Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Updates Galore!

Two things.

One, I worked out yesterday for the first time in months because I refuse to keep buying pants larger than those now on my person, and at this very moment my right hip feels as if it may fall off, may completely detach itself from my body, and what a relief that would be. My torso feels as if it’s been stretched on the rack, and that’s not too far from the truth. Because I broke down and actually purchased the self-contained, boxed fitness system created by The Firm. If you’re familiar with the system, you’ll know that it contains a stepping / torture device known as “The TransFIRMer.”

I love that. It almost makes up for my inability to sit upright today. The only way it would be better is if they'd called it "The FIRMster."

Two, I finished my revisions and spoke with my editor last week, and it appears the publication of Riding with Larry Resnick may be moved to spring of 2008. In the meantime, I will be working on the next book and freaking out about a wide variety of things that will likely provide good blogging fodder.

I hope.

So I’m currently sporting ill-fitting shorts (that I hope the TransFIRMer will eventually make somewhat less ill-fitting) as well as mixed emotions about the delay in my book’s release. But as a baby amoeba in the publishing pond, I am trusting in the literary powers that be. Neurotic, compulsively sharing* mess that I am, I’m sure I’ll keep you posted on the developments. But in the meantime, let the navel-gazing continue!

Actually, I can’t bend my neck to look at my navel right now.

Tonight, I travel to Milwaukee for dinner with my sister and later, my first work-related meeting in months. The first fact makes me smile and the second, well, it makes me frown in a slight way that tells you two things: a) I’m not so thrilled about working during my time off and b) I’m grateful to have this job at all. So, it’s kind of a reluctant grimace.

Also, this weekend we’re building our garage with help from my industrious and gracious in-laws and two of J’s burliest friends. I’ll be the one taking pictures, making snacks for everyone, and saying, “Boy! You guys sure are working hard!” every fifteen minutes.

It’s also my mom’s birthday this weekend. What to buy the woman that brought me into the world, two weeks late and ornery as hell, and actually speaks to me today despite the hormone-addled ogre I became between the ages of 13 and 16? Hmmmm…something tells me a fart machine just won’t cut it.

My mom is extremely practical. When asked what she’d like for Christmas one year, she actually replied, “Oh, I don’t know. A pot holder?”

So I got her a framed black and white print of a solitary tree in a snow-covered field. Unfortunately, I glued my bows on the wrapped package with some kind of industrial adhesive that leached through the paper and left unattractive scuffs on the picture beneath. My mom hung it on the wall anyway, which is a testament to her awesomeness. Plus, she still displays a bunch of crap I painted back in 1984: faceless ceramic Amish kids sitting on a bench, a quilted bear (also ceramic), an apple crate lid with a wooden goose, half-basket of dried flowers, and wooden “Country!” logo all glued on in an approximation of lameness, and an acrylic painting of more faceless Amish kids on a beach, feet buried in the sand and hands in pockets because, as I have limited skills in the visual art arena, I can't paint feet and hands. Talk about your cowsuckers!

Anyway, I’m open to suggestion, if you have any. A gift more impressive than those given by my siblings is a plus.

*As evidenced by the “My dad calls you a Polack!” phone greeting of my youth.


  1. I am terrible at gift giving but I did want to say that I'm sad to hear about the book delay. :(

    And I knew a woman who lost 60 lbs doing those at home work outs (including The Firm). And I actually knew her, she was my neighbor. Seriously. 60 lbs!

  2. Ok, now that I'm done weeping because of the delay, I am comforting myself with the fact that there should be more posts to tide me over. I can't help you with the gift thing, unfortunately, as I am a hopeless gift giver. Sounds to me like she's in desparate need of a handpainted coffee mug, though.

  3. As a mom, I can say that there is no more precious gift than getting a nice long letter from my kids. THey're still little, but I imagine that many years from now I'll still save anything they give me that tells me of them.

    You're a writer, you can figure out HOW to write it, but I'd suggest you do. Even if you've done it before.

  4. You don't want advice from me about gift giving. With the invention of gift cards my creativity with gifts went right out the window.

    You can get your mom her own TransFIRMer. See? I told you I suck at gifts.

  5. Best gift I can think of is a day with her daughter. Take her to a movie, or a play if that's her thing....lunch, a glass of wine...I know I would love that. :)

  6. Awwww ... 2008?? That sucks. But timing is everything, so maybe it'll work out better in the long run.

  7. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Why the delay? WHY?

    Kyle is a much better gift-giver than I am, and he tends to give based on people's vices (the legal ones, of course). Does your mother have any guilty pleasures in which she rarely indulges? Like spa outings, Godiva chocolates, fancy dinners, cases of wine? Tickets are also good - theater, symphony, opera, even sports if that's her thing.

  8. I am the worst gift giver on the planet! Can you say, "gift card"?

    congrats on finishing the revisions on your book!

  9. Anonymous11:39 AM

    I'm with Melanie on the gift cards--especially for things that can be bought via catalog or online. But is that more impressive than what your sibs might give? Because that's what REALLY matters.

    BTW, don't feel bad about the Bratz doll. Sometimes a kid needs to get what they asked for. I didn't get the kids' blender that I asked for and have never forgotten it. I wonder if my love of margaritas can be attributed to that unfulfilled Christmas wish. . .

  10. get her high and wasted... my mom seems to enjoy it. ;)

  11. I use The Firm off and on. I have to really motivate myself to do it, plus find the time since the workouts are pretty long.

    You might have a newer version than me though. I have the steps, but I never heard to them referred to as the TransFirmer.

    All I know is that no matter what I do, I never manage to get as firm as I want to be.:(

  12. Anonymous6:42 PM

    How about a gift cert. to a spa that she could use for mani/pedi or massage?

    Or what about a musical box set of something she would enjoy? Carly Simon is usually a hit with her generation (I love her too, so really she transends age barriers. I would reccomend Anthology a two disc set that kicks butt)

  13. Anonymous9:54 PM

    ooooh a day with your mum is the best gift. A spa day perhaps? How could she not love your company and pretty toes?

  14. Anonymous11:29 PM

    uummm...what to give? a chunk of plaster with your handprints imprinted in it?

  15. TransFIRMer....I could use me one of those! :0 Just the name makes me sweat.
    I like the spa idea.

  16. Oh, man! We have to wait till '08?! I don't think I can make it that long!!! Thank God you have a blog.

    And I can't believe you were here in my town Tuesday night. Hope you had a great dinner, wherever you were.

    Here's a gift suggestion: I bought my hubby a digital photo frame. You take digital photo card, fill it with digital photos and put it in the frame and then you have a cool, little slide show. He LOVES it and everyone in his office thinks it's really cool. I'd love to get one for my parents.

    Just stopping by to say hi Jess. Have a great day!

  17. don't forget to stretch! (you know, before and after your workout) - you're probably like, "Kevin, shut the hell up."

    I buy my parents tickets to shows, either stage plays, or the orchestra and if I'm back in Ohio when the event is happening, Will and I take them to dinner, then to a performance. If we're not there ('cause we live so damn far away) I buy my brother and his wife tickets to go too, that way they can enjoy it with some company. They wouldn't do it otherwise, so it's kind of a good excuse.

    Hope it helps!

    and stretch, damn it, stretch!
    okay, i'll shut up now.

  18. Don't worry about Mom's present. Even the Fart Machine or the Pot Holder will at least let her know YOU CARE! ~ jb///

  19. Anonymous11:49 PM

    The FIRMster..FIRMster making abs...FIRMster, FIRMsterrama...


    Gifts....hmm, perhaps something with an Ammish theme?

  20. Your mom sounds awesome.

  21. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Sorry about the book publishing delay. It should create less of a space between Riding and your new book, though, when that comes out, so that could be good for publicity. Your Firminator story reminds me that I need to exercise. Really, really need to exercise. Funny how four days of vacation can completely counteract four months of careful eating and increased exercise, isn't it?

    By the way, I FINALLY blogged about our meet-up. Took a while, but I kept meaning to do it, and when I met up with another blogger on Thursday I knew what I had to do.

  22. Anonymous9:53 AM

    Oh, yeah. One more thing. The gift. We quite often break down and get gift certificates. It's nice if they're for more unusual things, though, like a massage, a fancy dinner, a stay in a posh nearby hotel, Netflix, something like that. Clothes and jewelry sometimes work. Then there's the I'm-broke-so-I-wrote-this-sappy-poem-on-a- piece-of-construction-paper-and-framed-it-myself approach. Contrary to the odds, moms actually seem to like that if done occasionally.

  23. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Hmmm. That's a puzzle. My mother used to be easy to buy for, but now she really has everything she needs. I hate to buy her one more little thing that sits out and looks pretty because...gawdamighty...she's got enough of that stuff all over the place. Does she like to read? Sometimes a little basket of small things is pretty cool. A book, a candle, a bracelet. Instead of one big thing.

  24. Fart machine?! Oh, Jess...move to St. Louis and be my best friend.

  25. “Oh, I don’t know. A pot holder?” *giggle* Like, just ONE? Man I wish I had relatives like your Mom. The typical answer I get is, "A million dollars." Great... "And how do you want that wrapped?"

  26. Jess' gift giving: 1
    Jess' gift wrapping: 0

    Do we really have to wait until 2008? REALLY? It must at least feel SO FREAKING GOOD to be done though. Congrats!

  27. Anonymous7:51 AM

    "Peels". Fruity, sweet, full of alcohol, yep, sounds like a gift from you:)

  28. Anonymous11:44 AM

    It shocks me every time just how long it takes publishers to bring a book out. Sorry for your delay.

    So what did you get your mom? Oh and hi. I haven't been around lately but it ain't personal. My sporadic blog reading leaves me forgetting who I have visited and who I have not. To make amends, I offer you a slice of banana bread, rock hard but fresh from the oven. Never use a diet recipe for dessert bread. Yech.

  29. Anonymous5:59 AM

    I shouldn't worry about not being able to paint feet. They are difficult. If you look at any painting by Raphael (one of teh greatest of old masters) his feet look like turtle's flippers poking out from beneath the saint's garment.