Friday, September 29, 2006

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

Last night, I wanted to go to the local signing for this book, but hubbie and I got out of the gym too late and I didn't have time to change. Assuming that the reading was already underway upstairs, I ran into the store in my sweat-soaked Red Sox t-shirt and spandex tights, thinking I could buy a copy without anyone but the clerk seeing (or smelling) that I was there.

Silly me.

Not only was the author still standing by her books, surrounded by a flock of adoring fans, she offered to sign one for me as I slunk through the crowd. "What's your name?" she asked sweetly.

"Brenda" I replied.

(okay, that's not really what I said. But I wish it was. When will I learn?)

Entertaining me this morning:

Remember Luke and Laura from General Hospital ? Well I for one am happy to learn that Laura finally dumped Luke, and is now living in in the middle of Maine with Star Trek's Commander Riker. Apparently they run a store that sells nice throw pillows.

In entirely unrelated news, I've been following Rosie O'Donnell's smashing/crashing debut on The View. In her first month , she equated Christians with Al-Qaida, insinuated that Oprah and Gayle are really lesbians who have lost their spark, and confessed that her secret cure for diaper rash involves dog saliva. Probably not the start Barbara Walters was hoping for. Perhaps the time has come for ABC to move Rosie over to a new show? I, for one, would like to see her square off directly against Ann "stop whining and get yourself a miniskirt" Coulter. They can call it, The View: Extreme Edition.

And finally, is it just me, or is Ugly Betty just The Devil Wears Prada with a Mexican Poncho thrown in?

Okay, them's my thoughts for now. I'm getting to work. Really. Right Now. Here I go...

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I skipped the gym last night. Rushed home and spent the next two hours on the couch, watching The Biggest Loser.

Look for my new book, "Avoiding Weight Loss" coming soon to a La-Z-Boy showroom near you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dish on the Swish

It's a dingy day here in Trishland this morning, so I've decided to focus on happy things...happy things...happy things...

Which brings me to the unexpected highlight of my Midwest Extravaganza, the secret blogger meeting I've hinted at all week:

It all began at 3:30 Thursday morning, when the alarm catapulted me out of my cozy bed and I struggled to ingest enough caffeine to get to my 7:30 flight. (Two hours for airport security - whose idea was that???) I decided to check my email one last time before leaving, and there, in my in-box, was a message from Swishygirl (who looks just like this, don't let her tell you otherwise), saying that she resides in the Great Midwest, would be in the St. Louis area on Saturday, and asking if I wanted to hang out?

My first thought: How cool!
My second thought: Wait, what if she's actually a bizarre man stalking us all through the blog sphere???
My third thought: Nah - she was vetted by Manic Mom at the RWA Chicago, so she must be okay!

And may I say, hanging out with Swishy was far better than okay. She's adorable, fun, and kept me laughing for four hours. And yes, I aspire to have her teeth. I think she might aspire to my knives, so I guess that makes us even. I will return to the land of the airborne train simply to hang out with her again so we can tell each other how wonderful we are (I wonder if she'd pick me up at the airport???)

We talked about the crazy world of writing (love it; should both be more disciplined), blogging (the most fun you can have wasting time while convincing yourself you're doing something VERY IMPORTANT for your career), men (secret stuff - can't put that in cyberspace) , and how cruising the multicolored aisles of certain stores can pull you out of a funk in no time flat. Swishy and her very cool friend (who I'll call Secret Agent Girl) are now my official BFMWIEM - Best Friends Met While In Eastern Missouri! (You wouldn't think that would be a hotly contested title, but let me tell you, I bonded with the latte-making woman at Starbucks while I was out there!)

Okay, here's what I know you're waiting for: at bit of secret dish on Swishy! Here's what I'm free to reveal:

If you're looking for a birthday present for her (and of course, I completely forgot to ask when her birthday was, so feel free to randomly send her a gift at anytime) she would love an orchestral version of that "Gloria" song from the 1980s (or really anything where a saxophone has taken over where the lyrics should be).

And here's what I learned about Swishy that shall remain forever secret:
1. The genesis of the name "Swishy"
2. Where you're most likely to find her at midnight
3. The plotline of her (amazing, very cool) novel

For the first two, you'll have to go to her to find out. As for the third, please feel free to contact her here - hourly - to ask if she's finished it and sent it off. My new secret dream is that if her book comes out around the same time as mine, we could do some joint book signings - cause my guess is, Swishy can dance :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What really happened to TV Guide Girl, and my apologies to St. Louis

First - an update on the disappearance of my awesome guest blogger from last week, TV Guide Girl (who was here just long enough to post a contest I didn't know I'd be having, offering prizes I apparently still need to think up):

The reason you didn't see more of her witty take on live and love last weekend is because, among other low-level catastrophes that hit her house while I was away, her giant beast of a dog (who looks like this, only bigger) was attacked and bitten by a deranged skunk. Now I'm not entirely sure what is up with the wildlife population of TVGG's small town, but this was a skunk so lacking a basic understanding of the food chain that its defensive response to 100 pounds of canine lunging toward it was not, "I should SPRAY it!" but rather, "I should EAT it!" So it took several chunks out of TVGG's beloved pup, which required consultation with the local sheriff, the state police, the game warden, the emergency vet, the regular vet, and possibility of a home visit from PETA to ensure that the skunk wasn't hurt or left in an emotionally vulnerable state.

In the skunk's defense, it is not the first creature to look at this dog and think, "There's some extra meat on there...he probably won't even miss it..."

TVGG will be back soon to titillate you with more tales from her version of Little House In The Big Woods. Until then, please join me in wishing her and her husband a happy anniversary -Apparently, the official gift for 12 years of marriage is a case of tomato juice in which to immerse your smelly dog :)

Second - I intended no ill-will toward the city of St. Louis in my last post! Light-rail public transport and bedless hotel suites notwithstanding, I had a GREAT time there and hope to return next fall. Yes, I'm someone who doesn't love heights (you can imagine what a great gymnast this made me in High School) and if I'm going to sleep on a couch for three nights, I'd like it to be in the livingroom of someone I know. But that's a personal thing, certainly not grounds for disparaging an entire city. It's not you, St. Louis, it's me...

I'll post some of the gems I picked up at the conference I attended later, but for now, suffice to say that one of the highlights was dinner at a fabulous tapas restaurant with a blogger who looks like this. That I still love her is a true testament to her character and personality :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Meet me in St. Louis...but make sure you take a cab

I'm back from the Great Midwest!!! I saw neither the Gateway Arch nor the Golden Arches during my time there, but it was a fabulous trip nonetheless. I'll share (some) of my adventures in different posts throughout the we'll begin with my introduction to the city of St. Louis...

I'm not a fan of public transportation. I didn't grow up in the city, my hometown had no trains or taxis or buses (unless you count John the Taxi Guy who escorted the elderly ladies to their hair appointments and decorated his cab with holiday-themed toppers like a giant turkey for thanksgiving.) Here in Boston the whole transportation thing is such a debacle that everyone agrees, it's often best just to stay home. So when visiting new cities, I tend to take the "People in glass houses..." approach and keep my thoughts to myself.

But I have to take the gloves off with St. Louis. Not because their Metrolink system was complicated (there was a very nice man in the airport whose entire job was to make it easy for folks like me to buy a ticket and find our way onto the proper train), or because it was dirty or outdated (the cars were all clean and lovely, with a vague scent of eau de new car wafting through the air), but because it was terrifying. WHO, I want to know, thought that the best way to introduce people to the great city of St. Louis was to SUSPEND them in tiny trolley cars HIGH ABOVE the highway??? (Notice, if you will, that all the metrolink websites feature pictures of the bus...there are no pictures of the roller coaster adventure awaiting you if you decide you'd rather take the $3.25 bargain route from the airport than pay $40 for a cabride downtown). They call it a light rail in, "the cars are lightly attached to the rails..."

So I sat there in my little trolley car fifty feet above the highway, trying to avoid looking out the seven-foot windows at the rushing traffic below, astudiously NOT thinking about how, even if I survived the fall to the pavement, I'd still have an approximately 100% chance of being ploughed over by an 18-wheeler. I didn't think any city could take a worse approach to infrastructure development than Boston, but the whole dangle-the-new-arrivals-over-the-traffic thing can't be doing much to build repeat visits...

(As I type this, all my colleagues are calling in late because the Mass Pike is shut down this morning by a raging car fire. And as much as they're complaining about the delay, I doubt that ANY of them would prefer to witness said fire from a track suspeded over it, roasting them slowly as they roll by...)

I felt MUCH better when I got to my hotel, though, because the reservation clerk told me he had an EXCITING OFFER for me. Because there were no rooms left at the inn, he said, he could offer me a huge luxury suite for my 3-night stay, one that usually goes for $500-600 per night. In my case, they would give it to me for my normal one-room price.
"It has everything..." the young clerk gushed. "a living room, a gorgeous kitchen, a gigantic bath. It's fabulous! The only thing it doesn't have," he continued, speeding up and starting to mumble, "Isabed."
"It doesn't have a bed?" I repeated, certain I'd misheard.
"Itdoesnthaveabed" he mumbled once again. "It has a pull-out sofa, and housekeeping would put sheets on in and make it up JUST LIKE a bed! Did I mention that the suite has a kitchen???"

Um, thanks. But no. I had no groceries; I didn't plan to cook. I did however, hope to sleep during my visit, which was really the reason I initiated this relationship with the Renaissance Grand in the first place. I have no idea why they have suites with no beds - perhaps that's where they calm the people who have just been terrified by the Metrolink? Anyway...

After the roller coaster ride and my brush with luxury hotel living, things got REALLY FUN in St. Louis, including a fun run-in with one of my favorite blogger friends. Tune in tomorrow (or later today if everyone I work with is still stuck in traffic) for more! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"The part of Trish Ryan will temporarily be played by TV Guide Girl..."

Greetings all! TV Guide Girl here, a day or so tardy but nonetheless ready and excited to entertain you with the guest blogging gig our dearest Trish hot-potatoed into my lap before splitting town. (How did that 5am airport arrival time treat you, hon? Pretty good? Excellent!)

I'm delighted to be here, and I've even decided not to mind (much) the moniker Trish slapped on me for the job. "TV Guide Girl" indeed. Sure, I do have several hundred old issues boxed down in my basement...who doesn't have a few old magazines lying around? You can't just throw those things out, you know. What if I needed them again? YOU try to compose a ransom note without a handy supply of magazine clippings and then tell me who's crazy.


As the theme for Trish's upcoming book is the tale of finding the right God, and the right guy, I've decided to incorporate "the wrong guy" stories into this week's contest challenge! (I bet you didn't think we'd be having one this week, did you Trish? Heh heh...make fun of my TV Guides again, will you?) So here it is: we've all had those wrong turns on the dating superhighway...share one or more of *your* funny bad date tales with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Bloggers, and next week Trish will send the author of the funniest story a fabulous prize! :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's Friday here in Trishyworld (not to be confused with Wednesday in Swishyworld, which is another thing altogether...)

I'm off to St. Louis tomorrow on a practically pre-dawn flight, heading to the great midwest for some inspiration, relaxation, and the chance to see if the fabled Gateway Arch makes me as happy as the golden arches. I'll visit both while I'm out there and get back to you with the results.

What books am I taking with me on this exciting adventure?
The Solace of Leaving Early and A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel, and Kiran Desai's Hullabaloo In the Guava Orchard (shortlisted for the Booker Prize, you know...) That should get me through the three hour flight and some of my downtime on Thursday afternoon, after which I'll need to find a bookstore, pronto. If any of you out there have a St. Louis bookstore connection, give me a shout!

I have a FABULOUS guest blogger I've asked to fill in for me when I'm gone...I call her TV Guide Girl. She's witty, funny, and can answer random trivia questions on television shows dating back to the early 1970's. (I happen to know that one year she did ALL her Christmas "shopping" by winning prizes from radio call-in contests.) The girl's got skills.

Anyway, treat her nicely, but don't love her more than me!

And in the's pearls of wisdom:

1. If a panda bites you, biting back is not a viable defense strategy.
2. If you write a memoir, make sure someone can back you up, lest you be labeled the "Irish/French/Southern/Transexual/Atheist James Frey." Nobody wants that.
3. If you need a way out of an awkward situation, check in with my pal, Gilmore Girls Fanatic - she's got some bold ideas for reclaiming your personal space :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Time to find some blessings and count them, FAST...

I will never complain about my buttergirl job again.
Or all the crap I went through to find a husband.

I will, however, complain that my cell phone battery just died again. It was fully charged yesterday, and I've made exactly no calls since then. Apparently, my phone is just tired and has given up.

I'll be shopping for a new phone this afternoon, so if you're a T-Mobile person and LOVE your phone, tell me all about it - I'm open to suggestions!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Four Things

I've been tagged by Vintage Wine ... I'm infinitely grateful it's a "four things" tag and not the "thirteen things" tag I saw last week. I couldn't think of 13 foods, period - let alone 13 foods I adore.

Here goes:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Waitress
2. Butter Girl (not nearly as racey, or as lucrative, as it sounds...I worked at a lobster restaurant; my job was to pour the little cups of butter)
3. Lawyer (WAY less fun than being the butter girl)
4. Writer

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. Secondhand Lions
2. Bull Durham
3. How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (aka, "Trish: The Early Years")
4. The American President

Four places I have lived:
1. Kennebunkport, ME (highlight: The Beach)
2. Philadelphia, PA (highlight: The Philly Phanatic)
3. Washington, DC (highlight: not being a lawyer anymore!!!)
4. Montreal, CAN (highlight: discovering this)

Four things I like to do:
1. Laugh
2. Read books with great metaphors and unusual use of adverbs.
3. Watch reruns of The Gilmore Girls and pretend I'm that smart & well-dressed.
4. Sleep.

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Guacamole (continuing the trend started by Vintage and Julie you think it might be avacados, rather than love, that brought us together???)
2. Sushi
3. Lobster (Steamed. There is no need to be baking them, or putting them on the grill. That's just weird)
4. Linguine with Pesto (partially because I can't spell fettechini)

Four Places I would like to be right now:
1. The beach in Maine
2. A 50% off sale at any Ann Taylor
3. Backstage at The View to hear how things are really going with the regime change
4. NYC

Four websites I visit daily:
1. My own (I like to see who is stopping by - but also my webmistress has been known to "decorate" my picture with a mustache from time to time. I need to keep on top of that)
2. (okay, maybe not everyday - but when I need a laugh, this never fails)
3. Television Without Pity (the place to go when you need SOMEONE to agree with you that Rori can do soooo much better than Logan)
4. Nancy French's site (as I mention on my website, Nancy is my new favorite Republican. I cannot wait for her book to come out next month - and she called me the most reasonable person in Cambridge... no one has EVER said anything like that before!)

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Turks & Caicos
2. Puerto Rico
3. Sanibel Island
4. Altoona, Kansas
(Everybody sing, "One of these things is not like the of these things just doesn't belong...")

Four friends I think might respond:
1. Nancy
2. Swishy
3. Manic Mom
4. Andrea

And there you have it.

And the winner is...

Hi all - Happy Monday.
As promised, we have a contest winner from my website contests!

Drumroll, please...............

Alyssa Goodnight, come on down! YOU are the proud winner of two NEW books by escapee lawyers Philip Beard and Beth Orsoff! Send me your mailing address here and I'll send the books your way!!!

There were no correct guesses in the What the heck is Trish's dog? contest, but I think that's partially my fault for not posting more pictures. As near as we can tell (and it took me almost two years of careful observation to figure this much out) she is a combination of one of these, and one of these. I suspect she was the product of a nonconsentual union...

So someday down the line when I post this contest again, those of you who were here in the early blogging days will know the secret mystery of Kylie :)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Men In Trees

My Grey's Anatomy-induced befuddlement was more than sorted out by the SPECTACULAR new show we discovered last night: Men In Trees.

Hysterical. A bestselling author/"relationship coach" finds out her fiance is having an affair when she accidently grabs his laptop on her way to a speaking engagement in Alaska. She finds herself surrounded by men (gotta love that 19-1 ratio), and evidence that all her pithy dating and mating advice may have been just bunk. (I suspect that Mr. SHAMblog Steve Salerno will LOVE it).

It's kind of like Northern Exposure meets Everwood...what's not to love?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Grey's Catastrophe

Okay, so I have a confession to make which might cost me all of my cyber friends: before last night, I had never seen an episode of Grey's Anatomy. I'm not sure what rock I was hiding under last year; perhaps I was so torn up about the ending of West Wing and the whole Rori/Logan debacle on Gilmore Girls that I was simply blind to the rest of the TV world. (You'd think I would have at least followed along via my beloved Television Without Pity. But no. ) Anyway. My cluelessness came to an end last night - we got home from the gym (yay!) and there it was at 8:00pm - a chance to acquaint myself with the source of 90% of all pop culture references from the past nine months.

I'm not sure what I expected, but my overall first impression was....this show is kinda grim. I mean, sure, the characters are attractive, and they make me feel quite sane and normal in comparison, but honestly...even the dog has cancer??? It felt a little like Party of Five, if Charlie, Julia, and Bailey all went to med school and now watched other people's parents die. I have to ask, does ANYTHING happy ever happen to these people? In two episodes, I saw two babies born to dead or dying mothers, a doctor purposely stopping her boyfriend's heart so that another doctor - who she's sure is on his way - can restart it and give him a new one...only THAT doctor gets shot on his way into the hospital...and all these women doctors live together with a surgeon who can slice people open but doesn't have enough of moxie to ask them to leave the bathroom so she can pee???? I mean come on... I freely admit that I'm way too far behind to try and dissect the Patrick Dempsey love triangle (although I kinda dig the name Addison) Anyway, it was a less-than-stellar introduction. But if you're one of the people who love, love, loves this show, please tell me why!!!

In other news, how much of a DORK am I that in my extended raving about Andrea Seigel's dance at Tuesday night's reading, I completely failed to mention the OTHER author I saw that night, who was also amazing: Kiran Desai. Her latest book, The Inheritance of Loss is short-listed for the Booker Prize, which is a fairly big deal. Much is being made about the fact that Kiran's mother has been shortlisted for the Booker in the past, but I think that's a little silly. My father was a nationally ranked golfer in his younger days and yet I chose to twirl a baton - brilliance doesn't always translate down thorough the generations! I bought Kiran's first book, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard based on title alone, but now I will save it for my flight to St. Louis next week, so that if anybody asks I can say, "Yes, she's a wonderful author. Shortlisted for the Booker, you know..." And no one but you and I will know that I Googled "Booker Prize" a few minutes ago to figure out what, exactly, it is :)

Last, but not least, TODAY is the last day for voting on my website contests. There are two: the first is for the best lawyer jokes, and there is some competition in this catagory. Some folks have emailed their entries rather than posting them (I guess to avoid other people stealing their jokes?) but if you make me laugh really hard, there's still room for victory. Prizes are brand new copies of Philip Beard's Dear Zoe and Beth Orsoff's Romantically Challenged. So bring over a good joke (if it's really funny and doesn't contain lawyers, go ahead and post it) and make my day :)

The second contest (scroll down a bit) is WIDE OPEN: make a guess as to my dog's gentic heritage. Previous guesses have ranged from daschund to rottweiler, and I'll say this much: neither of those are (as much as I can tell) part of her pedigree. I'm upping the stakes here: if anyone guesses correctly, you've earned yourself a copy of ANY book I list on my booklist.

Winners will be announced on Monday. Why should Rosie and Oprah be the only ones who get to give stuff away ??? :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

So whatcha gonna do? Do you wanna get down?

Okay, first things first: the Andrea Seigel book signing/dance extravaganza? Fabulous. Too funny for words, this girl is. I left there totally inspired, which is great, except that my creative juices were not mixing up fresh prose for me to rush home and jot down, but rather visions of a dance for my own book tour...

I see three of us (Coffee Girl has agreed to dance backup, and I'm thinking of some sort of audience participation option where we'll pick dancer #3 from whoever shows up that night willing to wow me with her kick-ball-change). We'll start with a moment of tribute to Andrea, to thank her for planting this little seed of inspiration - some bendy-arm swaying to "You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings," or perhaps something by Josh Groban. There will have to be a tour jete at some point, because that's just what you do when you're dancing to earnest music and wanting to convey deep meaning and emotion. In the dance world, deep meaning = tour jete.

After the tribute, we'll segue into some smooth grooves by Kool & the Gang, then maybe end with something funky by Gwen Stefani. I've pretty much ruled out the baton twirling option due to low ceilings (although it might work in one of those Barnes & Noble stores with an escalator) And I guess if we really wanted to incorporate the twirling, we could always have a parade...

Anyway, I've got much creative work to do between now and Spring 2008! In the meantime, buy Andrea's book; I'm halfway through it and totally intrigued.

Second of all, in further news of book activities that do not in any way involve writing, I had my first author photo shoot yesterday. I've been working out for two months in anticipation of this event, losing exactly 1 and 1/8 pounds.

Two observations:

1.) Oprah is right. It takes a whole swarm of people to make those "casual" pictures happen (a huge shout out to the artistic talents of Ivan the photographer, Andrea my hair stylist, and Val the genius makeup artist. If you're in the Boston area and need highlights or hints on mascara application, go see Andrea and Val at Jacqui's Design Group. I love these women). When you see my picture, feel free to think I look like that all the time :)

2.) Models who complain about how tough their job is should be shipped off to serve French fries in an airport fast-food joint. Modeling is fabulous (and I spent half the day covered in mosquitos and batting my eyelashes at construction workers hoping they wouldn't kick us out of the VERY closed park). You get to wear cute clothes, spend your day with a whole team of people whose sole focus is to make you look better than you ever could on your own, and then another whole team devoted to telling you how great you look and capturing it on film, creating tangible proof that yes, indeed, you look that good. Yep, I can see why that would be stressful.

Anyway, we get to see the pictures tomorrow afternoon - once I've photoshopped out the mosquito bites, I'll post a couple here. If you have other ideas for either my dance soundtrack or where ungrateful models might go to gain perspective on their job situation, let me know!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Oh yes it's ladies night...and the feeling's right

I am irrationally excited about seeing Andrea "so you think you can dance" Seigel at her Boston reading tonight. I'm calling it a business trip - market research, to be precise. I've recruited my friends Coffee Girl (my Starbucks connection) and Pilates Girl (the only person who has seen me attempt pilates and kept a straight face) to go with me. They're part of the target demographic for my book, and I want their opinion on whether I should follow in Seigal's high-healed footsteps and choreograph a number for my own publicity tour. My book comes out in 2008, so I have a little time to pull some moves together...

I can hear the music now - a little Kool & The Gang, grooving over the sound system at bookstores across the country...

This is your night, to-night
Everything's gonna be, al-right
This is your night, to-night
Everything's gonna be, al-right
(Come on let's all celebrate...)

I imagine it will be a huge hit at church appearances. :)

Although I'm thinking, why not do something a little different? After all, I was once named the FIFTH best baton twirler in the entire state of Maine! Sure, it was only the 9-11 age division (there were eight of us, as I recall - and one girl who dropped out after nerves got the best of her and she hid her baton under the bleachers), but still - I'm willing to bet that I can twirl at least as well as Seigel can dance. We'll see tonight!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A way to remember

Okay, here's a challenge for those of us who claim to support our troops. According to fellow-blogger JA Konrath, our men and women in uniform need something to read. He's posted an address where we can send books (it's local postage to a US base; the military delivers from there) and offering prizes for the biggest contributors. Given how much I loved diving into a box of free books at the CBD sale Saturday, this seems like a fantastic opportunity to help others join in the fun.

Here's the address of Kornrath's buddy:

SFC Douglas Hansen
C Co / 163 MI Bn
COB Speicher
APO AE 09393

I don' t think they'll need my new book on southern lawncare, but I must have something else to send...

oh other thing

The true highlight of the weekend:

We're at the local Macy's GRAND OPENING DAY, and they are giving away discount cards worth up to $1,000. Mine was worth only $10, but still - kind of cool. I promptly picked out three pairs of adorable earrings and called Steve over to get his opinion on which pair needed to come home with me. He laughed at me clutching my new gift card, a pile of shiny things, and my half-finished coffee in my grubby little hands. "What do you have there?" he asked. "I'm getting earrings!" I said. "Which do you like better, these (holding up pair of mid-size hoops), or these (switching hands and dumping coffee all down the front of my white t-shirt)?

The lady at the Clinique counter handed me a sample sized eye-makeup remover (???) I asked her if she knew where the white t-shirt display was, as apparently I was now in the market for a new one.

Steve calls me "the spiller." This has happened before.

Bargain quest

Saturday morning I leapt out of bed when the alarm went off, threw on my clothes and dashed out to the car. Like Christmas in September, it was CBD warehouse sale day!

We live a half-hour away from a book distribution center. Three times a year, they open their giant doors and sell off slightly damaged books for $3-4 each. For me, it's a little peak at what heaven will be like: all the books my arms can carry, at prices that still allow me to grab a cup of coffee on the way home :)

Now if you'd told me five years ago that one day I'd fling myself out of bed at 5:30 on a Saturday morning to elbow my way through a sea of Christians to get to the bargain bibles...well, I'd have had a few choice words for your utter lack of future-predicting skills. But life is funny....and an $84 leather-bound study bible for the low, low price of just $19??? Come on! Who can resist that? (I come by this genetically - two members of my immediate family have actual discount cards from Goodwill, entitling them to 10% off all future purchases to thank them for their years of bargain shopping...)

On our way out of the warehouse, we found four backyard-pool size boxes filled with FREE books. Honestly, it was like wedding dress day at Filene's Basement, as swarms of frantic readers grabbed armloads of books we weren't sure we'd ever read (I even picked up one called, "The Perfect Mississippi Lawn", thinking it was a metaphor for one of Jesus' agrarian-tinged parables. Nope. But it was FREE!) I kept looking around for the cameras, thinking, "They're filming a movie about gluttony right now, I just know it..."

If you live in Mississippi and need some help with your lawn, drop me a line...

In other Jesus-ey news, I think it's safe to say that our church was the only one in the country yesterday who began it's service with a rousing rendition of Tom Cochran's song, Life is a Highway. The sermon was about fighting, and how some of us are pushy rhinos in conflict and others of us are fight-averse hedgehogs. To which I say, "Hedgehogs of the world, unite!" :)
(There's a chance I missed the take-home point...)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It's all about the alterations

So much excitement in the Ryan hood last night...

I spent the evening on the couch, watching two Russian women in cocktail dresses duking it in the U.S. Open. While they were huffing and grunting their way through the two-set match, I was huffing and grunting (and maybe even swearing a little) as I duked it out with a new chapter for my work in progress. All I can say is: Worst. Writing. Ever. You know there's a problem when you start to hate your main character, particularly when you're writing a memoir.

It took three and a half hours, but I'm happy to report that the chapter and I are back on track, in every sense of the word. As it turns out, you can say, "I sat on the couch and stared at these people, wondering who they were and what on earth they were doing" in less than 30 pages! Good news for everyone :)

While I was trying to rescue my masterpiece (and keep my dog from curling up on my laptop - something about the heat and the humming noise makes her all snuggly), Steve was in the other room reading this - which made him laugh so hard he almost fell off the bed. I've never seen him this enthusiastic about a book; honestly, I think it was a gift from God to get him through the Red Sox debacle and sustain him until the Patriots opener this Sunday.

And finally, in the WHO KNEW??? department - I just discovered that Banana Republic offers FREE alterations!!! Am I the last person to discover this? Honestly, I almost kissed the sales woman when she told me that the adorable-but-way-too-long jeans I tried on could be hemmed to make me look like one of the "after" shots on What Not To Wear. I am far too excited about this. Pictures may be forthcoming.

Which leads me to ask - where do you find jeans? What are your favorite brands/cuts/styles? They say the tapered, tight-leg look is coming back, but I think if we band together, we can stop the madness!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The solution we've been waiting for

No time for friends anymore, but still want to feel popular? "The Popularity Dialer" just might be your answer!

From their website:

"Have you ever been in a situation where you wished your cell phone would ring? Maybe you wanted to look extra important or popular on that hot date. Or maybe you just needed an excuse to escape from an unpleasant meeting. With "The Popularity Dialer", you can plan ahead. Via a web interface, you can choose to have your phone called at a particular time (or several times). At the elected time, your phone will be dialed and you will hear a prerecorded message that's one half of a conversation. Thus, you will be prompted to have a fake conversation and will easily fool those around you. "

How delightful. So much more convenient than actual friends...

Sign up now and you can receive up to FIVE popularity calls, from either male or female voices! They will also affirm your existence, and/or pretend to be your cousin in need. But (the fine print reads) if you need more than five calls to jump you up the social ladder, you'll have to pay for them.

This might signal the demise of the whole Dale Carnegie system.

Don't worry, though - if you'd prefer not to receive popularity calls (I guess this comes into play if you often fall into a stupor and sign yourself up for internet services you don't really want?) you can send them your number now and they will put you on the official "Do Not Make Popular" List.

I found out about this site via the Boston Globe - in the Business section. Unbelievable. This must be what all the injured Red Sox are doing in their spare time.

I wonder if Meg Cabot knew about this important social service when she wrote this?

This just in...

To start off our send a joke/win a book contest in fine fashion, none other than DEAR ZOE author Philip Beard sent this in, confirming that you can take the lawyer out of the joke, but you can't take the joke out of the lawyer :)

He wrote this to reassure a friend who thought writers would be more difficult to make fun of:

Q: How many writers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: A workshopful. One to do the work, and the rest to assure him his work is worthwhile

Ain't it the truth?

Keep 'em coming...I got books to give away :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Contest! Win Books!

As promised, there's a new contest over at the website - our theme is "Celebrating Legal Eagles Who Flew The Coop!"

Click on "Great Questions" and be ready to submit your favorite lawyer jokes. Or redneck jokes. Or really any jokes at all - if your joke makes me laugh more than the others, it's highly likely I'll send you a book :)

Odds, ends, and a random biology lesson

Happy September everyone! This is my favorite month of the year up here in New England - cool weather, pretty leaves, cute Fall clothes (although what is up with the Goth look at Ann Taylor this season? It's like their new line was designed by Cher...) and new episodes of the Gilmore Girls to look forward to.

It was a fun weekend, despite the rain:

I read two really good books, one by Lisa Tucker, the other by Joanna Goodman (reviews on my bookpage coming soon). They inspired me to write a long-dreaded chapter for my own book (You know how you think it will be SO fun to write a tell-all about the guy who dun ya wrong? Well, not so much, it turns out. It's actually a bit daunting.) I keep telling myself, "No one sees first one sees first drafts..." But now that the first draft is out of the way, I'm pretty happy with the results. Whew!

I also read "Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier Zoo for Exotic Animal Trainers," which was interesting but left me a little lost because I don't know what a gibbon is, or a serval, or a kinkajou. Do normal people know these things??? Is this where I'm forced to admit that I took biology pass/fail in college so it wouldn't ruin my GPA??? Anyway, study up on the animal kingdom before you read this book. (And if anyone else out there thinks it's odd that this zoo keeps their sea lion within easy sight of both the wolf and the Bengal tiger, let me know...)

In other news, THAT DOG rolled in something gross at the park, necessitating not only a head-to-paw scrub down, but a complete fumigation of the house and two loads of laundry. Good times here on Animal Planet.

We spent Sunday night watching Shaquille O'Neal and his family, watching an ESPN marathon of the reality series he filmed during his first season with the Miami Heat. Now I've always been a bit of a Shaq fan, but this put me over the edge. This guy is hysterical. I like him, I like his wife (wouldn't I LOVE to shop with that woman!) and his kids are just the cutest things ever. Good stuff!

I'm working on a new contest to post here and it will involve giving away books!!! Stay tuned for further details...