Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GCC Presents: Allison Winn Scotch

I am so excited to introduce the latest author to tour my blog as part of the GCC, Allison Winn Scotch, whose second novel Time of My Life (released on October 7) has already garnered much well-deserved buzz. I had the pleasure of reading an advance review copy of Time of My Life this summer, and I could NOT put it down. I absolutely loved it, but don't take my word for it...People magazine called it "a clever, entertaining look at the compromises women make – and the dangers of getting what you asked for," and it's one of The Today Show's Top 10 Must-Reads for the Fall Season. Not only that, but The Weinstein Company just optioned film rights! *SWOON!*

About the Book (From Publishers Weekly): "In her latest novel, Scotch tackles an oft-asked question—what if I had held on to the one that got away?—with an engaging, fast-moving, high-concept drama. Endearing Jillian Westfield seems to have it all: a loving lawyer husband, a healthy infant daughter, and a lovely home in Westchester County, N.Y. But cleaning spit-up and dealing with her husband's long office hours have begun to wear on Jill, and it hardly helps that she's just learned that her post-college boyfriend, Jackson, is getting married. The day after a deep, chi-clearing massage, Jill wakes up and finds herself seven years in the past, giving her the chance to revisit her life with Jack in Manhattan, when she worked as an advertising executive. Hindsight, of course, is anything but 20/20, and Jill's new choices hold unforeseen consequences for herself and those she loves. As Jill, through trial and error, rethinks her biggest decisions—such as her choice not to reconcile with her estranged mother—Scotch keeps one dexterous step ahead of page-flipping readers eager to guess the outcome."

Love the premise, no? Allison is not only talented, she's also durn nice, as her answers to my question sampler platter reveal:
1) Now that you are published, what (if anything) have you changed about your writing routine?

Nothing, really. I still procrastinate as much as possible, and I still find it torturous to actually sit down and write! Okay, I guess something has changed, and that is that I write with more confidence because I actually think I know what I’m doing. So while the routine itself hasn’t changed much, the process behind it has, because I feel like now, I’m not just throwing something against the wall and seeing if it sticks. Now, whatever I write – since this is my second novel – had a good chance of ending up in a bookstore, which is both liberating and terrifying.

2) Do you listen to music while you write?

No. It’s funny: in college, I couldn’t write or do ANY work without music playing. I always either had my stereo or walkman on. (Walkman! Ha! That shows you how old I am.) But now, I find that I start listening to the lyrics and they block up my mind. I’m not capable of making up my own words while listening to someone else’s. In fact, I was just about to launch Napster while answering these questions, but decided against it because I thought it might throw me off. I dunno. Maybe I’m just getting old.

3) Have you found that as you've developed your writing and story telling skills, you watch movies or read books 'differently?'

Yes. Definitely. I have a very, very difficult time reading a book now for the pure pleasure of it. Don’t get me wrong – I read plenty of them. But as an author, I’m much likelier to examine them like a mortician might a body: I pick them over, examine the choices the author made, the dialogue, if I can assess where the plot is going, etc. I think it’s harder to surprise me now because I sort of know what goes on in a writer’s mind. Which isn’t meant to sound negative! I think that if you asked this same question of any author, he or she would tell you the same thing.
4) What vacation would be most inspiring to you as a writer?

A combination of relaxation (on a beach) and rejuvenation with things like hiking, exercise, massages (though not one that sends me back 7 years!). I’ve discovered that my best ideas often come to me when I’m working out – it’s almost like my body gives my brain a chance to turn off and just roam free, and in some way, I’m able to tap into my creativity. So that would definitely be important for said vacation. I’d also need some time to just vegetate and catch up on my sleep! I guess the other option would be to explore an entirely different culture: travel to Asia or Africa, which I’d LOVE to do, but in terms of pure writing, to be honest, I really write about characters and issues that feel intrinsic to me…I’m not sure that my next book will be Out of Africa or whatnot, so while exploring new places and things is always good brain fodder, I don’t know if it would actually inspire a new book. But you never know. Hmmm, now that I’m thinking of it, maybe that’s just what I need!

5) What is one of your strangest / most quirky author experiences?

How lame am I? I don’t really have any strange experiences. Maybe my readers are just too normal? Ha! Gosh, I trying to think of something really quirky and fun, but…I got nuthin’. I do get a lot of random mail from my blog, but I wouldn’t call these people strange: just aspiring writers who want tips on how to make it in the biz. Actually, I think anyone is nuts to try to make it as a writer…so do these emails count?
Thanks Allison! And now go buy yourself an early Christmas present: Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch.

I'm back with a new post on Halloween (there's a scary thought, huh?) And I might bring my little dog, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rotary Phones and a Recipe

Some disturbing news. I was at a bar on Friday night, and one of the patrons paid GOOD MONEY to play the song "Mambo Number Five" not once, but TWICE.



On Saturday I attended a Halloween get-together hosted by my good friend W, who related a story from her high school days that made me laugh so hard I nearly wet myself. We were discussing concerts we attended in our youth. Not only do I remember my first concert (Joan Jett at the Fond du Lac County Fair, 1987), but I even remember what I wore (strategically-ripped acid-washed jeans and a blue and white-striped sleeveless turtleneck sweater). I went with a neighbor (Sara) and a boy she liked, and I rode in the backseat, right next to a giant subwoofer blasting Appetite for Destruction.

But I digress. W's parents were not keen on her attending a rowdy concert with friends, but they did tell her that if she could ever call in for tickets when they went on sale, they'd drop her off at the show. Unfortunately, they had a rotary every time W called Ticketmaster, the line would be busy and she NEVER. EVER. GOT THROUGH. She believes to this day that it was one of those passive-aggressive things parents do when they know that a particular outcome, however seemingly random, couldn't possibly go against their wishes.

Also, the only way you could ever win a radio contest with a rotary phone was to call in at least two hours before they even played the song which you had to be the tenth caller to correctly identify. And then you just had to guess. "Um, is it Styx 'Come Sail Away?' No? How about Eddie Rabbit 'I Love a Rainy Night?'"

The dish I brought to the party on Saturday won rave reviews, so I'll share the recipe here. It's from my mom, doctored a smidge because I just can't leave well enough alone.

Tuscan White Beans with Sage and Butternut Squash

1 whole butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cubed (1/2 inch cubes)
2 cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained
3 T chopped fresh sage
8 - 10 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
4 T balsamic vinegar
1 T brown mustard
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese
Drizzle truffle oil

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; toss the squash & garlic with about 2 T olive oil on a baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes, or until squash is tender.
2) Pour beans into large bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, or until just warm.
3) Whisk 2 T olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and sage and pour over beans.
4) Add the squash & garlic; flavor with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with truffle oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.

I omitted the mustard and increased the sage to 4 T, so feel free to play with your food. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Crystal Pepsi Questionnaire

Okay, I had my coworker close her eyes and draw a name from my lunch box (I don't wear a hat), and she picked Shelly. You win an ARC of Cutting Loose, signed by Nadine Dajani herself! Shoot me an email (jess(at) and I'll hook you up.

That was fun! We should do that more often. But first, some photos from last week at the Wisconsin Book Festival:

Me, Danielle Younge-Ullman, and Gail Konop-Baker at The Orpheum in Madison. They have delicious red wine, but it is apparently so strong it gives you the illusion that your kidneys are trying to run away from your body, so you must hold them in when you pose for photos.

Stacks O'Books at A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore, where the sh*t went down. (And by that I mean 'profanity-laced readings' from all three of us. Kidding just a little bit.)

I'm back at work full-time now, so of course my muse has been yammering away like mad. He's like a fickle boyfriend that way--when I have time for him and want some attention, he's distant and evasive. When I'm too busy for him, THEN he wants to hold hands and talk all night and shop for a snowblower together. So I've got tons of ideas swirling around my brain, but more limited time in which to explore them on paper. As I attempt to winnow them into some semblance of order, I'm recognizing certain storylines that sound too familiar to me, so I immediately scratch them off the list.

The problem with avoiding the familiar is that I end up going too far in wild, even risky directions. You have to strike a balance between 'different' but 'not too different.' (Remember Crystal Pepsi, anyone? Way too different.)

Anyway, I do want to avoid cliched storylines. What are some that drive you nuts? What plots in books and movies are you sick of seeing?

I recently heard that during past recessions, the public's taste in music veered away from fun pop songs to longer, slower, more emotional songs. (Think Air Supply vs. Britney Spears.) Which brings me to my final question: in tougher economic times, what do you want to read? Something light and escapist or something darker and a bit more serious?

Also, did you ever actually ever DRINK Crystal Pepsi?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Miscellany

Thanks to everyone who entered the Nadine Dajani book giveaway on Friday--I'll be picking a name at random tonight and announcing the winner on Wednesday. Also, thanks to everyone who came out to see my presentation with Gail and Danielle on Thursday at the Wisconsin Book Festival, but particularly to Denise (love the name!) and Sandra. I've known Sandra in a blogging capacity for a few years, and it was lovely to finally meet the woman behind the words.

I spent the rest of the weekend with my family, and I must say: when my mother makes beds, she tucks the sheets into the tightest hospital corners in THE WORLD. My feet involuntarily spent eight hours in the en pointe position Saturday night. It was like sleeping in a narrow manila envelope. She also makes the best autumn dinners in the world: supper in a pumpkin and spicy squash soup on Saturday, and white beans with sage, swiss chard, and butternut squash AND a wild rice, cranberry, and celery salad on Sunday.

Which reminds me of another word I truly despise: medley. Isn't that a prissy, self-congratulatory, smug word? MEDLEY. Please, dear copy writers who compose descriptive language on menus and food labels: stop using this word to describe fruit plates and pasta primavera. Food is only musical when it exits our bodies in gaseous form, per the old ditty. Any time you offer a 'medley' of any food item, I immediately suspect it of costing too much and arriving in a portion that would leave even Lara Flynn Boyle hungry. So stop it.

Finally, I'd like to give a shout-out to GCC author Deborah LeBlanc, who is currently promoting her latest release, Water Witch.

Deborah LeBlanc is an award-winning author from Lafayette, Louisiana. She is also a business owner, a licensed death scene investigator, and an active member of two national paranormal investigation teams.

She is the president of the Horror Writers Association, president of the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana, president of Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter, and an active member of Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Women Writers, and International Thriller Writers Inc. In 2004, Deborah created the LeBlanc Literacy Challenge, an annual, national campaign designed to encourage more people to read, and soon after founded Literacy Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting illiteracy in America’s teens. Her latest novel is WATER WITCH. For more information, please go to and

About the book: Dunny knew from an early age what it meant to be an outsider. Her special abilities earned her many names, like freak and water witch. So she vowed to keep her powers a secret. But now her talents may be the only hope for two missing children. A young boy and girl have vanished, feared lost in the mysterious Louisiana bayous. But they didn’t just disappear, they were taken. And amid the ghosts and spirits of the swamp, there is a danger worse than any other, one with very special plans for the children—and for anyone who dares to interfere.

Kinda gets me in the mood for Halloween...good luck with the newest release, Deborah!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GCC Presents: Nadine Dajani and FREE BOOKS!

First, a reminder that I'm giving away TWO signed copies of Driving Sideways over at Free Book Friday, the brainchild of the gracious and talented Jessica Brody. Again, these books are FREE. If you have a first name, a last name, an email address, and an appreciation for a good booger joke, you have what it takes to win. It's that simple.

Second, I'm pleased to be a tour-stop on the GCC today for the fascinating Nadine Dajani, whose new novel Cutting Loose is in stores now. But wait!!! There's more!!! I have a SIGNED ADVANCE COPY of that very same book, which I will give away FOR FREE to a commenter on this post plucked at random. (If you don't want to comment and publicly admit to actually reading my blog, which--I can't really say I blame you--please email me at jess(at) and say, "Hey Tootyacker Breath! Enter me in that contest, aah-ite?" Or something like that.)

About Nadine: Born in Beirut, Lebanon to Palestinian parents, Nadine spent the first nine years of her life in Saudi Arabia before settling in Montreal. While Nadine could definitely think of better ways of spending a year than devoting it to mastering the French language, the experience (and all that duty-free terminal shopping) would turn Nadine onto the wonders of world travel and the quirky, unexpected (and usually hilarious) ways cultures meshed (or stubbornly refused to). As an adult she moved to the Cayman Islands to pursue a career in, what else – offshore banking. And while Nadine has yet to see her “golden parachute” she did get to reap the rewards of Caribbean relocation by island-hopping to nearby Cuba, Jamaica, Honduras and Miami whenever the travel bug bites.

Nadine’s travel articles have been published in Atmosphere magazine. Cutting Loose is her second novel. For a beefier bio, author pics, and assorted trivia, please visit, and Nadine’s blog, where she feels free to pontificate on whatever strikes her fancy that day.

Praise for Cutting Loose: “Dajani spins a tale of three women and their individual journeys to find happiness. Through strong writing and distinctive characters, readers are drawn into their lives, their loves, and their internal struggles. Dajani wraps it up nicely in the end, leaving us with a delectable tale that is hard to put down”Romantic Times

“Engrossing”Publishers Weekly

Finally, Nadine provided some great answers to my Question Sampler Platter:

1) Now that you are published, what (if anything) have you changed about your writing routine?
Now I write on deadline, which is a whole other animal! It’s more stressful but I’m still one of those people who thinks she does better work under pressure (I don’t care what the studies say!). I don’t have much time for “error” so to speak because it still takes a while for the plot and characters to percolate in my head… many, many months as a matter of fact, which doesn’t leave much time for getting the words down on paper and revision. Luckily, once I’ve put in a lot of thinking time, I can write quickly and fairly “clean” as well.

2) Do you listen to music while you write?
No – I get so lost in the music that I don’t feel like writing anymore! I’m the same way with picturing the characters or pinning the roles on real life actors – I prefer to keep writing in that weird, intangible, subconscious world, and when I listen to music or picture real characters, it tends to ground my imagination and the feelings I’m trying to tap into.

3) Have you found that as you've developed your writing and story telling skills, you watch movies or read books 'differently?'
ABSOLUTELY! And sometimes I’m really obnoxious and I’ll explain to one of my siblings in mid-movie that what hero just did was actually a plot device, which is designed to make him more sympathetic, blah, blah, blah. But what’s fun is seeing that those mechanics we read about in the craft books really do work.

(Jess jumping in here: I TOTALLY DO THIS TOO!!!)

4) What vacation would be most inspiring to you as a writer?
I get inspired from a change of scenery, no matter how big or small. I find that when I’m stuck in a writing rut, just going away for the weekend will make me see things in a different way, and suddenly I’m dying to get back to the keyboard. Having said that, my first trip to Cuba many years ago is probably responsible for my being published (or even writing at all!). It was one of those “Aha! Moment” inducing trips (as Oprah might put it). It was after this trip that I decided I wouldn’t put up with bleak Canadian winters anymore (nothing against people who like winter, I wish I did but I just don’t) and when I started looking at my life a lot more actively, rather than just letting life happen to me. I moved to the Cayman Islands , started work on my first novel, Fashionably Late, and now my second one is coming out! I’m ready to move onto my next “inspiration vacation” and I’m going eco this time – I found a fabulous-sounding hacienda in the wilderness of Honduras, at the foot of the ancient Mayan city of Copan, where they use little electricity (so no iPod that weekend…), the food is supposed to be great, and you can do yoga at 8 am every morning, overlooking the Mayan ruins… I have a feeling this is going to be a very inspiring trip!

5) What is one of your strangest / most quirky author experiences?
I feel bad telling this one but it was funny, so here goes. At the RWA Nationals this year in San Francisco , I was signing copies of Cutting Loose. Browsers would pick it up, flip it over, and raise an eyebrow in what I assume was interest, at the bio. One lady (and she was really, really nice), after chatting for a minute or so and seeing that my bio stated I was born in Lebanon , commented about how I spoke English “beautifully”. I laughed and said: “I should hope so, that’s my first language”. It just burst out of my loud mouth… I think the lady blushed and backtracked, so if you’re out there nice lady, I wasn’t being mean, and it’s a totally legit comment given the quirky bio, but it still gets me every time to hear how great my English is… I did manage to write two books in that language after all, so I must be doing something marginally right. I suppose, technically, I did learn Arabic first, but it only has a 3 year edge over Shakespeare’s language… as soon as I was old enough for pre-school, it was English all the way – except for a brief interlude of French junior high school in Montreal because I had no choice – and then back to English for senior high and University. And for the rest of my life since. If I hadn’t figured out English by now, then I probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote : ) A great many Canadians are at least bilingual (English, varying degrees of French), with a huge chuck of Montrealers trilingual (Perfect or near-perfect English and French, and varying degrees of fluency in their mother tongue), so though we do have “accents”, it’s not because English isn’t the dominant language for many of us, but because gets injected with a lot of other linguistic influences too.

Nadine, I think I have a girl-crush on you. Can I tag along on your trip to Honduras? Thank you so much, and best of luck with the book release!

Reminder: FREE BOOKS, EVERYONE! Get all up in that! Get some on ya!

Double reminder: For those of you in the Madison, Wisconsin area this Thursday, October 16, I will be at A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore with Gail Konop-Baker and Danielle Younge-Ullman at 7 pm as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival. They're letting me sit with them despite the fact that I only have one last name and my book contains not one but TWO sex jokes involving carrots, which I think speaks very highly of their character.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just the Good ol' Boys...

Last night we went to dinner with some good friends who were visiting from Minneapolis. The conversation covered our childhoods, music we grew up with, and TV shows we loved growing up. Eventually The Dukes of Hazzard came up. In fact, my dear friend Jen was so enamored with the show that she:

a) was a devoted member of the John Schneider fan club;
b) along with her siblings pretended their orange recliner was the General Lee when they played "Dukes of Hazzard" (Later J asked her if they threw a yellow blanket over the orange recliner when they pretended to drive Daisy Dukes's Jeep. Speaking of which, did Daisy's Jeep have a name, too? J is convinced it did.); and,
c) actually photographed the TELEVISION SET multiple times when the very last episode aired.

That is perhaps my favorite story ever about when life before VCRs met Super-fandom. (I remember back in 1984, before Michael Jackson's nose melted off and he got all creepy, actually clipping and saving the photo of him from the newspaper in which he recovered in a hospital bed after having his hair burned during the Pepsi commercial. This grosses me out so deeply now that I could quite possibly employ this anecdote as an appetite suppressant should the need arise.)

I didn't really care much for The Dukes of Hazzard, though we did play Dukes of Hazzard at Kindercare, and I ALWAYS had to be Daisy's homely cousin from out of town. In first grade, during our all-class Christmas gift exchange, the student who'd drawn my name forgot to buy me a gift (or couldn't afford to) and I was given one of the teacher's back-up gifts.

Guess what it was!

A Dukes of Hazzard colorforms set. I already had a Holly Hobby colorforms set, so worn and crusty you had to lick each hard, vinyl cut-out before it would stick to the glossy cardboard. And now that I think about it, would boys actually WANT to play with a Dukes of Hazzard colorforms set? I always thought the concept was more about decorating a set or dressing characters in different vinyl outfits.

In lieu of pondering that, please drop by Jessica Brody's brilliant Free Book Friday site--she posted a podcast interview with me, and we're giving away two signed copies of Driving Sideways. And if you haven't read her debut novel The Fidelity Files, check it out!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Murphy's Law Strikes Again

You know how when you have important activities and events coming up and you think, "Gee, I hope I don't get sick! Wouldn't it be awful to give my parents anniversary speech with a cold sore the size of a beach ball on my upper lip?" And then you wake up with a cold sore the size of a beach ball?

Tomorrow I'm recording a podcast with the lovely Jessica Brody, founder of Free Book Friday and author of the bestselling The Fidelity Files, and yesterday I thought, "Gee, wouldn't it suck to record the interview if I had a cold?"

Well, guess who woke up with swollen glands and a cold today! Stuffy nose and sore throat included, no charge. My best friend is right: if you put negative energy out into the universe, you exponentially increase your odds of attracting the very same crapstorm you were trying to avoid. Also, don't burn sage near the curtains.

So here's the plan: I'm going to wallow in zinc lozenges, crushed raw garlic and herbal teas in an attempt to dodge most of the viral bullet. Doesn't that sound fun? And only two months after the last one...I have the AMC Pacer of immune systems.

Other random thoughts: did anyone else notice that the latest UPS commercial airing on TV uses a song by...The Postal Service?

The automatic soap and towel dispensers in public bathrooms are meant to reduce waste and 'be green.' But do they use so much electricity that they cancel out the 'save a tree' angle?

If I never hear the word "fundamental" again, I can die a happy woman.

Two nights ago J was kind of shaking my head, in a goofy spoof-wrestling attempt to freak the dog out. Want to know the first memory to tumble out afterwards? A scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

My least favorite words are moist and period. My favorite word is effervescent. My mom's favorite word is bittersweet, and my sister's favorite word is plum. Is it weird that I still remember that? Is it weird that we even have these kinds of conversations? Does your family?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Does this attitude make me look old?

This past Friday I hustled down to Racine to visit my long-lost friend M, who came back to Wisconsin for business. Other friends joined the fray, martinis were consumed, photos were taken, and off we hustled to the kind of dark, sticky-floored dive bar that puts the smoke-stank in your hair so badly you can’t wash it out for days. I typically avoid hole-in-the-wall bars like these. Mostly because once upon a time, a homeless man walked up to me and picked my nose in just such a place, while another foul-scented bum at the same bar quite randomly slur-threatened to murder my friend: “I’ll kill you! I’m gonna kill you!”

Good times.

After we claimed our table and ordered drinks, our friend R introduced us to a British man she fancied, who apparently frequented this pub. Introductions were made, and I have no idea how the subject came up, but we arrived at a place where he asked how old we all were, and I stupidly (and arrogantly) said, “Guess!”

(Look at how cocky she is, still high from weeks of people saying she looks too young to be an author!)

The look in his eyes was not encouraging, so I quickly changed my mind. “No, don’t guess. Don’t answer that!”

Too late. “Um, you’re thirty-eight?”

Perhaps it was because I was wearing my chunky new Mrs. Roper necklace—no doubt adding years to my ensemble. Perhaps it was the fact that I had just regaled him with the scintillating history of my family (which is what comes out of my mouth when you ask about the origins of my last name, it appears. “Riley—are you Irish?” “Yes, but my husband’s last name is actually an abbreviated version of a Norwegian family name, and let me tell you about my family genealogy because you don't look like you've had your weekly Bored in a Bar yet.”).

Taking the Mrs. Roper necklace for a test-drive.

You know, this is probably what did it, because after I wrapped up my little speech, he said, “Wow, you have a lot of time on your hands, don’t you?”

I bristled. “No, but I have smart and thoughtful relatives.”

So yes. Thirty-eight. Later, he defended his guess with, “I only thought you were older because of the maturity level you displayed in mixed company.” (I was one of the few at the table not making fun of his accent, smoking cigarettes through my nostrils, or rapping.) Or something like that. And hey, I got a free drink out of it, delivered with an encouraging, “This is guaranteed to take YEARS off you!”

But 38?? I know and love many thirty-eight year-olds, my husband included. But I have many, many, MANY years to get there! Let’s not rush things, ‘k? (And stop laughing, J. I can define "many" however I want to!)

So this, plus the creepy old guy who kept demanding we play Molly Hatchet on the jukebox, put me in a mildly foul mood when one of my British friend’s ‘mates’ sidled up to me and slurred, “I consider myself something of a writer, too.”

Here we go.

“I write poetry. Here’s one I’ve been working on.”

He launched right into your classic rhyming ode to love, including stars and moonlight and a babbling brook and what have you, forgetting his lines and interrupting himself twice with, “No wait. Hold on. Just a minute. That’s not how it goes.”

He wrapped up his rather lengthy performance with, “I wrote it for my mother. So what do you think?”

He was expecting a little melting, a little swooning, someone a bit less ornery (due to the whole "Would you like a can of Ensure to go with those age spots?" bit and all).

Poor guy didn’t have a chance. I took a deep breath. “First of all,” I said, “I hate poetry that rhymes.”

“Well, it’s really not a poem, but more of a lyric. A song poem—”

“Dude? Listen. I’ve heard better poems written by third graders. I know you meant well, but this poem is really generic and tells me nothing about your mother. I totally think some boy already wrote it for me when I was eight.”

It was pretty brutal. But I would have been nicer had I not been feeling all crotchety and covered in liver spots. I'll write later in the week on my game plan for addressing this issue, plus my review of every wrinkle cream I've ever used. (Space permitting.)

For now, I will leave you with this photo of a broken coffee carafe that greeted us at the dive diner we stuffed our faces at the following morning. (Yes, it came with the plastic 'heat-saving' cup insert. Ingenious!)

(Off-camera, to the left: a father and husband wearing South Park pajama bottoms. I would have taken a picture of that too, if I felt I could have gotten away with it.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Love that Gail Konop Baker...

I know my 'last' post at The Debs was a month ago, but I'm posting again tomorrow (Friday the 3rd) to help celebrate the launch of fellow Deb Gail Konop-Baker's amazing debut memoir, Cancer is a Bitch (Or I'd Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis).

I write a little on my Friday Debs post about exactly why her book resonated so strongly with me (it has to do with a personal health scare), but the bottom line is this: even if you have never left your doctor's office with anything but a clean bill of health, you will love this book. It is SO well-written, and so deeply honest...Gail writes the kinds of things the rest of us might think about our relationships or our families or our own places in the pecking order of the world...she's not afraid to lift up those rocks and shine the light on the things crawling beneath, she's not afraid to admit to being afraid, she's not afraid to laugh in the face of that fear, and that comforts the hell out of me.

I wanted to write an amusing post today about my quest to find the perfect face cream (which I am in dire need of due to my unfortunate tanning bed addiction in my early twenties), but last night we watched an HBO documentary on the use of torture as a means of interrogating military prisoners and it kind of left me feeling...not so cheerful. (Before that we watched Run Fatboy, Run, which had a similar rather joyless effect on me.) I hate when that happens! So instead of writing about a new product I've seen touted as "THE anti-wrinkle cream" (Revitol), I kind of said, "Meh. Fuckitol. I'll write about that next week."

So, NEXT week, maybe I'll write about Geritol. I mean Revitol. I am going to Racine Friday night to party with Elvis again, so I hope to have some sweaty scarf stories for you, too. In the meantime, you can read about me and my cervix at the Debs. Happy apple picking / Halloween decorating / soup making weekend!

PS: Today is the last day to enter to win one of two signed copies of Driving Sideways over at Betty Confidential..."Go do it, and be successful with it!"