Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An update from conservative utopia

Okay folks, I'm back from my errands with a quick report on life here in conservative utopia, or at least the 5,000 square feet of it occupied by our local Target store.

I got a nifty new blow dryer which is going to change (dare I say revolutionize?) the entire hair drying process for me. It has - are you ready for this? TOURMALINE IONIC TECHNOLOGY! I have long suspected that what stood between me and that perfectly pulled-together look was semi-precious jewelry; I never thought to incorporate it into my small appliances. Just think what a difference a diamond drill bit might make!?!

My joy was slightly diminished my my inability to get the other appliance I needed, a humidifier. I did not get the humidifier because Target moved them all up to a shelf by the ceiling in order to make room for Christmas decorations. Which is essential on October 31st. I guess I'll have to ask Santa to bring me a humidifier, as I suspect he's the only one who can reach them. In the meantime, let's hope that all those extra tourmaline-generated ions in the air keep my nasal passages clear :)

Rethinking my political geography

I was lamenting my lack of blog-worthy thoughts this morning when I read a book review in October 23 issue of New York Magazine that made my head spin. (Forgive my lack of a link here - I'm still working out my Mac/Blogger issues).

The book in question is Andrew Sullivan's "The Conservative Soul." Not typically something I'd look at, but the author picture featured a man in a beard and plaid flannel, and the incongruity grabbed my attention. The book sounds somewhat interesting; Sullivan apparently makes a living trying to reconcile his multi-faceted life (Irish Catholic, gay, Generation X) in print. I do much the same thing (although I'm quite heterosexual, even when wearing plaid) so I can appreciate the effort involved when your faith and your life seem to point in two different directions.

But what made this article blog-worthy had nothing at all to do with Sullivan himself. What got me was a pithy comment tossed off by the reviewer, who says:

"A name comes to mind for the conservative Utopia Sullivan would like to see built. It's called Massachusetts, though actually the Netherlands would serve just as well."

Apparently, I live on the east coast of conservative Utopia!
Who knew???

Now I've heard Massachusetts called many things in my lifetime - heaven knows we leave the door wide open with our tax structure, the Big Dig, and the 1700 times the Red Sox have blown sure-win situations and gone home before the World Series. But I've never heard ANY part of this state - even downtown in Boston's financial district - called a conservative Utopia. I'm not even sure what the reviewer means by this comment (he clarifies his point by saying, "both places have fetishized their history while making themselves open to any sort of liberalism but in reality supporting the most bourgeois societies imaginable") but it makes me feel, at the very least, like my state is suddenly a much more interesting place to live. What does this mean, I wonder? Are we destined to become the new destination hotspot for conservative politicos who secretly adore JFK? Will Rush Limbaugh buy a home here and enroll in comparative religion classes at the Harvard Extension School?

I'm headed out to run errands now. I'll have to look around more carefully, just to see what conservative Utopia looks like :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Life lessons

I had another fun weekend babysitting for my niece and nephew (heretofore known as Glamour Girl and Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy. My brother-in-law was having minor surgery, so I don't think it was all that much fun for him, but he is recovering nicely and I've had another, "Wow - kids ARE harder to raise than dogs..." epiphany that will keep me from mentioning crate training the next time one of my parent friends mentions the challenges of teaching a toddler to use the potty.

My major contribution to my niece and nephew's development this weekend was in the unexpected area of reptile management. Did you know that one of the popular cartoons for kids today features a character who keeps a pet anaconda??? Saturday's episode offered an important message about how when our friends need help, we need to do everything we can to assist them. For example, if you see an anaconda, and it looks like it might be lost, the best thing do do is poor water over it to prevent dehydration, then wrap it around your neck and take it home.

Um, no.

Now I don't mean to be a stickler for details here, but if I'm teaching kids about snakes, and anacondas in particular, the take-home point of my message is: Leave them alone, they might eat you. This is a usable piece of knowledge young children can work with. Granted, my little charges are unlikely to encounter an anaconda up in Maine. They're equally unlikely to encounter a lion or a tiger, yet they're fully aware that they look like tasty little appetizers to most large members of the wild kingdom.

I was delighted to see that my explanation prompted a wide-eyed level of respect in both Glamour Girl and Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy, with many questions about how an anaconda would eat you and exactly how long that might take. My excitement was tempered somewhat, however by the new game my lesson inspired, where they slithered around the house pretending to BE anacondas. When they started squeezing the poor dog, I had to intervene. All I could think of was to tell them I was a hippopotamus (I've been on a bit of a hippo kick lately, as you might have noticed) All I heard for the rest of the day was, "Be a Hippo, Aunt Trish! Be a Hippo!"

So now I'm back in Massachusetts, with my half-bald dog and a new appreciation of what it takes to raise the next generation :)

Here in blogger world, your call for candid (albeit kind) reviews is duly noted. I will have some new books - some good, some not-so-spiffy - up on my website by the end of the week, by which time I hope to figure out the intricacies of using blogger on a Mac. Can anyone tell me why I have no options now? I can't create links or use bold/italics - anyone know how to make this work?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Let your voice be heard!

Fellow Bloggies, I need your opinion.

Part of my excitement yesterday over Nancy French's fabulous new book was that it came on the heels of not just a bad life week, but an exceedingly bad book week. Or month, actually. I'm not sure why, but the last five or six books I've read have been infuriatingly bad for one reason or another - either not at all what the cover promised, or filled with the author's odd agenda that has little to do with the subject of the book. These books have mostly been non-fiction, and (fear not!) none of them were written by any of you :)

As some of you know, I keep a book log over at my website, with a few sentences about what I'm reading. (I love getting book recommendations, but can never think of an answer when someone asks me what they should read next. So I figured the log was a way to repay all the great suggestions I've received AND jog my memory when someone has a bookstore gift card burning a hole in their pocket.) By and large, I only review the books I like, which has been easy because this summer was like a tidal wave of literary fabulousity washing over my nightstand whenever I reached for a book (okay, that was a fun phrase to write). But, as I mentioned, Fall has been a little, um, arid...

So here's my question: when I read something I don't like, should I include it on the list? Now, I would never diss a book just because it wasn't my style, or because I felt the lead character should be a brunette former baton twirler from the great state of Maine. I keep those thoughts to myself. But when something goes horribly wrong within a book, or the author promises eggs and delivers oranges, do you want to hear about it? Let me know!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Turning my frown upside down

As some of you may have noticed yesterday, I've had a bit of a tough week (thanks for your awesome words of support in response to my post...you guys rock!) I'm delighted to report that my head is back in the land of "life is good/I'm happy to be here" thanks in no small part to a priority mail envelope that I found on my doorstep last night when I got home.

The envelope contained my long-awaited copy of Nancy French's book, RED STATE OF MIND: HOW THE CATFISH QUEEN REJECT BECAME A LIBERTY BELL, the contents of which turned my mood around by page two (You know the little disclaimers non-fiction books all have now, a few tiny lines at the top of the copyright page explaining how some names have been changed? Well Nancy's disclaimer had me laughing so hard I raced ahead to the Table of Contents to see what other gems this book might hold.)

That said, I have to acknowledge the elephant in the living room: In this book, Nancy discusses politics. Nancy is a Republican, which means Nancy discusses Republican politics. I am a lifelong Blue Stater (I never gave up my Maine license the entire eight years I lived south of New England) who was admittedly less than ecstatic at the result of the last two elections (at one point I drove down the street in tears, asking, "Really God, how can you possibly be against universal healthcare???") so I waded into RED STATE with a bit of trepidation.

Let me say this now: regardless of your political/social/spiritual stance, this book is SOOOO good - not just from a humor perspective, but also in terms of depth, warmth, and overall "wow I'm glad I read this"-ness. I loved it.

Remember my post earlier this week about how we're all too careful in our social conversations, relying on standby questions about work and lawn care strategies no one really cares about rather than sharing what matters? Well, in RED STATE, Nancy shares what matters. It's filled with things you don't typically hear at a cocktail party, which makes me want to put her on every guest list I make from this point on. I don't know if I agree with her take on the use of our military, but her story about how the chance to enlist changed the entire trajectory of her father's life brought tears to my eyes, and helped me "get" her patriotism in a way that makes my world a better place. I LOVED her passages about the effort she and her new Blue friends put into their budding friendships, and her honest thoughts on how hard it is to feel like you've landed on a planet where you just don't belong. That she managed to cover all this territory and still keep me laughing after my day from - as some Red Staters might put it - "H-E-double hockey sticks" was a nice little miracle, right there in my grateful hands.

There's an old point of etiquette that says that the two things one should never talk about in polite company are politics and religion. Nancy talks about both, which makes me realize she's my kind of girl. When I first put my website together, I called Nancy my favorite Republican, and she's defended her title well with this book.

So there you have it. I am grateful to God, the U.S. Postal Service, Nancy French, and my beloved blogging friends for pulling me through yesterday's funk. Thanks ya'll :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Floating? Sinking? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

When I was little, my Mom had a saying she'd blurt out when the cacophony of our young demands got the best of her. We knew it was time to give Mom a little space was when we'd hear her plead, "Stop the world - I want to get off!"

Today, I understand how she felt.

It's funny - last week I blithely linked to an awesome article by singer Nicole Nordeman about how God challenged her to stand up to the cultural idea we've absorbed that we all have to be stressed and exhausted for our entire adult lives. I fell in love with one line in particular, where she said something to the effect of, "I want to regain control over the climate of my life, rather than letting it swing me around by the tail."

Ah, such wise words. Unfortunately, it appears life has me be the tail this week, and is swinging with wild abandon. I'm trying to keep in mind the reassuring words of my law school friend who once said - as he headed off to take a nap an hour before our Torts final - "Things tend to work out." God has a pretty amazing track record of proving my friend true in spectacular and astonishing ways, so I'm not entirely wrecked; I'm expecting some miracles anytime now. But I'd be lying if I denied that this sort of ride always makes me a tad nauseous.

So there you have it. Not very shiny-happy-people, but what can I say? If you need something to lift you up, here's my survival recipe for today:
1. Pray
2. Call or email a friend who gets it
3. Look at the hippo picture again
4. Repeat #1

(Reassuring note: After posting this, I remembered how blogger Ayelet Waldman alerted her friends and family that she was skidding too close to the edge via a long blog about the suicide rates of people just like her. Please know that this is not that post :) I'm okay, just a tad overwhelmed. And I feel much better having blogged. Thank you all for being part of my #2.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Five things

My apologies to those of you who were unable to get the full experience of the "This is the scent of Jesus" website yesterday. Not sure what was up there, but I suspect it was divine intervention. I've read the Bible, and I'm pretty sure there's no particular way the air has to smell before Jesus will come hang out with us.

That said, on to today's excitement! I was tagged by Amanda Brice, who requested five interesting things about me. I LOVE this tag because I believe most people are FAR more interesting than they let on. We get caught up in the dullest conversations - "What do you do?" "Where did you go to school?" "How old are your kids?" And we rarely move on to the juicy fun stuff that rounds out the edges of our lives and differentiates us from all the other people who share our job/school/rate of reproduction.

So here goes...I'm calling this, "Five things I probably wouldn't mention at a cocktail party." And the next time I'm actually AT a cocktail party, I will try and fit all five of these into the small talk, just to see what happens:

1. I've read some of the same books as Rory Gilmore. Check out Gilmore Girl Fanatic's site and wonder which ones :)

2. I'm unusually aware of the status of our Federal Prisons. I'm close to someone who spent some time as a "special guest" of our government, and I've lead student tours through maximum security. When I was in college, my big dream was to run a private prison. (I went to one of those open minded schools where no one would ever suggest that a short girl from Maine with a background in dance and baton twirling might not be the best candidate for high-level prison management - I've often wondered what they would have said if I told them my other dream was to play professional football?) Anyway, trust me when I say that despite the media wailing about how we're soft on crime, our prisons are unspeakably awful and our prisoners are plenty punished.

3. I like professional sports. I loved the Red Sox and the Patriots long before they had winning seasons, and my willingness to attend Bruins Hockey games made my soon-to-be husband smile wider than the promise of a homemade lasagna. Shaquille O'Neal is one of my favorite people, and that was even before he became a sheriff.

4. My Dad retired from teaching when I was in Jr. High and became a lobsterman. I was too girly to go out on the boat with him like my siblings did (dead fish before dawn? Um, no.) To this day my Dad insists that the only time I set foot on his boat was when I rode my bike down to the pier one day to ask him for money. Regardless, I know lots of random things about lobster, many of which I learned from my dear Father before furthering my lobster education through my esteemed career as a butter girl.

5. Finally, I think I'm the only person (or certainly one of the few) in the history of the public library system to borrow the autobiographies of Hillary Clinton and Billy Graham at the same time.

There you have it. I have my doubts about how much of this is interesting, but all of it meets the standard of "Not usually discussed at cocktail parties," so I'll take that as success. And I'll tag Nancy French, Swishy, Lestes65, and Stacy.

Happy Tuesday :)

Monday, October 23, 2006


This just embarrasses me (hit "enter webpage" and you'll see what I mean).

This makes me feel much better :)

Friday, October 20, 2006

News from the cube

Last week, my friend and fellow cube-dweller Clinical Research Girl played a practical joke on her boss, Captain No Jeans on Casual Friday, and hid his keys. The Captain prides himself on NEVER losing track of his belongings, so this was a hysterical move by Clinical Research Girl.

Except that Clincal Research Girl FORGOT about her prank. At the end of the day she gave a jaunty wave to The Captain, left the office, and boarded a plane for a business trip to one of those frozen tundra states that doesn't have Starbucks. The keys remained in her desk.

Approximately one half-hour later, The Captain, panicked by the unprecedented loss of access to his car, his house, and quite possibly his mind, did what any of us would do in that situation. He called upstairs to the Corporate Vice President and asked for a ride home. Perhaps you have to know the players, but that is funny stuff.

I'm told that eventually, through a series of phone calls involving building maintenance, the Department of Homeland Security, the Cambridge Parks & Recreation Department, and Mrs. Captain's Great Uncle Abner (who was called in to take care of the kids), The Captain finally reached his assistant Post-It Girl, who saved the day with her in-depth knowlege of Clinical Research Girl's forgotten scheme.

Honestly, we haven't had this much fun here in cubetown since The Captain walked into his office door and gave himself a black eye.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

When less is more...or less

Okay, I heard you - no more news links for awhile, I promise! It may say a little something about yesterday's state of mind that I found the whole Turkey Testicle Festival thing so entertaining to begin with. But today is a new day! On to the excitement:

My beloved pup Kylie went to the groomer for her quarterly day of beauty. She's part afghan, so maintenance of all that long fur gets a bit unwieldy if I let it go for too long. Once - only once - I thought, "I can save some money and do this myself!" I bought a pair of barber shears, placed my visibly anxious dog on the kitchen table, and confidently lopped yards and miles and tons of blonde dog hair from her trembling torso. When I was done, she looked like a Flowbee victim; I expected to hear from the SPCA by sundown.

So now I leave it to the professionals. This time, I asked them to cut the fur around her ears a little shorter, as it grows really fast (nothing on this dog functions in an even or predictable manner, other than her personality - which, if kept sated with tissues and recently worn socks, is unerringly sweet). Unfortunately, Groomer Girl took my instructions a little too seriously and chopped every piece of hair on Kylie's head down to less than a millimeter; she now looks like this baby antelope. It might sound like I'm exaggerating here, but you can actually see her little scalp through what looks like a strange canine version of five o'clock shadow. Good thing Steve is a trooper about letter her sleep on the bed, because she has exactly NO fur left to keep her warm. (Which raises the question, how do baby antelope keep warm??? I won't Google to find out, lest I be tempted to post a story link...)

In other "not quite news," I have some new book reviews up over at my website. Feel free to drop web manager Meg a line there and tell her how much she rocks for making all those pretty cover links work - Yay Meg :) And I'm looking for a new book, so if you're reading something great that doesn't feature the words "desperate" or "haunting" on the back cover, let me know!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

All the news that's fit to print

In an unexpected addendum to last week's "Celebrate Poultry" theme, good news from Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.

Florida youth must be heartier than their Massachusetts peers, who need protection from the perils of recess.

If you agree that it's never too late to get your 15 minutes of fame, this may be the thing for you.

And finally, I'm copying these words of wisdom from the Washington Post on an index card to take with me the next time I shop for jeans:

"If the zipper on your jeans is the same length as that People magazine you're reading in the grocery store check out aisle, you're probably losing the camouflage fight. And if the back pockets are the size of an IHOP pancake and are situated on the fleshy part between the waist and the bottom of the booty, they should have no place in your closet."

Words to live by.

So there you have it, my thoughts for today: YAY for the Turkey testicle Fest, BOO for making kids jog in place for a half-hour at recess, ARE YOU KIDDING? for the Phillies afterlife tribute, and JUST SAY NO to the ugly jeans.

We can all do a little something to make the world a better place :)

What are your thoughts for today?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I am a part of the Rhythm Nation...

This week's confession. While shopping at the T-Mobile store for a phone that would actually transmit calls, I also bought one of those fancy ear piece things so that my hands will be free while I share my thoughts with the people I love. You'd think this purchase would be motivated by my active lifestyle - you know, because I'm an on-the-go girl who needs to multitask. But if you're one of the people who calls me, you know firsthand that I can't multitask under any circumstances, and a speakerphone dangling from my ear is not the missing link that will connect these dots for me. Whatever.

I got the phone because I want to dance like Janet Jackson. And everyone knows that to be truly in control, you need a headset mike. Now granted, she's taken her multitasking skills in some unfortunate directions in recent years (if you've seen her in concert, you know that the little incident with Justin Timberlake was chaste and discreet by Miss Jackson's performance standards). But I still remember the Rhythm Nation days, when Janet was swathed from head-to-toe in military garb and singing about how kids need to learn to read.

So this morning, decked out in my "Life Is Good" pajamas and my new Bluetooth, I serenaded Steve and our baffled dog with a rousing medley of hits from the 1990's. They both just stared at me like, "What is she doing?" But I rocked on:

Ooo, what have you done for me lately?
(dunt dunna dump dump) Ooo ooo ooo yeah...

I'm in CONTROL (tripping over edge of carpet and sliding across the floor where I accidently sprayed pledge last weekend in a fit of last minute dusting before my Mom came to visit). I'm - In- Con-trol.

People of the world unite, doncha know we can get it right (one time - uh)
We are a part of the Rhythm Nation.

Sometimes dreams come true :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oatmeal cookies, a new phone, and a birthday extravaganza

Big excitement in the Ryan Hood this weekend - My Mom came to visit, which was spectacular and miraculous (whenever a woman on 24 hour oxygen travels across two states, climbs three flights of stairs, and insists on bringing homemade oatmeal cookies, I call that a miracle). Huge thanks to my cousin, Classics Girl, for making it happen!

And don't worry, we didn't take Mom to Starbucks to reward her for all that effort. We took her here for lunch because she wanted to eat somewhere "quintessentially Cambridge," and drove along the Charles River because it's the most beautiful place in the city right now. Then we went home and ate yummy cookies and talked about how much better life is these days than it used to be :) Yay, Mom!

AND THEN, Saturday night, Steve and I went to the yummiest sushi restaurant to celebrate the birthday of our delightful friend Starbucks Girl. Her intrepid boyfriend (we'll call him Mocha Man) organized the surprise by raiding her cell phone to get the numbers of all her friends, and then organized us to meet at the restaurant. When we arrived, we had no way of identifying each other except via the girly pink gift bags we were all carrying as we lurked by the Koi pond waiting to be seated. But once the maitre de (spelling? is there perhaps a Japanese alternative?) lead us to one of those tatami rooms where you sit on the floor with your bare feet dangling in a pit underneath the table, we became fast friends, bonding over our love of Starbucks Girl and the forced vulnerability that comes with unexpectedly removing your shoes in front of a large group of strangers.

Kudos to Mocha Man for pulling this off, and to Starbucks Girl for having the the coolest friends ever. I'm honored to be on her call list now that I've seen the high caliber of people she hangs out with!

This whole thing got me thinking about my own phone book (because I finally got a new phone - hooray!!!) and who Steve would find if he wandered in there to organize a surprise party for me. The gathering would be fabulously random, as I don't really identify people on my phone; I mostly just have names and numbers. So my good friends Accountant Girl, Brilliant Harvard Girl and Pilates Girl would be there, along with Starbucks Girl. But they'd be mingling with a somewhat baffled I Cut Trish's Hair Girl and I Think I Groomed Trish's Dog Once In 2003 Girl. I'm not sure if he'd be brave enough to call the Midwest exchange and say, "Hello, may I please speak with Swishy Girl?" but if he did, I like to think she'd fly in for the occasion. And who knows, there might even be a sheepish appearance by Now Ex Husband of Trish's College Roommate, whose name I need to delete ASAP, and/or Random Law School Friend Trish Once Thought She'd Call For Directions To Vermont. It would be quite a party, indeed!

So all that to say... Happy Birthday Starbucks Girl! Here's to coffee, sushi, girl talks, not entirely random musings about God and the meaning of life, and your very cool friends who adore you - I'm happy to be one of them!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The sound of music, the sound of the weekend

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood here in Cambridge, and I might be a bit too excited that it's Friday once again. (Thanks to these guys for the gorgeous pic).

Today's theme (sing along if you will): "These are a few of my favorite things!"

First of all, I love This article by my favorite singer/songwriter - specifically her comment about re-taking control over the emotional climate of her life rather than letting it swing her around by the tail. Her wise words gave me a much-needed attitude adjustment about a whole host of frustrating things, not the least of which was last week's rant about my incredible shrinking jeans. Check it out if you're looking for a bit of light in a heavy day.

On a lighter note, this little creature cracks me up. She's an exact replica of the "Someone better take me out NOW" face my dog makes when she's lost all patience and is about to ruin the rug. It's the perfect gift to accompany the fabulous new pooper scooper Barbie - all I have to do is add a "Baby Wets A Lot" doll to the mix and my Christmas shopping for the niece and nephew is done!

And finally, check out this and this. But put your drink down first, because this site is dang funny. (Dang? Am I suddenly from Alabama???)

Okay, that's all from the cube this morning. Have a spectacular weekend and enjoy your world :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm supposed to accessorize my air?

Skip down to the last line of this article...I'm telling you, it's all about the chickens.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Which came first - the chicken or bad decorating?

Here's an embarrassing confession: I ADORE chicken decorations. I think this is hysterical, and I would put this in my kitchen in a heartbeat. (This, however, is unfathomable, even to me).

I have no idea why this is.

I've resisted the call of the chicken since Steve and I got married; he likes his poultry nicely sliced in the meat section, served up by Frank Perdue. He doesn't find chicken dish towels whimsical, nor does he find this funny in a "Gee, we should get one" kinda way.

Last week, to my husband's horror, I found what I considered the perfect answer to our "We should probably put something in the middle of the dining room table because we rarely ever eat there and it looks kind of naked" dilemma. I was shopping at Marshalls, waiting to see what bargains would jump into my arms. And low and behold, from three different shelves, came three ceramic chickens each priced at $5 (They looked kind of like this, only one of my chickens was pouting). I thought this was divine intervention - combining my love of decorative poultry with the opportunity to create fun conversations about our novel $5 chicken collection.

Steve hated it. Steve doesn't hate much, but he despised the $5 chickens at a level heretofore reserved for the New York Yankees and Boston municipal works projects. Alas, the chickens have to go - I'll return them to Marshalls this afternoon so they can find a new home where they'll be fully loved, and our dining room will once again be bird-free.

If you're looking for a new way to fill your time after you're done praying for me to be miraculously blessed with better taste, type the phrase "poultry in motion" into Google...hysterical.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Scenes from a fun weekend

We're back from Maine, and all is well in the Pine Tree State. I'll be updating my resume soon, adding "successfully convinced six-year old to eat mac & cheese covered with ranch salad dressing" and "Engineered multi-level reorganization of recreational activities including Simon Says, Red Light/Green Light, and Hide & Seek" to my ACCOMPLISHMENTS section. These would have been valuable skill sets back when I was a lawyer.

On the way home from Maine we went to the new Massachusetts location of L.L. Bean. The new store lacks a trout pond, but other than that seems rather nice. I don't think it will inspire the midnight road trips the home store is famous for, but with a Border's right next door, it's a fine place to be on a Sunday afternoon.

I bought one of these when we got home. It's gorgeous right now, but I'm concerned for its safety - I haven't kept a plant alive for more than a month in over a decade. Please pray for my plant! They call them "Hardy" so I'm banking on that name meaning something!

We also bought new sheets. They have a slight texture to them, which felt just lovely in the nice sateen finish when we caressed the sample in the store. When we went to bed, however, we noticed that the raised parts were a little more pronounced than we anticipated - it was rather like sleeping between two pages of Braille. And when I got up this morning, I couldn't help but notice that every exposed bit of skin was now indented, patterned in that great plaid I so liked in the bedding store. They say the sheets get softer with multiple washings - but do they get flatter???

In writing news, the "C" key on my home laptop broke. This means that the final third of my book will be written without any words containing the letter "C." Think anyone will notice?

And finally, we watched Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip last night - loved it!

Friday, October 06, 2006

We're all winners

My three year old niece woke up yesterday morning and declared, "I want Aunt Trish!" (Did I mention that she's a VERY smart little girl???)
"Aunt Trish won't be here for two more days," my sister explained patiently. "Today is Thursday; Aunt Trish won't be here until Saturday."
"Then today IS Saturday!" my niece delared, and then looked at my sister as if to say, "You heard me - make it so!"

Oh to be three again. Honestly, if it didn't mean repeating 13-34, it might be worth it, just to be so certain that the world existed just to make me happy :)

Steve and I will be trekking up to Maine tomorrow to put in some quality time with the niece and her older brother (who, in his own fit of three year old cuteness, once told me I was ALMOST as beautiful as Princess Fiona from the movie Shrek. Almost.)

We have big plans for our night of babysitting. While Sis and her hubby are out enjoying an evening of fine dining, we'll be teaching niece and nephew some colorful language to use on special occasions. Nothing obscene, of course, just enough to spark a little fun. What chance do their parents have of disciplining them if the niece learns to say, "No Mummy, I'm being obstinate" while the nephew declares, "and I'm being obstreperous"??? This weekend's fun will be brought to you by the letter O!

In other fun news, WE HAVE WINNERS for this round of Buy A Friend A Book Week! Thank you all for your suggestions to enhance my TV watching (which will come in quite handy when I'm no longer allowed to babysit the younger generation of my family). There were many fine entries, but our winners this time - each of whom will receive a new copy of Nancy French's hysterical book, Red State of Mind: How A Catfish Queen Reject Became A Liberty Belle - are:

Sarakastic, who wow'd me with fabulous quotes. She took a rather ingenious approach, starting with some lines from the season premiere of a show she knows I love (The Gilmore Girls) and then followed it up with a quote from the show she recommends (The Office). Very smart. She should work for our government; I think we need her in high places where strategic decisions are made.

AND (in a late-breaking entry)

Kim Stagliano, who took the risky move of not even recommending a show. Instead she reminded me that indeed we do have pagents here in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The picture she painted of a girl named Fern, singing "It's Not Easy Being Green" for her talent segment in the Miss Attleboro pagent while dressed like a frog, made me laugh so hard I forgot I owned a TV. Nice work, Kim. Enjoy the book :)

Send me your address via the link you find here, Sarakastic and Kim, and you'll see an Amazon box on your porch soon!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Free to be a better me...

Sorry for the no-post yesterday. I had two ideas in the works - one about the frightening things scientists are trying to prove by shooting electrodes into people's brains (my conclusion: how bout we just don't do that?), the other about Cambridge traffic and how it's simply impossible to flip someone off and still feel classy and elegant (those of you who know me are laughing now, but YES, classy and elegant is what I aspire to be. Stranger things have happened. Shush.)

I didn't post those, however, because I couldn't come up with anything funny or encouraging to say. My theory? Why blog if I can't make my little chunk of cyberspace a happier place to be?

In that light, here's a gem I keep hearing from different corners of the world: "Just because you're feeling something, Trish, that doesn't mean it's true. Emotions aren't reality."

Really? So if I'm feeling like my head might pop off if I sit in this chair one more instant, it won't? If I'm feeling like nothing good will ever come of my life because I skipped the gym again this week, ate popcorn for dinner, and STILL don't understand why everyone loves Grey's Anatomy, that doesn't mean all hope is lost?

I won't belabor the point, but let's just say this came as EXCELLENT news. I don't wrestle much with self-esteem, and life is pretty swell here in Trishville. But mood swings can kick my butt, and this has proven a spectacular foil to the evil forces of cold weather, bitter coffee, and "gee they MUST have shrunk in the dryer" jeans conspiring to ruin my day.

So here's what my friend told me she does, when she's having one of those lower than a worm in a mud puddle days: She asks herself, "what to I KNOW is true?" (Kind of like Oprah's "What I Know For Sure," but on a slightly less global scale).

So here's what I know is true:
- I didn't give that driver the bird yesterday in traffic, which means I'm a little bit more classy and elegant than I would have been otherwise. Yay!
- My jeans DID shrink in the dryer. I've lost two entire pounds since I started working out (three months ago, but who's counting?) and that means that I am a smidge skinnier than I was when I bought those pants. If they're too small, that doesn't mean I'm too big! (Plus, I'm classy and elegant, and ladies like that don't have these problems).

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Watching TV can improve your life...

ADDENDUM: Rereading today's post, I realize that in my enthusiastic attempt to describe Nancy's adventures, I may have left the impression that she was a street walker when she lived in Philadelphia (as opposed to a normal citizen who occasionally walked down the street). Not only was this NOT the case, I have to say that if it were, Nancy is a smart cookie and would have known better than to break out her political t-shirt collection during business hours!

Okay, glad we got that cleared up... on to the blog:

In honor of Buy A Friend A Book Week, it's time to give away another book!

As some of you know, Nancy French's fabulous and hysterical Red State of Mind (do you love that cover?) is officially out in the world today. I am giggling just thinking about her failed bid to be crowned Catfish Queen (we don't have pageants where I'm from! I never got to wear a sash either!) or what happened when she walked the crazy streets of Philadelphia wearing her homemade "I Love Newt" t-shirt. (Actually, I'm not sure she did that, or if it just sounds like something I can imagine her doing. Either way, the book promises to be hysterically funny.)

Not that I'd know yet, because my copy hasn't arrived (I think I promised Nancy a picture of me shaking the first President Bush's hand...) but that doesn't mean I can't send out yours! So here's the deal:

I'm baffled by the new Fall TV lineup, and need recommedations on what to watch and what to skip. To enter, drop me a comment with the following information:
1. Your favorite show this season
2. What night and time it's on; and
3. What you love about it.
I'll put all the names in a hat and draw at least one winner to receive a new copy of Nancy's fabulous book.

HUGE, IMPORTANT, DEAL-BREAKING CAVEAT: The show you mention CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT be Grey's Anatomy. (Swishy, I'm talking to you!) I'll confess that I'm also not loving Ugly Betty so far, but other than those two, the field is wide open. Project Runway is almost over, and I need something new to love. Help me help you!


Monday, October 02, 2006

A dog, a turtle, and a 48 page chapter...

GREAT weekend, here in Trishland.

Hubby was up in the mountains hiking, building fires, and jumping into a chilly Canadian lake.

I was home in bed, snuggled under the comforter with my laptop and my ipod, watching my dog move from place to place so she could lie in the sun with her tummy in the air. Fall is officially underway in the Commonwealth.

I got TONS of writing done - I now have one chapter weighing in at 48 pages, so I'd say that EDITING is high on this week's agenda. But you know what it means when you desperately need to edit?It means that you wrote something!!! I'm all about the silver lining this morning.

In "Gee Trish, you could try and be a better person" news, I skipped church yesterday, trying to extend my time in bed to a full 36 hours. At 11am I got a call from my friend Starbucks Girl, asking, "Are you here and I just don't see you?" I'd forgotten that she and I were supposed to meet to exchange books. Whoops. She came over after the service and I asked her what the sermon was about. She looked at me, trying to keep a straight face and said, "The importance of maintaining friendships."


She forgave me though, probably because we both believe passionately that either Michael or Laura should win this season on Project Runway. When you have that kind of synergy, there's room for the occasional screw up.

And finally, apropos of nothing: I found this bizarre idea for a wedding cake on Galleycat. (And to think, I was happy with three tiers of basic yellow and some squiggles that matched my dress...)