Tag Archives: tv

A Lion’s Tale

ImageOnce upon a time I read a study on why guys are so aggressive with remote controls. The study said it was because guys are lions. Since then when DH flips channels too far and the TV gets stuck in no man’s land and we have to turn everything off to get it back, I nod my head and think, “Yeah. Lion.”

That’s what I say about his aggressive driving, too. Honestly he’s a great driver. WAY too aggressive…I mean, Dallas aggressive, which would be fine if we lived in Dallas, but we live in Wichita Falls where everything is 15 minutes away unless you get stuck at the light at our corner in which case you can add 15 minutes to your travel time because that light sucks…but yeah, way too aggressive. And I just sigh to myself and say “Lion.” Okay. That’s a lie. I sigh quite loudly and grumble “LI-ON!” and it doesn’t change anything because that’s just the way he is which is okay most of the time unless we’re on Kemp Street on a Saturday and I wonder of we’re going to live because OHMYGOD there are too freaking many lions on the street on Saturdays in Wichita Falls.

Today we were on Kemp Street. On a Saturday.

We didn’t have a choice. The furniture stores are on that street.

And the lion in my life needed a new chair because the old one was kaput.

The good news: We lived.

And we got the new chair.

I thought it was for him. Now, I’m not so sure:Image

I love my lion. And the dog who USED to be mine. ❤

Dear Summer 2013 #MyWANA

Ross Castle, Killarney IrelandI loved you. You were a life-changing summer.

I started in Ireland, the most beautiful place on earth, ended at the computer writing and designing book covers and formatting books so everyone has access to the Mary Beth Lee and Liz Lee books, not just kindle owners.

I survived the summer cold from hell, discovered Zeal, spent July in yearbook camps, said goodbye to a fellow J-adviser who’s retiring after 31 years in the district.

I found a new favorite author: Sarah MacLean <3, finished Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series and reread the SEP books I love so much.

I re-embraced Pilates since it helps with the pain caused by the purse and fall-inflicted shoulder injury AND I learned the chiropractor hurts like heck, but makes the pain better eventually.

I wrote and wrote and wrote some more and edited and edited and edited some more and had a blast with Mom and Dad and learned to play dominoes with an ancient set of the game that had been in the bottom of our game closet in the old house.

I rediscovered the anxiety of an empty nest and the joy, too. And learned that blue sticky tack is from hell.

I lost big at poker, but decided the stop at Fischer’s in Muenster was worth it.

I fell more in love with the dog and she fell more in love with me. There’s a chance this is a codependent relationship. We’ll see when school starts Monday.

I slept in late and stayed up late working on books and maintained the weight loss from last year and stuck with the low carb lifestyle.

I had a blast writing the third Sharlene Gallagher book and rewriting To Trust a Prince. I coveted Karen Kelley’s new RV and decided one day DH and I would have one, too.

Thanks to DD’s insistence I finally saw Pitch Perfect and learned to my surprise that no, it’s NOT a baseball movie. I saw I Love You Man and laughed and laughed and laughed some more. And I started Scandal. Wow. Just wow. Shonda Rhimes is a genius.

You were a great summer. I’ll miss you. But it’s time to restart the day job. I love it, even though it’s frustrating some times…especially these days when the powers that be, people who aren’t in classrooms or campus admin jobs, keep asking for more and more and more to the point that effectiveness suffers system wide, but as a former principal told me once: you do what you can do. That’s my non-summer goal for the day job this year. Do what I can do. And try to continue last year’s “keep in positive” goal by focusing on the good part of the job: the students.

Goodbye summer. I’ll miss you. xoxo


I Remember, but I wish I didn’t

I remember 9/11.
I can see it as clearly as if I were standing in the newsroom with my students– on the phone with my husband telling me to turn the channel to MSNBC because something had happened at the Twin Towers. I can relive every moment as my class watched in horror as the second plane crashed intentionally into the second tower. We didn’t stop watching.

When I got home, I kept the TV on. I didn’t turn the TV off for a week. Not for a second. Every night I tried to sleep, but the news was on. Always.
As I prayed and asked God for a miracle.
That someone would be alive.

I didn’t know a single person in New York or D.C. that day, but it felt like every person interviewed was a neighbor. I watched, stunned, as day after day after day people who lost loved ones were interviewed.

When the news started playing the voice mails left behind by people who never made it home, I cried.

About three months after 9/11, I stopped sleeping through the night.

I’d fall asleep and then wake up catching my breath, sure something horrible had happened to my daughter. I’d have to walk into her room and make sure she was okay.
Once she stayed the night with my parents and I had to call at 2 a.m. to make sure she was alive. My mom laughed and told me of course things were fine. I laughed, too. But inside, I wondered if I was going crazy.

Finally, at a doctor’s appointment in January, I told my family practitioner what was going on. I whispered the words because it took everything in me to make myself speak. I was terrified of what was wrong with me.

The doctor listened to me and then asked me about my 9/11 experience. I brushed her question off quickly.

9/11 experience? I didn’t have a 9/11 experience. The people with loved ones in New York and D.C., with family members in the military, with friends who served as police and firefighters…THEY had a 9/11 experience. I was a passive bystander in every way other than the night we went to church and prayed.

I explained this to the doctor and she didn’t say anything while I talked. When I was done, she asked if I watched the events on TV. I’m addicted to the news. I not only watched it on TV, I accessed it online. It consumed my life outside of work for several days. I wasn’t alone. Everyone I knew stayed glued to the news those first weeks after.

My doctor nodded and then explained that I was suffering from panic attacks. That the panic attacks could be from a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by my non-stop news viewing. She prescribed an anti-depressant, told me to take it until I felt I could try to go without.

I took the medicine for a few months. It worked. I got better.

I thought it was over. Until this anniversary of the day that changed our lives in so many ways. The news is covering the horrors of that day again and again. You can’t flip channels without seeing the Towers fall. I want to watch Toddlers and Tiaras and Housewives and What Not to Wear and Food Network. Anything to NOT see a replay of those days. And THAT makes me feel even worse.  I can sink into mindless TV and ignore a day that shouldn’t be ignored and so very many people can’t because while my problem was caused by non-stop news, they lost people they loved and cherished.

I feel unpatriotic. I say the Pledge every day at school. I support the troops and say prayers for those in harm’s way. I don’t want us to forget what happened because if we do, it will happen again and again and again, and God knows, we need to do everything in our power to keep that from happening.

But I don’t want to watch the horrors of those days replayed again and again on cable news networks with ridiculous headlines like WHAT IF IT HADN’T HAPPENED? New flash. There is no what if. IT HAPPENED.

So while this is the decade anniversary of the most horrifying day in my memory, I won’t be watching the news. I don’t need to see it, hear it, read it. I don’t need to because if I’m not careful, when I close my eyes, I can’t make it go away.


Happy Independence Day and Week 4 Fail

Happy July 4. We had an amazing service at church yesterday about the founding fathers and the US ties to God. It was fabulous! God Bless the USA. And a HUGE thank you to every person who has ever served protecting our freedoms.

Now on to the fail:
It started with the newspaper. The plan, hit the headlines and off the computer.

The reality; trn–dmn–cnn–msnbc–perez–eonline–people. One hour later, I looked up and groaned

It didn’t stop there.

I read and read and read some more.

Not books, but still. And then I watched a Lifetime movie and a Disney movie.

At 9:30 I’d written 1000 words. 4k under yesterday, a non-reading day.

Back to square one on reading deprivation. MAN, it’s hard!!!

What is it about Buffy?

1. She’s tough, and she’s unapologetic about that toughness.
2. She’s a girl, and she’s unapologetic about that, too.
3. She says the best stuff. Kudos to the writers for that one.
4. She’s saving the world. Good vs. Evil, and if the wrong team wins, humanity ceases to exist.
5. Angel and Spike. No explanation needed.
6. It’s impossible for it to be true, but I forget that the whole time I’m watching.
7. She has best friends, and they are awesome.
8. Vampires. Even though I’m kind of tired of vampires everywhere else, I still love them on Buffy. And Dark Shadows, but that’s a different post.
9. Romance. 🙂
10. Buffy wants to be a normal girl, but she understands that’s impossible. She embraces her slayer self even as she wars with it.

This is the tip of the iceberg. There are the ties to the goddess, mythology, strong character stories, dialogue, lack of cheerleading ability, crazy fellow slayers, dopplegangers, fake Buffy’s, secret sisters. It’s everything that is good about teen targeted TV, and I love it.
Glad I got to spend two hours with two of my favorite episodes last night: Becoming Part 1 and 2. So good!!!!

The Nellie Oleson Factor

When I was a kid I read and watched Little House constantly. I loved to hate Nellie Oleson. To be honest, I wasn’t all that happy when they reformed Nellie and made her into a nice person on the show.
Nellie was the perfect villain. Only she was a kid, so she got away with being awful without us holding her too responsible for the outcomes of her actions.
Cordelia on Buffy was a Nellie Oleson first season.
Mean Girls, yep, Nellie Olesons.
In Honor and Lies Savannah is somewhat of a Nellie Oleson. She’s the main secondary character, but she’s not really likable. In fact, she more than the villain, Miss Celinda, stands in the way of Sissy’s quest.
Sometimes people ask why I let Savannah be so unheroic.
It’s funny because when I first started writing Honor and Lies, Sissy and Savannah were one and the same. I wanted them both to be heros. It wasn’t possible. I tried to make Savannah someone the reader could route for even though she’s such a snot at times. She’s a product of her environment, she’s protected and coddled, and in the end, she’s shocked by the realities of the world she lives in. I hope the reader can have more empathy for Savannah than I ever did for Nellie Oleson.


Watching the long lines of Syrian protestors from the safety of my living room TV, I can’t help but wonder if I’d ever be that brave.
These people know soldiers will fire on them. They know hundreds if not thousands of their fellow countrymen have already died. And yet, they still make their way to the streets where they march in non-violent protests of a government regime they feel is corrupt.
Pictures of torture inflicted on young protestors caught and then murdered break my heart.
I don’t know anyone in Syria, and yet, I watch.
I’ve been watching for months, ever since the Egyptians took to the streets to protest Mubarak. Or really, I’ve been watching for a couple of years off and on, since the protestors started marching in Iran.
The Syrian government’s response is something different, something horrible. Nightmarish.
And yet, the protestors continue to march.
And as they march I wonder WOULD I?
Would I be brave enough to defy an authority that has no problem mowing down scores of people in cold blood? Would I be there day after day crying out for freedom, hoping the world would see me, knowing every second there’s a chance my death could be seconds away?
I ask myself the same thing when I read my bible. The martyrs through the ages continued to preach the gospel even when faced with death for doing so.
It’s easy to organize protest rallies in Wichita Falls where the most danger you find is from some angry man who wonders why everyone is being so nice.
It’s easy to show a belief in God and Jesus and profess christianity in Wichita Falls where the most dissent you find is from atheists who feel christianity is filled with hypocrisy and judgment. It’s especially since 90% of the people in the area are christians.
I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to fight for freedom in the face of death. But I sure am glad the news is showing people who are. Those people challenge me. I hope if I’m ever confronted with the reality of what that kind of bravery takes I’ll be able to say yes, I AM THAT BRAVE. I’m afraid my answer would be no, leave me alone.

Honor and Lies barely touches on the kind of bravery it took for the slaves of the south to run for freedom, but it’s there, especially in the character of James. I remember studying about the Underground Railroad in school and thinking how terrifying it must have been to leave the atrocities you know for the unknown that is freedom. I wondered then if I would be brave enough to take the risk when often that choice ended in death.  Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z.

Elizabeth Lee’s Smashwords Author Profile:http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/elizabethlee
Book page to sample or purchase Honor and Lies: http://smashwords.com/b/65497

Desperate TV

I love Desperate Housewives. Even though my mom constantly sends me e-mails about how horrible it is for my mind, I love it. It makes me laugh. It makes me cry. It is AWESOME! I don’t know what about it draws me. It’s over the top and totally believable at the same time. The characters are so real. I feel like I know these people.
I want that in my books and I don’t know how to get it. I guess by writing more, by getting to know my characters more, by paying more attention.
More attention like Kelly Armstrong did in Bitten. I read the book this weekend after hearing tons about it and Dime Store Magic. The book disturbed me. It was so dark. I felt so bad for the heroine. But I couldn’t stop reading. I HAD to know what happened and who the bad guys were. I don’t usually get into books like this. When my students asked me what I was reading, I heard myself saying, “Well, it’s this murder mystery only the heroine is a werewolf and her pack is under attack,” and I was a little shocked I was reading the book. I read Karen Whiddon’s werewolf book and loved it, but it was WAY tame compared to this. I read the Anita Blake series until Anita lost her humanity. I LOVED that series, but when Anita lost her humanity it made me too sad to continue reading her stories. My friends say I take things too seriously. I guess I do. I loved Anita because she was both light and dark, good and evil. but the evil was always motivated. She finally got to the point that the light had to go away. I respect that LKH stayed true to her character, I just can’t read her anymore. But that’s okay because LOTS of other people do. And they love her.
I hope people will one day love my characters. That they’ll feel like they know them. That they’ll mourn if I change them into someone they can no longer read. I want to write powerful stories that move people. I guess that starts with me making the commitment to sit at the computer and create stories. It’s a commitment I used to have no problem making. Today I sit at the computer and think about writing and go hang out on bulletin boards or e-mail instead. I don’t know why. But I do know it’s a choice. I can continue to read great books and watch great TV and talk about how I want to do that one day or I can read great books, watch great TV and sit down at the computer and DO THAT TODAY!
It’s just like anything else. There’s no magic, no secret. Sit down and work.


So today I was complaining about never having time to write. Problem: I was complaining on one of the Internet boards I mess around on. By the time I was done playing around online 30 minutes had gone by and the only thing I’d written was a gripe about book prices, a gripe about no time to write, and a couple of my favorite TV show names.
Not good.
Definitely not good.
It made me realize how important balancing time to write is. I have to do it. And there’s plenty of time to schedule it in. But I’ve got to make the choice to 1.) TURN OFF THE TV 2.) Get off the Internet 3.) Put away the great books I’m reading. Those three things are killing me where writing time’s concerned.
I’m never going to be one of those writers who doesn’t read because I’m totally addicted to reading. But I don’t have to read as much as I’m reading. And I can use my good books as incentive to write some of my own.

UIL meets this weekend. Off on another trip with teenagers. Hope we win. I ought to find some time to write this weekend for sure.

So Sad!

Being a journalism teacher has its ups. Today was a down. We watched the unfolding story of the girl in Tyler who was abducted after leaving her Wal-Mart job. SOOOOOO Sad! When they broke the news that the man who’d kidnapped her had been found shot, my students hoped the girl had shot him. Then they broke the news that they’d found her body. 😦 Very sad. We probably should have turned off the TV. Sometimes watching the live coverage isn’t the best way to teach news. But once the story broke we wanted to know what happened. Even though we knew it wasn’t going to end in happily ever after, we wanted to know. It’s a topic for discussion later. What is it that makes us keep watching even when the outcome is so bad? But it wasn’t a topic for discussion today.