
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Timothy experienced a "first" here in India - he lost a baby tooth yesterday!



And for all of you wondering, the Tooth Fairy does indeed visit India. Looks like the exchange rate is 100INR per tooth.

Monday, March 12, 2012
This past Wednesday, I had a very frightening experience at the mall, and I thought I would share.

For those of you who know me, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I like talking to people. I'll strike up a conversation with just about anyone. One of the best parts about actually looking like a foreigner is that people here assume I'm interesting and will strike up a conversation with me, instead of the other way around. I really enjoy it.

But after Wednesday, I'm not so sure.

I'd taken the boys to the Forum Mall in Koramangala to play in the children's play area adjacent to the food court. I sat down with my laptop, planning to take advantage of the hour and a half of peace and quiet. About ten minutes into my "break", a man asked whether he could sit down at my table. I, assuming he must be the father of one of the other children in the play area, said of course. I'd snagged one of the prime "kid watching" tables, it seemed only fair to share one of the other three chairs.

And here's where everything started going wrong. Instead of boring you with an enormous monologue detailing the "he said, she said", I thought I'd compile a list of appropriate and inappropriate actions while talking to a married American woman with two children. Hopefully it will give you some insight into the (American) female mind.

The DO's

DO ask general questions like "Where are you from?" or "How do you like Bangalore?" I'm fully aware I'm WAY too pale-skinned to pass for an Indian native. I won't take offense at your assumption, and I'll gladly answer your questions. That's essentially what I'm sharing here on the blog.

DO feel free to make observations about me. "You have a funny accent." or "You must be new here." Again, stating the obvious will not anger me, so long as you don't mention my weight or my not-so-clear skin. Even my husband gets in trouble for that one.

DO ask about my family. I love my kids, and when they're right next to me, separated only by a thin sheet of glass, it's perfectly appropriate to ask what grade or how old they are. I can talk about them forever. This is especially great if you have children to gush about. I'm not ashamed to say I carry photos on my cell phone in hopes someone will instigate a brag-fest

DO suggest places or things I need to try. There's nothing better getting recommendations from the experts.

The DO NOTS

DO NOT invade my personal space without my permission. I'll admit, I'm an overweight mother of two. I've been out of the dating game for over eight years now, so I'm probably not the person to give advice on flirting. But just assume that if the girl mentions her boyfriend or husband, she's probably not "secretly" asking you to run your finger up her arm. Americans as a rule tend to expect a little more distance between each other when speaking, especially with strangers. When in doubt, back up.

DO NOT wax poetic about how beautiful my eyes are - especially if I've already mentioned a husband or boyfriend. Do not assume that when I jerked my arm out of your finger's reach; that was secret code for "please tuck my hair behind my ear for me"

DO NOT ignore all other physical cues (flattening myself against a wall to get away from your fingers, complete lack of eye contact, broad hints that I need to get back to work) and try to share not only my table, but my seat. I do not want you to sit in my lap.

DO NOT follow me to another table if I move, especially if I actually say the words "I want you to leave me alone." If you hear these words, the appropriate response is an immediate retreat.

The REALLY, SERIOUSLY, DON'T GO THERE

DO NOT run your finger across the tops of my breasts pointing out moles, and commenting about how gorgeous they are. First of all, ew, and second - NEVER touch a girl's boobs in public. I don't care whether you can see my navel because my shirt's too short and you're too tall. Consider them wet paint.

DO NOT assume that I want you to put your cell phone number in my phone while I'm checking on my children. I did not teach Tyler to cry on command so you would have time to do this AND get my phone number. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say you shouldn't even have your eyes on the screen of my phone or laptop at any time, unless I am holding it up to your eyes. DON'T, JUST DON'T

DO NOT ask me to kiss you before I leave. If I'm to the point of exiting the building to get away from you, I'm not in the mood for a European greeting or goodbye. I'm an American - we don't even use lip gloss after each other, we especially do not kiss strangers - especially stalker strangers.

The I THINK YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP

DO NOT pluck a stray hair from my shirt, comment on how pretty it is, and then stick it in your pocket.

The I THINK I NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP

DO NOT follow me all the way out to the auto-rickshaw stand when I am trying to get myself and my children away from you. At this point, I have no problem finding a friendly (not creepy) security guard and asking him to detain you. I'm a stay-at-home mother - I've got the time to fill out a lot of paperwork if necessary.

The I WILL KILL YOU AND HAVE NO GUILT

NEVER touch my children. EVER.


Special Thanks to Andy (and Ludacris) for my new theme song.





Friday, March 9, 2012
Tyler, getting a free ride. On his own bike. :)


Thursday, March 8, 2012
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi

I'll likely have pictures later.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
So remember the post I did on the boards listing traffic accidents? Of course you do, because you clicked the link. Well, my mother-in-law's camera was far superior to mine, so here is a better picture.


When I mentioned this sign to Jason and commented about how these deaths and injuries seemed excessive, he pointed out another sign closer to the Forum Mall and asked "Isn't this for a different police station than the one you took a picture of [near Sony World]?"

If so, good grief. Sony World is maybe 15 minutes from the Forum Mall. So the area this station covered was much smaller than I first assumed. Which makes the statistics even more alarming.

I was talking to someone here in Bangalore, and asked about safety on an unrelated subject. They responded, with all seriousness, "Oh, yes, it's very safe. Just like crossing the street." I laughed and told them that to an American, crossing the street isn't safe at all.

And yes, I tagged this as medical, because 'ya know, I'm starting to think half of India's medical economy relies on traffic accidents.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Actually, it feels closer to summer. My poor body can't decide what's going on. We left a very chilly, snowy Oklahoma, and set foot in Bangalore's tropical heat. I've been back over two weeks now and I still haven't fully adjusted.

But that's not the case with the flowers. Bangalore is in full bloom!





Friday, March 2, 2012
I may have mentioned at one point that my youngest is not yet potty-trained. Much of this is my fault. For some strange reason, he had no problems at all cleaning himself up after the fact in our bathroom in India. If I ever need a lesson on how to use the Indian bidet wand, I'm going to him. He's a pro.

But I'm happy to announce that the brain switch finally flipped, and the pottytraining lightbulb came on while we were back in Oklahoma visiting family. My sister helped me make a shirt to commemorate the event. 

And yes, he wears it proudly. I think I can start a new fad. I mean, t-shirts with Angry Birds are everywhere, how much stranger can shirts with toilets be?


Thursday, March 1, 2012
As I've mentioned earlier, my mother-in-law got the opportunity to come and see our "digs" in India. So we did what we could to give her a whirlwind tour of our tiny slice of Bangalore. First stop? The Forum Mall.

Jason decided to take us to the Mall's branch of Sahib Sindh Sultan, a North Indian restaurant. You walk in the door, and, in the dead center of the restaurant, is an enormous train. Very cool. The menu was huge, and there were so many things I had never even heard of, much less pronounce. But our servers were helpful, and soon we were swimming in food.

And they've changed my mind. Had you asked me before the trip which food I preferred, North or South Indian, I would have said South. But this stuff was GOOD. Spicy, but good.

Next time we go (and yes, there will be a next time), I'll try and get a photo of the menu. Yum!
I should probably mention: I'm shamelessly stealing my MIL's photos. This is a shot of Jason and I attempting to choose from the menu. We are sitting in the train car.

Timothy and a view "out" the train window at some of the other restaurant seating.

One of our waiters. Some were dressed in old military style suits, and some like the above.

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